The ninth annual Delta Dental of Virginia Oral Health Endowed Lecture will feature a panel discussion by members of the Carilion Clinic Cleft and Craniofacial Center. The discussion will be moderated by James Thompson, plastic surgeon, medical director of the center, and associate professor of surgery at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

The event will occur at 5:45 p.m. on Jan. 8 at the medical school located at 2 Riverside Circle in Roanoke. The discussion is part of the medical school’s Oral Health Week and is made possible through a gift from Delta Dental of Virginia.

The discussion, titled, “The Multidisciplinary Approach for Patients with Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate,” will examine diagnosis, treatment, and management of these two facial deformities with particular emphasis on the integrated treatment model used in the Carilion program. Patients usually need a number of support services before and after surgery to correct the deformity. These might include orthodontics, prosthodontics, and speech and occupational therapy.

Cleft lip and cleft palate services in Southwest Virginia had humble beginnings in the early 1980s when two local plastic surgeons approached Charles Conklin, director of the (then) Roanoke Memorial Hospital dentistry program, to see if he could bring together a group of health care professionals within the Roanoke area to offer support services for children with cleft lip and cleft palate. With no dedicated clinic for these children, the surgeons were referring them to the University of Virginia, one of only two designated state-run cleft clinics in Virginia.  

Since its inception, the clinic has overcome numerous hurdles and now has a team of dedicated professionals offering state-of-the-art care. The clinic was eventually brought under the Carilion umbrella and earned national accreditation. Its patient base has grown from 25 patients in its first year to 200 active cases currently.

“The distinguished panelists for the Delta Dental event are some of the very best in their fields,” Conklin, who is an associate professor of surgery at the medical school, said. “We can all take pride in our nationally accredited program, which offers much-needed services in Southwest Virginia.”

The panelists are Emily Doherty, pediatrics and clinical genetics and associate professor of pediatrics; Lee Jones, general dentistry and assistant professor of surgery; Amy Kageals, pediatric speech-language pathology and instructor of pediatrics; Karina Miller, pediatric dentistry; Albert Parulis, oral and maxillofacial surgery; Travis Reeves, pediatric otolaryngology; Amy Rockhill, orthodontics; Jessie Rose, clinical coordinator; and James Thompson, plastic/craniofacial surgery.

The event is free, and the public is welcome.

Due to construction, Riverside Circle is closed. Please enter the Virginia Tech Carilion campus from Reserve Avenue. Ample parking is available either in the garage under 2 Riverside or in the adjacent deck. Click here for parking information.