(Click above image to view a slideshow of the 12th International Congress)

12th International Congress a Success!

The 12th International Congress on Cleft Lip/Palate and Related Craniofacial Anomalies, held May 5-10, 2013 in Orlando, FL, represented a milestone and signature event in the history of ACPA. It was the first time in 44 years since the 1st International Congress was hosted by ACPA in Houston, TX in 1969, that the Congress returned to the U.S. It was also memorable by virtue of combining an extraordinary scientific program, an impressive list of commercial exhibitors, cutting-edge technology and an enjoyable venue for social events and family entertainment. The Congress was planned and executed by an incredible Organizing Committee of Jeffrey L. Marsh, MD, Jerald B. Moon, PhD, Ronald Reed Hathaway, DDS, MS, MS, Marilyn A. Cohen, LSLP, ACPA staff members Nancy Smythe, Jeremy Baggish and Debbie Ogle, as well as the entire National Office Staff.

This was the most well attended Congress ever, with 1474 professional and student attendees representing 67 countries from all corners of the globe, truly embodying the International Confederation's objective "To promote and facilitate the management of cleft lip and palate deformities, and related craniofacial anomalies throughout the world." Within the total attendance, 42 different disciplines were represented and 835 attendees were from countries outside the United States. The Congress, however, was also well supported by the ACPA membership with 541 ACPA members present. Also, during the Congress 57 attendees became new members of  ACPA.

With 70 scientific sessions, including 563 platform papers, 477 electronic posters, 11 Symposia on important and controversial topics, and five Task Force reports by international groups which have been assigned relevant topics of significance to the future of cleft/craniofacial care, the spirit of international collaboration and cooperation was evident throughout the meeting. To encourage attendance by our junior colleagues and those with limited resources for travel and meeting expenses, we were able to offer 20 scholarships for professionals in training from all five regions of the International Confederation - all supported through the generosity of ACPA, CPF, individual donors and exhibitors.

The entire spirit of the Congress was established at the outset with a beautiful poolside American Barbeque Welcoming Reception replete with Disney characters. The mood continued with fabulous Opening Ceremonies including a moving chorus of songs by the Florida Opera Theatre Youth Choir, including “Getting to Know You”. A medley of traditional American songs by the IMPACT Drum and Bugle Corps, and a Parade of the Flags of all countries represented at the Congress set the tone for Keynote Address by Dr. Bill Shaw which concluded with an audience participation sing-along of the Beatles classic, “A Little Help From My Friends”.

The entire Congress was carried out flawlessly due to the combined efforts of the Hilton’s professional and friendly convention staff, the Congress Organizing Committee, and most importantly, ACPA’s hard-working and dedicated National Office Staff. This Congress clearly will become the Gold Standard to which future Congresses will aspire and represents a high water mark in ACPA’s 70 year history of optimizing interdisciplinary care of persons with clefts and other craniofacial anomalies. I feel humbled and honored to have been able to participate in this very special event and am deeply appreciative of the ACPA membership and National Office who helped make this Congress so successful.

Ross E. Long, Jr., DMD, PhD
12th International Congress