Global Smile Foundation’s First Comprehensive Cleft Care Workshop

April 30, 2018
3 minutes read
Global Smile Foundation’s First Comprehensive Cleft Care Workshop

In line with its commitment to provide cutting-edge medical technologies, the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC), is hosting Global Smile Foundation’s First Cleft Care Workshop at Gefinor Hotel in Beirut on April 25 – 27. Titled “Education for Sustainable Cleft Care”, the workshop aims at providing comprehensive and sustainable cleft care to underserved patients born with cleft lip and enhancing the quality of integrated cleft care delivered by surgeons, nurses and speech pathologists across the region through a multi-disciplinary team approach.

The annual workshop is a joint providership of Cleveland Clinic Foundation Center, the Global Smile Foundation – USA, the Global Smile Foundation – MENA and is supported by Darwazah Foundation.


Over a course of three days, twenty international experts in cleft care including surgeons, speech pathologists and nurses from world renowned institutions like Harvard, New York University and other U.S. and European universities, delivered a variety of sessions to tackle the topic from all medical aspects.


“The Comprehensive Cleft Care workshop aims at enhancing the skillset and knowledge of the registered professionals who, in turn, will provide much needed care for thousands of cleft patients in Lebanon,” commented Dr. Usama Hamdan, President of Global Smile Foundation and Course Director of the Comprehensive Cleft Workshop. “For the first time in Lebanon, the workshop employed simulation lab training that provided the cleft providers with hands-on and one on one experience under the supervision of some of the world leaders in this field,” added Dr. Hamdan.


Cleft lip and cleft palate are openings or splits in the upper lip, the roof of the mouth (palate) or both. They result when facial structures that are developing in an unborn baby don’t close completely. Both cases are among the most common birth defects that most commonly occur as isolated birth defects and are also associated with many inherited genetic conditions or syndromes. In most babies, a series of surgeries can restore normal function and achieve a more normal appearance with minimal scarring.(1)


“We believe that all patients deserve the best quality of care offered by well-trained cleft teams. We believe it is a necessity to provide comprehensive cleft care in an integrated and multidisciplinary approach. Our mission is to help patients born with clefts to better integrate into the society and empower them to become productive members in the workplace,” said Dr. Ghassan Abu Sitta, Head of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at AUBMC. “This workshop is a great opportunity for our doctors to receive world-class quality cleft care from Global Smile Foundation which has over 31 years of experience,” concluded Dr. Abu Sitta.


Cleft lip and cleft palate pose physical and psychological effects on children if kept untreated.  They are amongst the most common congenital craniofacial anomalies. These conditions occur in approximately 1 in 400 newborns in Lebanon.


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