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Cleft Con 2020

Updated: Jan 24, 2021

24.10.2020 | Smile Train | "Talking the Talk So You Can Walk the Walk: A Look at the Role of Patient-Doctor Communication in Cleft Treatment"

This was Smile Train's first cleft conference. Put together during lock down, this virtual day gave the cleft community to connect, engage and share smiles. I was invited as a guest speaker to share my cleft treatment experience and provide advice for patient-doctor communication. My talk focused on my treatment timeline and my research into balancing medical interactions between patients and health professionals.

This was a fantastic virtual experience. It was great to hear from so many inspirational speakers and to connect with the cleft community during coronavirus restrictions. The conference was attended by more than 500 people and it was fantastic to hear from some of the community's pioneering leaders and online activists.

My content covered:

  • an overview of my cleft treatment journey (from birth to present day).

  • an exploration of the dynamics of patient-doctor communication.

  • advice for how to feel empowered in appointments and techniques for making sure your voice is heard.

Other speakers included

Meredith Albert, PhD (Paediatric Psychologist, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Chicago)

Henry Baddour (Founder of CleftProud)

Ashley Barbour (Founder of CleftLove)

Gareth Davies (Executive Director, European Cleft Organisation)

Kenneth Gorfinkle, PhD (Paediatric Clinical Psychologist, Common Sense Therapy)

Alessia Johns, PhD (Paediatric Psychologist, Children's Hospital Los Angeles)

Jennifer Ludrosky, PhD (Assistant Professor, Clinical Psychology, West Virginia University)

Leanne Magee, PhD (Paediatric Psychologist, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)

Patricia Marik, PsyD (Paediatric Psychologist, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin)

Kristina Pietersma (Founder of Cuddles for Clefts)

If you have an opportunity coming up that you think might benefit from a ‘patient perspective’ talk, please feel free to email me at


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