Treating birth defects involving cleft lip, cleft palate, and other craniofacial anomalies requires the expertise of specialists from a variety of medical fields. Depending upon the child's specific needs, his or her care team may include specialists from pediatric and plastic surgery, pediatric medicine, dentistry, audiology, and speech and language—just to name a few. This type of multidisciplinary approach is recommended by the American Cleft Palate Association (ACPA).
At Golisano Children's Hospital, we are fortunate to have an experienced, multidisciplinary team that is recognized by the ACPA as well as other medical organizations.
Team Director and Plastic Surgeon
Dr. Morrison is the Team Director and Plastic Surgeon for the Cleft and Craniofacial Center. He considers it a true privilege to care for each unique child with cleft and craniofacial conditions at the University of Rochester. As the team surgeon, he enjoys getting to know not only the patient, but also the family, and working together to provide a high quality treatment plan customized to each child’s needs. The Cleft and Craniofacial Center provides state-of-the-art cleft and craniofacial medical and surgical care in an environment that is patient and family focused. View Dr. Morrison's eCV.
Team Coordinator and Nurse Practitioner
Melisande J. Ploutz, P.N.P.
Mel is the team coordinator and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner for the Cleft and Craniofacial Center and is a vital contact for patients and their families. Her years of nursing experience in the pediatric intensive care unit and pediatric surgical suite, as well as her additional training as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, afford her a unique insight into the care of children and their families. As the team coordinator, Mel acts as a liaison between patients, families, and the Craniofacial Team. She assists patients and families in understanding, coordinating, and implementing their treatment plans. Families can contact Mel anytime with their questions, concerns, or worries. She is always there for our kids. View Melisande Ploutz's eCV.
Dr. Jennifer West has been the team psychologist since 2005 and greatly enjoys working with each child and their family to identify their unique strengths and help them address any adjustment challenges that they are experiencing. During the team visit, Dr. West completes a short psychosocial interview with patients and families to learn more about different aspects of their life, including family relationships, education, extracurricular interests, and peer relationships. She provides consultation regarding normal child development and reviews strategies that may be helpful to promote positive behavior, coping and self-esteem. Dr. West works closely with the team social worker to ensure that families are connected with additional behavioral health resources in their community, if needed. View Dr. West's eCV.
As team Social Worker for the Cleft and Craniofacial Center, Lenora is uniquely qualified to support patients and their families in their own environment by assessing all the different aspects of their life and culture. Her years of social work experience at the University of Rochester Medical Center include providing an array of preventive, clinical, and supportive services to enhance patient care and safety. A member of our Craniofacial Team since January 2007, Lenora completes a psychosocial assessment with patients and families during their team visit and offers resource information, along with advocacy in addressing barriers to care. Lenora enjoys working with our team patients and their families and is dedicated to ensuring they get the help they need from the best resources available.
Dr. Shope is a Board-certified pediatric dentist committed to creating and maintaining a positive dental experience for children, especially for those born with craniofacial differences. As a member of the Cleft and Craniofacial Center, her passion lies in providing nasoalveolar molding (NAM), a pre-surgical structural treatment, to infants born with cleft lip and palate. She especially enjoys helping these children develop beautiful and healthy smiles. View Dr. Shope's eCV.
Renee Lynn Roland, D.D.S.
Dr. Renée Roland is from Elma, NY and relocated to Rochester for her postgraduate training at the Eastman Dental Center specializing in orthodontics. During her time at the University of Rochester she developed a passion for helping children with craniofacial anomalies and joined the Cleft and Craniofacial Center immediately following the completion of her residency. Since that time she has thoroughly enjoyed being an active team member in helping these special young patients grow and develop with long term success as the ultimate goal. Her role on the team is helping plan and manage our patient's orthodontic care so they can speak, chew, and smile with comfort and confidence for years to come. View Dr. Roland's eCV.
Emily Calamaro is a pediatric genetic counselor in the Division of Pediatric Genetics who provides genetic counseling to individuals in the General Genetics and Pediatric Cardio Genetics Clinics. She started working with the Cleft and Craniofacial Center in the summer of 2016. She provides families with information regarding the causes of craniofacial anomalies including cleft lip and/or palate and craniosynostosis. During your visit, she will obtain medical and family histories to determine any possible association with an underlying genetic syndrome, provide recurrence risks for future pregnancies, and explain the implications for other family members. It is possible that a follow-up appointment in the General Genetics Clinic may be recommended for further evaluation by our clinical geneticist. View Emily Calamaro's eCV.
Laura Martin feels privileged to have joined the Cleft and Craniofacial Center in the fall of 2016. She is a pediatric genetic counselor in the Division of Pediatric Genetics who also provides genetic counseling to individuals in the General Genetics and Metabolic Genetics Clinics. Prior to her current position, she worked for 10 years as a prenatal genetic counselor in Reproductive Genetics here at the University of Rochester. As a member of the Craniofacial Team, Laura provides information about the causes of clefting and craniosynostosis, their possible association with genetic conditions, recurrence risks for future pregnancies, and familial implications. When appropriate, she will help to facilitate a referral to the General Genetics Clinic for further evaluation by our clinical geneticist. View Laura Martin's eCV.
Dawn D'Agostino, M.A., C.C.C.-A.
Dawn D'Agostino is an audiologist on the team. She has 30 years of experience as a clinical audiologist working with children and adults. Dawn became a member of the Craniofacial Team in 2016 and is excited to share her knowledge and clinical expertise with the team, the patients and their families.
Shayna Tokar, Au.D. is an Audiologist on the team. Dr. Tokar works with both pediatric and adult populations, but has a true passion for working with children and their families. During your visit, the Audiologist will monitor hearing sensitivity and mechanical function of the ears, make medical referrals as needed, and discuss any hearing or ear-related concerns that may arise.
Speech Language Pathologist
Eileen Marrinan, M.S., C.C.C., M.P.H.
Eileen Marrinan joined the Rochester Cleft & Craniofacial team in 2016. She has been a dedicated cleft speech pathologist for 30 years. She received her Master’s of Science in Speech Pathology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and her Master’s of Public Health degree from Harvard University. Eileen conducts clinical research and has published peer-reviewed papers and chapters in the area of cleft palate and related craniofacial disorders, including 22q deletion syndrome. She has lectured nationally and internationally in these areas. She has taught graduate level courses at a number of universities and currently teaches the Cleft & Craniofacial course at Syracuse University. Eileen is particularly interested in family centered care. This includes helping families better understand their child’s speech difficulties so they can help them achieve normal speech as soon as possible.
Pediatric Sleep Medicine Services
Dr. Heidi Connolly is the Director for Pediatric Sleep Medicine Services at Golisano Children’s Hospital, as well as a valued member on the Craniofacial Team. Some craniofacial abnormalities interfere with sleep and breathing and can cause sleep apnea. Dr. Connolly helps to recognize, diagnose, and treat these problems in the cleft and craniofacial team patients. View Dr. Connolly's eCV.
Additional Services Consulted as Needed
Eastman Institute for Oral Health