Cleft Lip & Palate Team

Multidisciplinary Cleft Team

Medical Director: Larry D. Hartzell, M.D. 

Cleft Team Coordinator: Lucia Wesley, RN, CPN

Pediatric Otolaryngology and Cleft Surgery:

Cleft and Craniomaxillofacial Surgery:


Craniofacial Orthodontics/Dental:


  • Joanna Daughety, RD


Oral Maxillofacial Surgery:


  • Jillian Kimberlain, AuD 

Speech Pathology:

  • Karen Bright, MS, CCC-SLP 
  • Beth Nutt, MS, CCC-SLP 
  • Ashley O'Neill, CCC-SLP 
  • Ashlen Thomason, CCC-SLP

Team Member Roles

  • Pediatric Otolaryngologist/Plastic Surgeon - These specialists are responsible for the surgical closure of the cleft and related operations which your child may require. Any ear disease, speech disorder or hearing loss, will also be closely monitored and treated by the pediatric otolaryngologist. 
  • Registered Nurse - The nurse coordinates the cleft team and is available as a contact person to provide information to you as parents, about your child’s health needs, treatment plan, home care and follow-up.
  • Speech Pathologist - The speech pathologist will monitor feeding, speech development and provide suggestions for stimulating speech.
  • Clinical Nutritionist - The nutritionist assists with early nutrition and growth by following your child’s weight closely. Will also provide nutritional support prior to surgeries requiring modified diets.
  • Audiologist - Since children with cleft palate have an increased risk of ear problems, ongoing audiological surveillance is necessary. Audiologists provide tests to monitor your child’s hearing and help with diagnosis and treatment for any cleft-related hearing problems.
  • Dental Specialists - The dental specialists include the pediatric dentist, orthodontist, oral surgeon and periodontist. These specialists keep track of your child's dental growth and development and provide information on oral hygiene and dental treatment that may be necessary due to the cleft. 
  • Geneticist - The geneticist is available to discuss how clefts of the lip and palate occur and to answer questions about the risk of recurrence with future pregnancies. Later, this specialist can help your teenager understand the cause of a cleft and advise him or her about individual circumstances.
  • Neuropsychologist/Social Worker - The neuropsychologist or clinical social worker is available to meet with the family to assist in the psychosocial and emotional aspects of cleft lip/palate. This specialist is aware of services available in the community to which the family can be referred for information on medical coverage, financial assistance, and support groups/services.