Founder Profile

Samuel Noordhoff was born in Orange City, Iowa on June 29, 1927. He graduated from the University of Iowa School of Medicine. Dr. Noordhoff and his family arrived in Taiwan in 1959 as medical missionaries and served as the Superintendent of Mackay Memorial Hospital. He advocated the concept of holistic treatment including body, mind, and spirit. He founded Taiwan’s first children's polio reconstruction center, an intensive care unit, a mountain mobile medical clinic, a Suicide Prevention Center-Lifeline, and a burn center. Dr. Noordhoff became the founding Superintendent of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in 1976 and founded the first craniofacial center, microsurgery center, and cosmetic surgery center. In 1989, he donated US$100,000 to establish the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation.

Dr. Noordhoff's greatest contribution to Taiwan was in establishing the above medical centers and promoting the training of medical personnel and reforming the medical system, thus successfully improving the quality and standard of Taiwan's medical treatment.

Dr. Noordhoff has won numerous awards throughout his life, including the highest honor given to international plastic surgeons by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the Maliniac Lecturer Award, the Order of the Brilliant Star with Violet Grand Cordon presented by the late Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui, and the Presidential Culture Award for Humanitarian Service presented by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.

On December 3, 2018, Dr. Noordhoff passed into the Lord's presence at the age of 91.

About Dr. Noordhoff

  • 1927, Born in Orange City, Iowa in the United States of America.
  • 1947, Entered Michigan's Hope College.
  • 1950, Entered the University of Iowa School of Medicine.
  • 1959, Arrived in Taiwan as a medical missionary.
  • 1959-1975, Served as the Superintendent of Mackay Memorial Hospital until 1975, advocating the concept of holistic medical treatment including body, mind, and spirit, founded the first polio reconstruction center, an intensive care unit, a mountain mobile clinic, a suicide prevention center – Lifeline, and a burn center.
  • 1976, Became the Founding Superintendent of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital.
  • 1981, Honored as a Permanent Superintendent Emeritus of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and founded the first craniofacial center, the first microscopy center, and the first plastic surgery center.
  • 1989, Donated US$100,000 to found the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation.
  • 1999, Retired and returned to the U.S.
  • 1999-2011, After retirement, he continued to participate in the NCF international program, visiting Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Mongolia, and other places to perform surgery.
  • 2013, Last visit to Taiwan.
  • 2018, Passed away in the U.S.

Message from Dr. Noordhoff

During my years as a plastic surgeon in Taiwan, I often saw many children with cleft lip/palate whose families could not afford the cost of the treatment. I felt that any child deserved the best possible treatment regardless of the family’s financial condition. Therefore, in 1990, I started the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation. I wanted each child to have the best possible surgical care, orthodontia, dental care, and help with their speech so they could live as normal persons in society. I have always felt that money spent on a child was money well spent as such care would be beneficial for that child’s entire life.

Previously, I also started the Chang Gung Craniofacial department. The Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation and the Chang Gung Craniofacial Department have developed together to provide the best care of the cleft child.

The financial support so that children can receive adequate care continues to be our primary purpose today. Whenever we have an abandoned baby or orphan referred to us, we accept him and treat him. We are grateful to God that many of these infants are successful participants in society today. The NCF is closely associated with the development of new techniques in cleft care at the Chang Gung Craniofacial Center. Patients receive the most advanced care possible. This includes all aspects of cleft care; orthodontia, speech therapy, and problems related to hearing, social and psychological help.

After the start of the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation, we developed other areas of cleft care. Parent Support Groups were established and developed for the education of families. The Parent Support Groups are also valuable for helping teachers understand the problems of children with deformities. Social workers who are supported by the foundation help with family and psychological problems of patients. Social workers are instrumental in working with the doctors to see that the patients get the necessary care for an optimum result.

Education is another primary concern of the foundation. This includes education of the parents as well as teachers in the schools, nurses, and doctors. The foundation is proud that we were the first to publish a children’s book written by a child. The children’s books deal with the child’s own concepts of the problems a child faces with a deformity such as an abnormal ear, hand, leg or cleft lip faces. Some of the children did the art for the books. These books were published and have been popular children’s stories. The books are used in the schools to help teachers and society understand the problems of a person with a deformity.

More recently, we are helping to develop cleft centers similar to ours in the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, and China. This is all done in cooperation with the Craniofacial Center at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital. Also, other cleft foundations have cooperated with the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation. We are proud that we can help others. And all of you who support our foundation are a part of this outreach to lesser developed countries.

I am grateful to all of the Noordhoff Craniofacial staff and members of the Chang Gung Craniofacial department for their cooperation and help. We are a great team. I appreciate Rebecca Wang for her leadership, creativity and hard work which as helped to make our foundation a success and model for other foundations. Lastly and even more important, I am grateful to the thousands of supporters who have sent large and small gifts to the support the activities of the foundation. Your gifts allow you to participate in the activities of the foundation and are the reason for our success.

You have put a smile on the faces of many children.

M. Samuel Noordhoff MD FACS

July 1, 2002

Awards for Dr. Noordhoff

  • 2017, The 9th Presidential Culture Award for Humanitarian Service.
  • 2011, Speaker of Gillies Lecture, British Association of Plastic Surgeons.
  • 1999, The Order of the Brilliant Star with Violet Grand Cordon presented by President Lee Teng-hui. The Health Medal First Class by the Ministry of Health of Taiwan.
  • 1996, The Medical Service Award from the Executive Yuan of Taiwan.
  • 1994, The Maliniac Lecturer Award, American Society of Plastic Surgeons Association.
  • 1993, The Love Award from the Wu Zun-Xian Foundation.
  • 1986, Outstanding Alumni of Hope College in Michigan. Honorary Doctor of Humanities from Hope College in Michigan, USA.
  • 1984, Become a Member of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons.
  • 1983, Honored as Outstanding Alumni of Northwestern College of Iowa, USA.
  • 1981, Honored as a Permanent Superintendent Emeritus of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital.