October 30, 2023 – ACPA and the Visiting Scholar Selection Panel are pleased to introduce Fateme Derakhshandeh, PhD as the first of ACPA’s two 2024 Visiting Scholars.

Ms. Derakhshandeh is an assistant professor in speech therapy at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (IUMS). She has worked as an academic member of the School of Rehabilitation Sciences, at IUMS since 1997. She teaches cleft palate speech courses for BSc and MSc, and counseling and ethics in speech therapy for BSc students. In addition, she has been the clinical supervisor in the cleft clinic and the thesis supervisor for master’s students and research projects.

Ms. Derkhshandeh held more than 150 hours of continuous education programs on the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of cleft palate speech disorders for SLPs at different universities in the country’s provinces. She organized over 12 workshops in cleft palate management in Iran.

Ms. Derkhshandeh and her colleagues established the Isfahan Cleft Care Team (ICCT) in IUMS with leading Dr. Mohammad Mazaheri and Dr. David Kuehn in 2005.  Furthermore, they developed the first Iranian Cleft Craniofacial Research Center (CCRC) in 2015. They also held several national and international conferences and educational workshops in various fields such as cleft surgery, orthodontics, and nursing with expert professors from the USA and England.  Moreover, she founded the Early Intervention group for children with cleft in ICCT in 2007 and the first Iranian educational cleft palate clinic in 2010, in which the students were educated and the patients received therapeutic management. She has been the team coordinator/director of the cleft clinic since its establishment.

Ms. Derakhshandeh has published several articles in the field of cleft palate. She always had a great passion for learning and teaching and was eager to provide better services to patients with cleft palate and her community.

Next spring, Ms. Derakhshandeh will spend a month visiting two ACPA Approved Teams – Nationwide Children’s Hospital Cleft Lip & Palate Center/Center in Columbus, Ohio and Fogelson Plastic Surgery and Craniofacial Center for Children in Dallas, Texas. She will also attend ACPA’s 81st Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado where she will give a presentation about her experiences.

The ACPA Visiting Scholar Program (VSP) selects cleft and/or craniofacial care providers from developing countries to travel to the United States to learn more about cleft and craniofacial care from ACPA Approved Teams. The purpose of the program is to give scholars a first-hand opportunity to see interdisciplinary team-based cleft/craniofacial care and provide them with the knowledge to establish or improve cleft and/or craniofacial care within their home country in a team setting. Learn more about the Visiting Scholar Program.