Pediatric Cleft & Craniofacial Program

"Helping children FACE the world through a team approach"

The Cleft and Craniofacial Program at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt has served patients and families for over 30 years. Our program has been a regional & national leader in personalized, ‘pre-natal to prom’ care of children born with facial differences. As the highest performing center for cleft related surgeries in the state, our highly trained surgeons, specialists and staff are dedicated to providing quality care and outcomes for cleft lip and palate patients. Michael Golinko, MD is medical director of the Pediatric Cleft and Craniofacial Program, serving alongside Cleft Team co-director, James Phillips, MD, Assistant Professor and Pediatric Neurosurgery Craniofacial Director, Christopher Bonfield, MD.

The Cleft and Craniofacial team includes and works closely with VUMC campus wide multi-disciplinary teams that includes highly trained surgeons, specialists and staff that are dedicated to providing quality care and positive patient outcomes. We collaborate and work with:
• Audiology • Dentistry • ENT • Feeding • Genetics • Neurosurgery • Nutrition • Ophthalmology • Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery • Orthodontics • Plastic Surgery • Psychology • Social Work • Speech.

The team offers all forms of treatment for craniosynostosis, single, multi-suture and syndromic. Each child and family is unique and our team tailors an approach utilizing the full spectrum of state-of-the-art techniques including: Minimally invasive techniques with helmet, springs, distraction, fronto orbito advancement (FOA) and open cranial vault remodeling. 

Our Team - compassion and caring

We have a unique team of specialists who personally help families and patients navigate your experience. Welcoming faces guide you through your clinic visits and potential surgeries. Clare Gargaro, PA-C, MHSA is our program physician assistant who assesses the clinical and medical needs of the patients. Jennifer Tilton is our program coordinator who helps to ensure all visits and surgeries are well-coordinated. Families who request to see before and after photos can email our team at

These useful videos help tell our story
Meet the Program Director
Meet the Program Lead and some of the Team
Tour the Hospital

Patient stories in the News
Judah's story of transformation through NAM & Cleft surgery
Colton's Craniosynostios surgery and his team
Judah's transformation in story and pictures
Improving outcomes through sharing results
Abnornal shape of baby's head
Program helps children with hand, upper extremity issues
Father, son benefit from jaw reconstruction guided by 3D virtual planning

American Cleft Palate Education Resources

  American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association