Craniofacial abnormalities, previously understood as cleft lip and palate, are among the most common birth defects, yet standardization of related research and treatment does not exist. Consistent best practices need to be developed for everyone involved with providing craniofacial treatment. Likewise, standardized resources must be provided for easing the physical and psychological challenges that families and patients confront during the course of treatment.
The School of Dental Medicine features the first accredited craniofacial fellowship program in the country to be located in a dental school, which positions the university for a leadership role in providing craniofacial abnormality evidence-based practices in education, diagnosis, and treatment; promoting awareness of resources; and advancing activity to standardize research and treatment.
To these ends, the university has embarked on a three-part initiative: 1) to provide support for a project manager to convene a craniofacial abnormality leadership summit that will determine the feasibility of standardizing research and treatment methods; 2) to increase marketing of the Craniofacial Fellowship Program by hosting a symposium for healthcare professionals, printing promotional materials, and launching a website; and 3) to offer release time for an oral surgery faculty member to create a craniofacial curriculum for dental residents.