Projects We Support

We support innovative research conducted and presented by our healthcare partners who care for patients in resource-limited communities.  Some of the research projects we support include:

The relationship of self-concept, parenting practices, and mental health with academic achievement in children with cleft lip and/or palate

Author(s): Danivia Lopez Garcia (Mexico City) and Ana Elisa Espinoza Leal (Tijuana, Mexico)

Objective: To analyze patient self-concept, mental health, and parental practices of children with cleft lip and/or palate and their relationship with academic achievement. 

Methods: A sample of 100 Mexican parents (86 mothers and 14 fathers) and 100 children (61 boys and 39 girls) were assessed. All patients had a history of surgically corrected cleft lip and/or palate and were between 8 and 12 years old. Questionnaires were provided to evaluate self-concept, parenting practices, and verbal comprehension.

Conclusions: In this research, 63.5% of children report normal levels of self-concept. Eight percent reported low self-concept related to their intellectual levels and academic achievement. No one reported difficulties in academic achievement resulting from challenges to mental health. These results emphasize the need to develop other studies in Mexico that will identify, confirm, and characterize the difficulties present in the development of the children with CLP to support them with multidisciplinary management.

Successful experience in educating mothers about breastfeeding their children with cleft lip and palate

Author(s): Zayda Alejandra Vergara Suárez, Mónica Perea Salcido, and Laura Berenice Tapia Olvera (Ensenada, Mexico)

Objective: The aim of this study is to provide adequate breastfeeding support to the mother and educate them about the benefits of breastfeeding.

Methods: Mothers were educated about breastfeeding by health care professionals through the promotion of the Multidisciplinary Care Program at a clinic in Ensenada, Mexico. One-hundred and twenty-six children with cleft lip and/or palate were registered in the Unified Epidemiological Surveillance Information System (SUIVE) at birth from 2008 to 2019. Visits to 101 of these patients in the first hours of life allowed timely support to the mothers by teaching them techniques and favorable positions for breastfeeding. This allowed them to overcome the feeding difficulties in these patients to practice exclusive breastfeeding.

Conclusion: We managed to successfully introduce exclusive breastfeeding to mothers of patients with cleft lip and/or palate, providing benefits such as strengthening the bond between a mother and child.

Enhanced microsurgical training box: a simple and cost-effective method for microsurgical exercise

Author(s): M. Rachadian Ramadan, Christopher Reid, Eric Santamaria Linares, Michele Zaldana, Amanda Gosman (Jakarta, Indonesia, Mexico City, and San Diego, CA)

Objective: The aim of this project is to provide microsurgical training for plastic surgeons in low and middle-income countries.

Methods: A tool was created using simple cardboard and a smartphone camera to simulate a microscope used in microsurgeries. This tool was named the enhanced microsurgical training box. Plastic surgery residents and fellows used this tool to practice microsurgical sutures on a latex model and their performances were recorded.

Conclusion: Ninety percent of participants who used this tool would recommend this training methods to others and believe that this tool is beneficial for surgeons who reside in low and middle-income countries. The enhanced microsurgical training box is a simple and cost-effective training method and is useful to surgeons in low and middle income countries who have limited access to electronic microscopes. 

Learn more about this on the “Our Projects” page!

An audiovisual program for stimulating speech and language in children with cleft palate

Author(s): Dra. Maria Del Carmen Pamplona

Objective: The aim of this project is to provide speech therapy for children with cleft palate through audiovisual programs in hopes of providing aid to families that have difficulty accessing proper therapy.

Methods: A non-traditional audiovisual project is an instructional program that parents can use at home. It includes fun and instructional videos, songs that practice speech exercises, art, music, and games. This was administered to children with cleft palate ages 3 to 6 years old during a summer camp.

Conclusion: This audiovisual program led to significantly improved speech. Use of this program has the potential to eliminate the logistical and financial burden of frequent therapy sessions that make it difficult for families with limited resources to attend.

Development and validation of an instrument to measure outcome effectiveness of pre-surgical orthopedics (bone anatomy).

Author(s): Tatiana Castillo Torres (Mexico City)

Objective: To develop and validate an instrument to measure the effectiveness of pre-surgical orthopedics.

Method: Ten expert surgeons and orthodontists that have worked with cleft lip and palate patients for at least 10 years were invited to assess for validity of this instrument.

Conclusions: A total of 110 anatomic measurements were used to define the nose, lips, and mouth. Each measurement was conducted by an expert and compared to see if they were reproducible and should be included into the instrument. Twenty-four of these measurements were reproducible amongst 80% of the experts. These 24 measurements were used to create a reliable tool for assessing effective pre-surgical orthopedics and helps the evaluation of results after cleft lip and palate repair surgeries. 

An Assessment of Facial Burns and the Role of Epilepsy as a Significant Cause of Severe Facial Burns: Dr. Tinga Nyoni, our 2021 Fellow, is a plastic surgeon from Harare, Zimbabwe –  1 of the 3 practicing plastic surgeons in a country of 15 million people.  She wants to understand WHY the worse burns that that present at hospitals in her country appear to be facial burns in epileptc patients. With some support from our team, she is leading a prospective study in her country compiling and assessing data from facial burns cases from main medical centers and district hospitals.  Her study includes both causes of burns and outcomes after medical treatment; her end goal ir to identify, and educate the public about,measures to prevent burns or epilepsy, and steps to improve outcomes and rehabilitation.