Pediatric & Adult Craniofacial Fellowship


The cleft and craniofacial program at Vanderbilt was founded by past ASMS president Dr. Kevin Kelly and for over 30 years has maintained a high-volume of cases spanning the breadth of pediatric plastic, cleft and craniofacial surgery. 

The Department of Plastic Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center is offering a comprehensive Craniofacial & Pediatric Plastic Surgery Fellowship. 

The fellowship is non-ACGME accredited and offers the fellow extensive training in four distinct areas (with core faculty hyperlinks below) for a robust training in modern craniofacial surgery. Additionally, there are opportunities to explore further craniofacial offerings within and outside our department.

  1. Cranial and Midfacial Surgery: cranial vault remodeling for craniosynostosis (endoscopic, open, distraction), Le Fort osteotomies (advancement/distraction) (BonfieldGolinko, Pontell)
  2. Cleft Lip and Palate: full spectrum of procedures including primary repair, alveolar bone grafting, rhinoplasty, surgical treatment of VPI, and orthognathic surgery (BraunGaldynGolinkoMaclin, Pontell)
  3. Facial Trauma: full spectrum of pediatric and adult facial trauma (soft tissue, bony, microvascular reconstruction) (BraunGaldynGolinko, Pontell)
  4. General Pediatric Plastic (BraunGaldyn)
  5. Cleft Craniofacial Dental & Orthodontics : (Maclin, Capote, Rice)

In addition, there are ample opportunities for congenital and traumatic pediatric hand surgery, gender-affirming surgery as well as migraine surgery (AlKassis), Facial Aesthetic Surgery (Perdikis, Connor, Vucovich), Oral Maxillofacial Surgery & TMJ reconstruction (McKenna), Oculoplastic Surgery (Mawn, Sobel, Baharimi) Pediatric Hand Surgery (Galdyn, Bhandari) and Pediatric Otolaryngology-HNS (Belcher, Phillips

Clinical volumes:
The craniofacial fellow could be expected to finish anywhere between 200-500 cases per year. On average, the program annually performs approximately, 40-50 primary cleft lip repairs, 70-80 cleft palates repairs, and over 80 primary and secondary craniosynostosis surgeries.

Over 20 Orthognathic surgeries are typically performed annually between plastic surgery and OMFS and is currently a focus of clinical growth. Operative case logs are available upon request by emailing the PD,

The fellow will have a high level of graduated autonomy and could function as an instructor for adult trauma and reconstructive cases. The fellow will be an integral part of the multidisciplinary cleft and craniofacial team. The fellow will also have the opportunity for an independent adult craniofacial clinic based on PD discretion. By the end of the fellowship the fellow will have the skillset to assemble and run a team of their own. The fellow will also be welcome to join on any international humanitarian trips which the faculty may be participating in during their year of training.

Unique to the program is the ability of the fellow to mold their experience based on interest and job requirements as the year progresses. The fellow will enjoy the additional unique opportunity to take advantage of immersion in the free -standing children’s hospital but have the opportunity to follow congenital patients in the adult hospital.

Clinical Sites:

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is located in the metro Nashville, TN area and is a level 1 trauma center as well as the quaternary referral center for the region . The hospital has over 1100 beds with more than 53,000 surgeries performed annually.

Monroe Carrell Jr Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt was ranked the #1 Hospital in the Southeast region for the 2nd year in a row in the US News & World Report rankings. The hospital has 343 total beds, 119 NICU level 4 beds with over 16,000 surgeries being performed annually in main campus OR’s. The hospital houses the Cleft and Craniofacial Program. It is on the same campus and is physically connected to the adult hospital.

Day to Day of the Program

The fellowship PD will provide a basic structure for how to select OR cases, clinic and Multi-Disciplinary cleft/craniofacial team. The CMF service is run by the rotating resident and the fellow will work with them for clinical decision making. There is a robust structure of integrated and independent residents in addition to the Cleft & Craniofacial Physician Assistant to help provide service support and continuity.

Research Resources

Scholarly activity is welcome and encouraged. The fellow will be able to access the resources of the Department of Plastic Surgery as well as the Surgical Outcomes Center for Kids (SOCKs) to help complete clinical projects. A full-time research coordinator also complements the team to help the fellow engage in a project of their choosing. The program has a registry of over 1000 patients and participates in multiple multi-center collaborations in cleft and craniofacial care, including the Synostosis Research Group (SynRG). The Cleft and Craniofacial Program conducts research funded intramurally, from the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons and the NIH. 

How To Apply & Interview Process

Applications are organized  through the American Society of Craniofacial Surgery (ASCFS) and the San Francisco match. The fellowship dates are Aug 1 to July 31. Applicants must be committed to the VUMC mission of reflecting the diversity of the populations we serve in our teams, programs, and communications. A diverse workforce is essential to crafting innovative solutions and reflecting a culture of inclusivity.  The applicant must also have completed or will complete an accredited plastic surgery training program prior to matriculation. The fellow will enjoy generous benefits and compensation commensurate with PG year.


Applications are accepted through August 21, 2023 and virtual interviews will be held on October 1, 2023.

Rank List due 11/1/2023

Match results 11/8/2023

Fellowship begins 8/1/2024

For further inquiries, please email:

Fellowship Director: or

Fellowship Coordinator: Shayla Grewing

Meet the Director