Our Mission

To serve children with cleft lip/palate and their families by connecting them to care and providing education and support.

Our Team

Our team establishes comprehensive diagnosis, develops coordinated treatment plans, provides follow up care and appropriate referrals, and provides family support all during monthly clinics.

Our team consist of highly qualified and dedicated medical and non-medical volunteers who provide care for all individuals presenting with various clefting and facial differences. The team includes: a plastic surgeon, oral surgeons, pediatric dentists, orthodontists, a prothodontist, speech/language pathologists, feeding specialists, behavioral health specialists, an audiologist and volunteer support staff.

We value, acknowledge and celebrate your child's competencies and growth in addition to helping guide you in areas of need. The team approach is important, because it encourages the coordination of care and promotes the social, emotional and physical wellness of the individual and family.

Our History

  • The State Department of Health, Cleft Palate Section in November 1969 approved the Northwestern Pennsylvania Cleft Palate Institute as an operational clinic.
  • The Institute was incorporated as a non-profit corporation on April 11, 1973.
  • The Institute was located at Hamot Medical Center until 2008. In November 2008 we moved to our current location at The Achievement Center.
  • The Institute’s clinical team includes volunteers who represent all areas of medical, dental, communication, and behavioral health specialists.
  • The Institute is a member of the American Cleft Palate Craniofacial Association.
  • All Team members are appropriately certified in their specialty.
  • The Team meets monthly to provide diagnostic services and guidance to clients and families.
  • The Board of Directors is a clinical team and community represented group responsible for the operation of the organization.
  • Oversight for the daily operation of program/service management and the monthly clinics are handled by the Clinical Director (Natalie Huegel), the Administrative Director (Laura Plasczynski), and the Administrative Assistant (Faith Wentz).
  • Dental Auxiliary volunteers assist at each monthly clinic.