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Cleft and Craniofacial Research and Training


Educating and training the next generation of surgeons and team specialists are also primary responsibilities of our program. 

Board-certified and experienced surgeons will care for your child, while various members of the ENT, Plastic Surgery and Oral and Maxillofacial residency programs may be present.

Because of the volume and complexity of patients we see, we are dedicated to higher level trainees as well, in both our craniofacial plastic surgery, Pediatric ENT and Pediatric Neurosurgery fellowships. These trainees have already completed their respective residencies and are in the final stage of training before being equipped to join cleft and craniofacial teams anywhere they chose.

Vanderbilt is also fortunate to have one of the nation’s top Hearing and Speech programs. Over 100 faculty members train the next generation of speech, audio, feeding, and language therapists and pathologists who are regular members of our Cleft and Craniofacial team clinic.


As part of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, all our medical providers are faculty members who not only want to care for your child, but constantly strive to improve diagnosis, treatment and outcomes for children with cleft and craniofacial differences

Our research coordinators are housed in the Surgical Outcomes Center for Kids (SOCKs). They maintain a large registry of patients to improve outcomes. Multiple ongoing research projects include the family experience of a multi-disciplinary cleft and craniofacial team, the effect of cranial vault remodeling on brain development and improved guidelines of management of facial fractures.

Our team members routinely attend The American Cleft Palate Craniofacial Association(ACPA) and American & International Society of Craniofacial Surgeons meetings to present our research and ensure we remain up-to-date on the latest developments in the field to improve patient care.

Michael Golinko, MD, chief of Plastic surgery and director of the Cleft and Craniofacial Program at Vanderbilt, and Christopher Bonfield, MD, neurosurgery director of the Pediatric Craniofacial Program, are leading a study that uses new imaging approaches to help clarify how craniosynostosis (CS) affects babies’ neurodevelopment.