UK HealthCare

UK HealthCare team leads conference on best practices for cleft care

image of presentation in front of room of people
The UK HealthCare Cleft Team hosted the 33rd annual Tristate Craniofacial Clinic to discuss best practices in cleft care. Photo provided.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 14, 2022) Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH) and UK HealthCare Division of Plastic Surgery hosted the 33rd annual Tristate Craniofacial Conference on Oct. 21, 2022. This was the first conference held in person since 2019 due to the pandemic and continued with the tradition of facilitating academic and professional exchanges between cleft care providers from Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio.

This multidisciplinary meeting focused on current and new treatments and techniques for craniofacial anomalies. Since the cleft patient requires care from numerous specialties, the multidisciplinary team approach focuses on the patient and successfully promotes improved patient and family experiences and improved overall outcomes. This conference was well attended with 70 attendees coming from Kentucky Children’s Hospital, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Riley Children’s Hospital and Norton’s Children’s Hospital. All these centers are accredited by the national organization American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA).

The daylong meeting was held at Kroger Stadium where Eric Friedlander, Kentucky secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, opened the conference to acknowledge KCH and the Kentucky government's collaboration and investment in treating children with clefts and other craniofacial conditions in Kentucky. This unique partnership between the state and KCH has combined resources to better reach out to families with national level cleft care.

“After listening to the presentations and exchanging our experiences, it was especially encouraging to know our colleagues with other craniofacial teams felt the same way and forging ahead after recovering from the pandemic,” said Brooke Wilson, conference co-host and clinical care coordinator of the UK HealthCare craniofacial team. “Multidisciplinary care really suffered during COVID, so I feel this is a big win for all involved.”

“We were pleasantly surprised by the robust turnout to the conference, and the variety and quality of presentations was excellent,” said James Liau, M.D., conference co-host and clinical director for plastic surgery at KCH. “Returning to an in-person conference format emphasized the limitations of video conferencing and it was reassuring to see that in-person conferences are able to be held successfully.”

The conference covered the full spectrum of cleft care, ranging from new research on cleft epidemiology, to complex craniofacial cases requiring cutting-edge techniques and technology. There were 12 presentations overall, a panel overview of every teams’ approach to multidisciplinary care and a discussion of the changes implemented during and after the COVID pandemic. Represented specialists included pediatric dentistry, plastic surgery, otolaryngology, oral surgery, speech therapy, genetics, orthodontics and clinical care coordinators.

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