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Cleft and Craniofacial Team

Team Director and Pediatric Plastic Surgeon

  • Clinton Morrison, M.D.

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. 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.

Pediatric Plastic Surgeon

  • Sara Neimanis, M.D.

Dr. Neimanis is a pediatric plastic and craniofacial surgeon who joined the Cleft and Craniofacial Center in 2021. Though new to the team in an official sense, she spent 6 years at URMC during residency training working with and getting to know this exceptional group prior to additional fellowship training. She is passionate about caring for patients with clefts and craniofacial differences in a family-centered way and promoting positive and comfortable patient experiences. View Dr. Neimanis' 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.

Pediatric Neurosurgeon

  • Howard Silberstein, M.D.

Dr. Howard Silberstein is a board certified neurosurgeon. Since 2001 he has been actively involved as the Pediatric Neurosurgeon involved in all craniofacial surgeries. He works closely with the team in assessing patients and the need for surgical intervention. Over the last 17 years he has been involved in over 350 craniofacial cases. He works closely with the anesthesia team and PICU staff during the hospital post operative course. View Dr. Silberstein's eCV.


  • Jennifer West, Ph.D.

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.

Social Worker

  • Jill P. DelVecchio, L.M.S.W.

As team Social Worker for the Cleft and Craniofacial Center, Jill is uniquely qualified to support patients and their families in their own environment by assessing all the different aspects of their life and culture. Jill has been providing support to children and families within this community and surrounding counties since 2003. She has a breadth of experience in the field of social work, including early education, developmental disabilities, behavioral interventions and advocacy. As a member of our Craniofacial Team, Jill completes a psychosocial assessment with patients and families during their team visit and offers resource information, along with advocacy in addressing barriers to care. Jill is dedicated to enhancing positive outcomes for our patients and their families as well as assessing their needs to ensure access to quality services and supports.

Pediatric Dentist

  • Erin Shope, D.M.D.

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.

Genetic Counselor

  • Emily Calamaro, M.G.C.

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.

Pediatric Otolaryngology

  • Amanda Didas, P.A.-C.

Amanda has been a Physician Assistant in pediatric Otolaryngology since 2007. She practiced at Boston Children’s Hospital for 10 years prior to relocating to this area. She has always had a passion for collaborative, multidisciplinary care.  Amanda has been a member of the Cleft and Craniofacial Center since 2017.  She greatly enjoys being an active team member and addressing the various Ear, Nose, and Throat needs of our patients.


  • 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.

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

  • Heidi Connolly, M.D.

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