Cleft palate and craniofacial teams in the United States and Canada: A national survey of team organization and standards of care

Ronald P. Strauss, Samuel Berkowitz, Philip J. Boyne, Arthur Brown, John Canady, Marilyn Cohen, Linda Hallman, Robert Hardesty, Marilyn Jones, Kathleen Kapp-Simon, Pat Landis, James Lehman, Lynda Power, Craig Senders, Helen Sharp, Barry Steinberg, Timothy Turvey, Duane VanDemark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Objective: This study is the first comprehensive national survey of the organization, function, and composition of cleft palate and craniofacial teams in the U.S. and Canada. Complete descriptions of cleft and craniofacial teams are not currently provided in the literature, and this study will provide an overview for health services research and policy use. Conducted by a national organization, this study examines teams in detail using a pretested and standardized methodology. Design: All known (n = 296) North American cleft palate and craniofacial teams were contacted for team listing purposes using a self-assessment method developed by an interdisciplinary committee of national stature. Team clinical leaders classified their teams into several possible categories and provided data on team care. The response rate was 83.4% (n = 247). Results: The distribution of listed teams was: 105 (42.5%) cleft palate teams, 102 (41.3%) craniofacial teams (including craniofacial teams that are both cleft palate and craniofacial teams), 12 (4.9%) geographically listed teams, and 28 (11.3%) other teams (including interim cleft palate teams, low-density cleft palate teams, and evaluation and treatment review cleft palate teams). Eighty-five percent of all teams systematically collected and stored clinical data on their team's patient population in the past year. Furthermore, 50% of all teams had a quality assurance program in place to measure treatment outcomes. Other findings presented include the annual number of face-to-face team meetings; new and follow-up patient censuses; and surgical rates for initial repair of cleft lip/palate, orthognathic/osteotomy procedures, and intracranial/craniofacial procedures. Conclusions: Two of five North American teams classify themselves as having the capacity to provide both cleft palate and craniofacial care. An additional two of five teams limit their primary role to cleft palate care. Issues are raised regarding the distribution of teams, the regionalization of craniofacial services, health policy, and resource allocation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-480
Number of pages8
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1998


  • Cleft palate team
  • Craniofacial team
  • Standards of care
  • Team organization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dentistry(all)


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