ACPA and CPF Spread Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness

Alyssa KirkmanACPA News

Chapel Hill, N.C. — July 7, 2016 — The American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA) and Cleft Palate Foundation (CPF) are raising awareness of cleft lip and/or cleft palate this July. Established by AmeriFace and cleftAdvocate, July is National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month, promoting public awareness of a condition commonly associated with other countries but often overlooked at home.

“We are pleased to join forces with more than 20 organizations nationwide to raise awareness,” says Richard Kirschner, MD, President of ACPA. “ACPA represents professionals who strive to provide optimal care for individuals with oral cleft and craniofacial conditions. Our goal is to spread awareness of these conditions and promote the diverse needs of our patients.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 7,000 babies will be born with a cleft in the US this year, a condition created when tissue in the baby’s upper lip or the roof of the mouth does not join together completely during pregnancy and leaves an opening.

“This national month of awareness provides an opportunity for dialogue about facial differences and the treatment options currently available,” says Marilyn Cohen, LSLP, President of CPF. “We hope that by spreading awareness we can bring understanding and education about treatment and prevention.”

Despite unique health challenges, those born with cleft and craniofacial conditions can lead fulfilling, successful, and accomplished lives. Clefts are usually repaired surgically in the first year of life, though many children require additional surgeries and treatments through adolescence to correct challenges to breathing, eating, or speech development. Individuals born with cleft lip or palate often need specialized dental or orthodontic care throughout their lives as well.

Wendy-Jo Toyama, Executive Director of ACPA and CPF, will be appearing on the NP Show on channel 110 of Sirius/XM radio today at 5:00 pm ET.  Today’s show on Doctor Radio, co-hosted by ACPA Member Patricia Chibbaro, RN, MS, CPNP, will focus on patients and the team approach to care.

Due to the efforts of ACPA and CPF, Pat McCrory, Governor of North Carolina, declared July 2016 to be Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month in the state, and the Chapel Hill, NC Town Council proclaimed July as Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month in Chapel Hill.  Other activities will be underway throughout the month.  Visit or for more information.

For information on awareness month and ways to get involved, visit

About the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association
ACPA is a 73-year old non-profit medical society of healthcare professionals dedicated to treating birth defects of the head and face through a team care approach. ACPA supports the professional community and enhances the quality of team care by providing education and resources, supporting and disseminating research, and acting as an open forum for specialists to communicate. More information about ACPA can be found at or by calling 919-933-9044.

About the Cleft Palate Foundation
The mission of the Cleft Palate Foundation (CPF) is to serve individuals and families affected by cleft lip/palate and other craniofacial conditions by connecting them to team care, providing education, and offering personal support.  CPF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1973 to be the public service arm of the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association. For more information, visit or call 919-933-9044.