The Cleft Palate Center

Nationally recognized for its innovative team approach to helping children with cleft lip and palate and craniofacial abnormalities, the Cleft Palate Center at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California provides diagnostic, surgical, social and educational services to children and their families in a family-centered environment.

Team Concept

The Cleft Palate Team is a group of professionals who are specialists in their fields, and experienced in the care and treatment of children with clefts. These children frequently require a number of different types of services, and the team approach assures that these services are delivered in a coordinated way.  

Our core team includes the following professionals, but it is the family who is key.

  • Plastic surgeon
  • Pediatrician
  • Speech pathologist
  • Audiologist (hearing specialist)
  • Nurse
  • Social worker
  • Otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat physician)
  • Genetics specialist
  • Pediatric dentist
  • Orthodontist
  • Prosthodontist


The goal of the Cleft Palate Team is coordinated, comprehensive, long term care for the patient.  This includes sequencing of evaluations and treatments, in conjunction with the patient's growth and development, as well as medical and psychological needs. The result is fewer operations, and surgical outcomes are improved.

Team care is best begun just after birth and the plan is established and followed until physical growth is complete (at approx. 21 years).  The recommendations are shared with the parent and made available to the child’s pediatrician.  The child is seen at regular intervals to plan and provide care needed at the appropriate stages of development.

Saint John's Cleft Palate Center members believe that it is not enough just to "repair the cleft," but rather take pride in creating an optimally-aesthetic appearance, good dental function, good speech, and a well-adjusted person who can cope favorably with life's demands.

The exact cause of a cleft is still unknown. A genetics evaluation may assist in obtaining a complete diagnosis and recurrence rate for a particular individual and family. A routine amniocentesis for chromosome count will not detect non-syndromic clefts. A high resolution ultrasound may detect a cleft, but a diagnosis is incomplete. Prenatal consultations are available at the Cleft Palate center to introduce the care team and provide general information.

For more information about The Cleft Palate Center, please call 310-829-8150 or e-mail Our office hours are Monday  to Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and we are located at 2121 Santa Monica Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90404.
The Cleft Palate Center at Saint John's Health Center is an American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association Affiliated Team

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