I have worked in cleft palate research since 1999 being involved in trials comparing different surgical techniques (combinations of lip, hard palate and soft palate) and the timings of these operations to determine how they affect speech outcomes and facial appearance. For many years, I was involved in the ‘Eurocleft Project’ which encompassed the ’Scandcleft Randomised Trials of Primary Surgery in Cleft Lip and Palate’. I am currently involved in the ‘TOPS’ (Timing of Primary Surgery in Cleft Lip and Palate’) trial which is comparing the outcomes of operating on patients with cleft palate at 6 months to this surgery at 12 months. The assessment of the child’s speech at 5 years is the primary outcome of this trial.
My day to day work involves the editing and quality control of the speech recordings taken of these patients’ speech at 3 years and 5 years. I also collect and maintain a database record of the dental casts of these patients prior to surgery and at 5 years. I also maintain an Access database of the personnel involved in the TOPS project which takes place over in over 20 centres in the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Brazil.
Over the years, I have been involved in general administration, data collection, record keeping, production of basic statistical data and liaison with personnel involved in the many trials and projects in cleft lip and palate research.