Dr. Laura Monson awarded Texas Children's Hospital Auxiliary Fellowship


HOUSTON - (July 11, 2013) - The Department of Surgery at Texas Children's Hospital is proud to announce that Dr. Laura Monson, pediatric plastic surgeon at Texas Children's, is the recipient of the 2012-2013 Texas Children's Hospital Auxiliary Fellowship. For more information about Texas Children's Cleft Lip and Palate Clinic, please visit texaschildrens.org/cleft.

Funded by The Auxiliary to Texas Children's Hospital, Texas Children's volunteer-led service organization, this fellowship was created to support the Department of Surgery and its tri-part mission of patient care, education and research. As the fellowship recipient, Monson will utilize the support to study the short- and long-term outcomes of patients with cleft lip and palate, as well as further her expertise in clinical research through formal post-graduate training.

"Understanding the clinical outcomes of cleft lip and palate repairs requires a longitudinal study that follows patients closely long-term," said Dr. Laura Monson, also an assistant professor of surgery in the division of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM). "Through our research we plan to follow our patient's clinical outcomes and quality of life over 18 years. We will track their speech progress, how the repair develops aesthetically, as well as how they are advancing psychosocially."

One child in 700 in the United States is born with a cleft lip or palate. It is the fourth most common birth defect and the most common facial defect. Cleft lip and palate is a congenital anomaly that occurs when a baby's upper lip and/or palate do not fuse during pregnancy. A baby can have an isolated cleft lip, an isolated cleft palate or a combination of the two. The main issues facing children with cleft lip and palate involve feeding difficulties, proper speech development, proper oral hygiene, dental problems and positive social interactions. Monson's research will be aimed at understanding the development of these childhood issues as the patients become adults.

Texas Children's Cleft Lip and Palate Clinic specializes in the comprehensive care of patients born with cleft lip and palate. The multidisciplinary team at Texas Children's - which includes a pediatrician, plastic surgeon, pediatric dentist, craniofacial orthodontist, otolaryngology specialist, speech pathologist, audiologist, craniofacial nurse, genetic counselor, outcomes nurse, social worker, nutritionist and translator - has more than 40 years of experience treating these particular issues.

"Dr. Monson's surgical outcomes research is perfectly timed as Texas Children's Hospital's Cleft Lip and Palate program is expanding," said Dr. Larry Hollier, chief of plastic surgery at Texas Children's Hospital and chief of the division of plastic surgery at BCM. "The hospital treats hundreds of children with cleft lip and palate with 200 to 300 new cases each year. Tracking these patients through the course of their lives will provide invaluable information to help improve the treatment for these children."

Monson completed her residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Michigan and her fellowship training at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, where she received further dedicated training in pediatric plastics and craniofacial surgery. To formalize her expertise in conducting outcomes research, Monson plans to pursue a Master of Science in clinical research at the Center for Clinical Research and Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Texas Medical School starting in fall 2013.

Monson's efforts will be supported through the Texas Children's Surgical Outcomes Center. This center is dedicated to patients and families through a commitment to track and improve clinical outcomes, transparency in sharing those outcomes and advocating for care to be provided where the best outcomes can be achieved.

About Texas Children’s Hospital

Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Center for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, a second community hospital planned to open in 2017. The organization also created the nation’s first HMO for children, has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.