Dr. Kenneth E. Salyer: Hachette Speakers Bureau

Dr. Kenneth E. Salyer

Pioneer and Leader in Craniofacial Surgery & Founder of World Craniofacial Foundation

Kenneth E. Salyer, M.D. is a pioneer in craniofacial surgery whose illustrious career has spanned almost half a century. He was the first chairman of the Department of Plastic Surgery at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and he established the International Craniofacial Institute and the Cleft Lip and Palate Treatment Center. He is the founder and chairman of the board of the World Craniofacial Foundation.

Dr. Salyer was initially thrust into the national spotlight nearly fifty years ago when he was one of the first three surgeons who worked valiantly to save the life of President John F. Kennedy.

A deeply compassionate man whose life has been one of service, Dr. Salyer is convinced that possessing a face you aren't forced to hide is a fundamental human right, as important to a fully lived life as freedom from fear or want. And in clinics and operating room around the world, today he continues a groundbreaking forty-year career whose nexus melds cutting-edge medicine with humanitarian aid offered to profoundly unfortunate children.

In October, 2003, Dr. Salyer led a team of more than fifty surgeons, physicians, and medical personnel in the successful separation of Egyptian twins, Ahmed and Mohamed Ibrahim, who were born conjoined at the top of their skulls and who shared a common sagittal sinus, the large vein that collects the brains vital blood and channels it back to the heart. The procedure, the most difficult one to plan in Dr. Salyer's career, endured for an incredibly painstaking and exhausting thirty-six hours. Television networks and newspapers around the world covered the event as if it were a moon-landing, and it was as complicated in many ways.

Yet hundreds of the surgeries Dr. Salyer has performed, sometimes in operating rooms that are startlingly primitive by American standards, have received no attention at all, save for the apprehension and ultimate joy of parents and family members on every continent around the world.

His memoir, A Life That Matters (June, 2013) focuses on the moving stories of the children whose lives have been transformed and their personal testaments to how precious their "normalcy" now is. It is these children who inspired Dr. Salyer to found the World Craniofacial Foundation and establish clinics across the globe that now offer hope for good lives to hundreds of poor children in still-developing countries who otherwise would be shunned, locked away, or abandoned. He hopes sharing these experiences will result in a new worldwide understanding of the rights of the terribly disfigured and will inspire others to transform their own personal challenges into triumphs.

Dr. Salyer has published more than two hundred scientific papers and book chapters and is the author or editor of nine books on craniofacial surgery. He has been a visiting professor at more than fifty medical schools around the world, where he has received numerous honorary memberships, professorships, and degrees.

He has served as president of the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgery, the American Society of Craniofacial Surgery, and as chairman of the Plastic Surgery Research Council and the American Academy of Pediatrics Section of Plastic Surgery. He also served as the President of The International Society of Craniofacial Surgery.

He lives in Dallas, Texas, and Telluride, Colorado.

Interested in booking Dr. Kenneth E. Salyer to speak at your next event?

Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau.


  • A Life That Matters: Caring For Others as a Path Toward Self-fulfillment
  • JFK, Parkland Hospital, and I: Caring for the President as He Died
  • High-tech with a Heart: Exciting Contemporary Advances in Medicine

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