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American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association merges with Cleft Palate Foundation

July 12, 2017

By David Burger

Chapel Hill, N.C. — The American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association and the Cleft Palate Foundation, two nonprofit organizations dedicated to the treatment of cleft palate and other craniofacial conditions, merged June 30.

The merged organization will keep the name of the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association, while the services of the Cleft Palate Foundation will continue under the new ACPA Family Services program, said Wendy-Jo Toyama, executive director of the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association.

The American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association is an association of health care professionals who treat and/or perform research on patients with oral cleft and craniofacial conditions with a focus on an integrated, multidisciplinary team care approach, according to a news release. The organization currently has more than 2,500 members in 60 countries who practice in more than 30 medical, surgical, dental and allied health disciplines. About one-third of its members are dentists, Ms. Toyama said.
The Cleft Palate Foundation primarily serves individuals affected by cleft and craniofacial conditions and their families with informational and educational resources, support and connections to multidisciplinary care teams of in their communities, the news release said. The foundation also underwrites patient and family services, research and scholarships in the field.
"The leadership of ACPA and CPF agreed that joining forces will increase our collective impact and reduce barriers to achieving the best possible outcomes for patients with cleft lip, palate and craniofacial conditions through education, support, research, advocacy and interdisciplinary team care," said Robert Havlik, M.D., American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association president, and Marilyn Cohen, Cleft Palate Foundation president, in a joint statement.
The merger results in an organization with a single executive director, staff and operational platform. Both organizations are based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and already share offices and administrative functions. No staff reductions are expected from the merger.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cleft lip and cleft palate are birth defects that occur when a baby's lip or mouth do not form properly during pregnancy. About 2,650 babies are born with a cleft palate and 4,440 babies are born with a cleft lip with or without a cleft palate, in the U.S. annually. Clefts that occur with no other major birth defects are one of the most common types of birth defects in the U.S. and globally, occurring in about 1 in 700 births overall. The causes are not always known, although some cases are linked to genetics and/or are associated with a syndrome.
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