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2018 W Clinch Ave
Knoxville, TN 37916

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Cleft Palate Team Recognized Nationally

In January 2013, the Children’s Hospital’s Cleft and Craniofacial Clinic was officially approved as a Cleft Palate Team by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association and Cleft Palate Foundation.

Dr. Mark Ray, pediatric ENT at Children’s Hospital, and the team received information last November about the approval, after they had worked together to achieve recognition in meeting standards set forth by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association. The Children’s Hospital Cleft Palate Team is the only group to achieve this approval in the state of Tennessee.

The American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association’s research shows that patients born with craniofacial conditions such as cleft palates can face complex health issues, and an interdisciplinary team is the most effective way for a patient to be treated. “Cleft patients are treated as a team, and functional components set forth by the American Cleft Palate Association must be met to standard,” Dr. Ray explained. “It’s not easy to become approved.”

All teams are required to go through a rigorous approval process that involves completing an in-depth application process, where all components listed on the form must be present within the team. These components are:
    - Audiology
    - Cleft surgery
    - Nursing
    - Dentistry 
    - Orthodontics
    - Otolarygologistics (ENT)
    - Social work or psychology
    - Speech-language pathology
    - Nutrition
    - Genetics
    - Oral surgery
    - Pediatrics

“The interdisciplinary component is what’s important (for approval),” Dr. Ray said. “Having all the specialties as part of one team where a patient doesn’t have to go to multiple doctor’s offices for different appointments – that’s important.” 

The team at the Children’s Hospital clinic has been practicing together for three and a half years. They achieved preliminary approval in January 2010 from the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association, and then the approval process began. The American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association evaluated research, outcomes, patient volume and other factors to determine the approval or denial of the Children’s Hospital team.

“Our clinic has a high patient volume,” Dr. Ray said. “There are currently more than 200 patients, and it’s growing.” This approval is important to the Cleft Palate Team because it makes them more visible nationally, and the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association will now refer patients to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital’s team.

To the team, the approval means something else, too. It sets the standard for treating patients effectively and with the best possible care, something Children’s Hospital and the Cleft Palate Team are proud to do.

Pictured above are members of the Children’s Hospital Cleft Palate Team gathering at the Cleft and Craniofacial Clinic. From left are Coordinator and Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist Judy Marciel, RN, MSN, PCNS, CPNP; Medical Social Worker Kathy Fowler, LCSW; Registered Dietician Laura Shamiyeh, MS, RD, LDN; Pediatric Otolaryngologist, Head and Neck Surgeon, Cleft and Craniofacial Surgeon and Medical Director R. Mark Ray, M.D.; Speech-Language Pathologist Jennifer Mach, MS, CCC/SLP; and Orthodontist James Pickering, DDS. Not pictured are Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon Turner Emery, DDS, MD; Audiologist Kristie Johnson, AuD, CCC-A; Clinic Nurse Linda Dyer, RN; and Clinic Nurse Kathy Rucker, LPN.

By Jessica Boyd

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