Cleft Palate Team

The UMC Cleft Palate/Craniofacial Team, along with the West Texas Craniofacial Center of Excellence, creates a seasoned team of professionals who provide volunteer services to children born with cleft lip and palate or craniofacial anomaly once a month. The investment that each one of these professionals makes in the lives of each child impacted by their intervention is invaluable.

When palatal shelves fail to fully come together from either side of the mouth and fuse during the first months of development, a resulting cleft palate produces challenges with eating, speech development, hearing, formation of optimal dentition, and cosmetics. It takes individuals with strong skill sets in management of these challenges to work collectively to improve the life of a child born with cleft lip and palate. Similarly, when a child is born with a deformity of the head and facial bones, intensive collective intervention, which may include extensive reconstructive surgery, is warranted.

The team of professionals we have assembled in management of these issues is second to none. Led by Joshua Demke, MD, the UMC Cleft Palate/Craniofacial Team and West Texas Craniofacial Center of Excellence provide exceptional quality of care, recommendations, and follow through.

Team members include:

  • UMC acute care speech pathology (A team of 6 specialists in cleft palate/craniofacial anomaly)
  • UMC audiology (A team of 4 specialists in comprehensive analysis of hearing abnormalities associated with craniofacial challenges)
  • Joshua Demke, M.D. (Otolaryngologist and Board Certified Plastic Surgeon)
  • Dr. Derid Ure, DDS (orthodontist)
  • Dr. Nadene Tipton, DDS (orthodontist)
  • Dr. Roger Tipton, DDS (dentist)
  • Dr. Thomas Randers Jr., DDS (dentist)
  • Tammy Camp, M.D. (pediatrician)
  • Ryan Higley, DDS (Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon)
  • Dr. Paul Douthit, Ph.D. (psychologist)
  • UMC Case Management (Social Work)

UMC Health System is proud to integrate the services of this team into our organizational infrastructure.

The referral line for children with cleft palate or craniofacial anomaly is 806.775.8773 and the contact for referrals or information is Melinda Fraire, UMC Cleft Palate Clinic Coordinator.

Grant Healy's Family Testimonial:

When our son, Grant, was born we already knew that he would be born with a bi-lateral cleft lip and palate. It was still hard to look forward knowing the many challenges and surgeries we would be facing. We questioned ourselves as to how this could have happened. Truth is, it just does without rhyme or reason.

We first met Dr. Demke in the hospital the day Grant was born. We immediately fell in love with his confidence and the passion he showed for cleft babies and knew that Grant would be in good care. During our first consultation with Dr. Demke, he showed us before and after pictures of his previous surgeries and then gave us a timeline for Grant in preparation for his first 2 surgeries. After seeing the work that Dr. Demke had done on other bi-lateral cleft babies, we left feeling relieved and excited that Grant could and would look normal!

We were reassured that Grant really was in the best care with Dr. Demke on the day of his first surgery when Dr. Demke came out of the O.R. and personally walked us through a step by step outline of Grant’s surgical procedure. Although he was not finished with the surgery yet, he wanted to let us know exactly what he was doing and why the surgery was so timely. We had no idea the depths of what the surgery entailed and were in awe of the tedious steps he was taking to make Grant look as normal as possible.

Thanks to Dr. Demke and the cleft team at UMC, our son looks normal, and with each surgery things will get better. It’s a long road ahead, but with Dr. Demke and his team, we know there will be a great outcome.

– Tim and Laura Healy

Grant at birth

Grant Healy at birth.

Grant-after-surgery

Grant Healy and Dr. Demke after several successful surgeries.

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