The Plastic Surgery Foundation
Log In Donate Now

Grants We Funded

Grant applicants for the 2022 cycle requested a total of over $2.9 million dollars. The PSF Study Section subcommittees of Basic & Translational Research and Clinical Research evaluated 115 grant applications on the following topics:

The PSF awarded research grants totaling almost $550,000 to support 19 plastic surgery research proposals.

ASPS/PSF leadership is committed to continuing to provide high levels of investigator-initiated research support to ensure that plastic surgeons have the needed research resources to be pioneers and innovators in advancing the practice of medicine.

Research Abstracts

Search The PSF database to have easy access to full-text grant abstracts from past PSF-funded research projects 2003 to present. All abstracts are the work of the Principal Investigators and were retrieved from their PSF grant applications. Several different filters may be applied to locate abstracts specific to a particular focus area or PSF funding mechanism.

Cross-Linguistic Speech Evaluation in Patients with Cleft Palate

Principal Investigator
Eugene Park MD


Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago

Funding Mechanism
ACAPS/PSF Research Grant

Focus Area
Cranio / Maxillofacial / Head and Neck, Other

Speech therapy is an essential component of cleft palate care, but many children in the developing world do not have access to this resource. Without speech therapy, patients with cleft palate are prone to various speech errors, often resulting in social stigma and slowed intellectual development. One way to increase the availability of speech therapy to patients in remote areas of the world would be to use audiovisual recordings and teleconferencing. This would allow speech-language pathologists (SLPs) working in academic centers to evaluate and treat cleft palate patients who would otherwise have no access to speech therapy. It remains to be seen whether recordings are a reliable means of evaluating speech, and whether SLPs can adequately evaluate patients who speak an unfamiliar language. In this study, we will evaluate whether audiovisual recordings can be used to accurately evaluate the speech of cleft palate patients, and whether it is possible to adequately perform speech evaluations in patients who speak a different language using this medium. We will first test the accuracy of speech evaluations performed via recorded media by having two SLPs at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital evaluate video recordings of speech evaluations performed by the other SLP. By calculating an inter-rater reliability between speech evaluations performed via recorded media and those performed in person, we will be able to measure the effectiveness of this technique. In the second stage of this study, 4 institutions from 4 different countries will collaborate to see if speech evaluations performed across language barriers in patients with cleft palate can produce useful diagnoses. Each partnering institution will record speech evaluations performed in their own language, and send these recordings to SLPs at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital. The receiving SLPs will evaluate these speech samples using a set of speech assessment parameters. We will compare the evaluations performed by the SLPs at the partner centers and at Lurie to calculate an inter-rater reliability between SLPs who speak the patient's language and SLPs who do not. The long-term objective of this study is to make speech therapy available for patients in the developing world who otherwise have no access to speech therapy. We hope to provide evidence that cross-linguistic evaluations performed using recorded media can be a useful tool in global cleft care.

I am currently a resident physician in the division of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Northwestern University. I completed my undergraduate degree in Biology at Cornell University and attended medical school at Northwestern University. My interests within plastic surgery include pediatric craniofacial reconstruction including the treatment of cleft lip, cleft palate, and velopharyngeal insufficiency. My research experience in the past include a year spent in India establishing a surgical outcomes database at the Mahatma Gandhi Medical College cleft center. This experience was in partnership with Operation Smile Inc. and focused on improving the quality of care delivered to patients with cleft lip and palate in the developing world. My other clinical studies have included an outcomes analysis of patients with open abdominal wounds treated with skin grafts at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as outcomes analyses of flank hernia repairs. I have also spent time performing basic science research in wound healing in the Tissue Repair and Regenerative Surgery Laboratory at Northwestern University where I studied the effects of Staphylococcus aureus biofilms on cutaneous wound healing using a mouse model. My goals for my career are to improve access to quality care for patients with craniofacial deformities in the developing world through research and infrastructure development.