No this VIPS doesn’t stand for “very important person” or the famous (local or national) person you might care for in your practice. I think it is best to try to treat everyone with the same standards of care. Similar to the checklist that Atul Gawande has brought to the public eye, this keeps you from “missing” something or not providing some important aspect of care. The Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine had a nice article by Dr. Jorge Guzman recently on this topic: Caring for VIPs: Nine principles
In this case, VIPS stands for “volunteers in plastic surgery.”
The online site of the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive surgery has an article discussing the guidelines for VIPS who provide surgical care for children in the less developed world.
The guidelines were developed by the Volunteers in Plastic Surgery (VIPS) Committee of the ASPS/PSEF in conjunction with the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia (SPA).
This document is not intended to represent a standard that must be followed by everyone performing this work in developing countries. Locations, circumstances, and needs may vary greatly depending on the site. Rather it is intended to provide a framework for providers involved in the care of children in the less developed world.
The guidelines can also be found here as a pdf file: Guidelines for the Care of Children in the Less Developed World.
The VIPS program stresses working in conjunction with the local plastic surgeons by invitation and proper planning with a mission/purpose for the trip. Adhere to high standards of quality of surgery, care, and teaching. Be sensitive to host needs and customs. Be a Good Guest!
Volunteers in Plastic Surgery (VIPS) Guidelines for Providing Surgical Care for Children in the Less Developed World; Schneider, William J.; Politis, George D.; Gosain, Arun K.; Migliori, Mark R.; Cullington, James R.; Peterson, Elizabeth L.; Corlew, D. Scott; Wexler, Andrew M.; Flick, Randall; Van Beek, Allen L.; Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery., POST ACCEPTANCE, 8 February 2011; doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3182131d2a
The Role of Humanitarian Missions in Modern Surgical Training; Campbell, Alex; Sherman, Randy; Magee, William P.; Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. 126(1):295-302, July 2010; doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181dab618