October 24, 2023 – ACPA and the Visiting Scholar Selection Panel are pleased to introduce Oti Aria, MBBS, FWACS, MPH as ACPA’s second Visiting Scholar for 2024.

Dr. Oti Nimi Aria is a committed and resourceful Plastic Surgeon and Cleft Care Provider based in Nigeria. She provides surgical services in a region where access to high-quality surgical services is limited. This has translated into her offering much-needed services at the two main institutions providing cleft care in Rivers State, Nigeria, thus allowing her and the Comprehensive Cleft Care team access to a greater number of patients who would hitherto have lacked access or experienced delays in accessing care.

She partners with other cleft care providers to raise awareness about cleft lip and palate in Nigeria. She has a Post- Fellowship Certificate in Cleft Care from the West African College of Surgeons (WACS) in collaboration with Smile Train International, and is a Smile Train partner. She is a member of the Nigerian Association for Cleft Lip and Palate (NACLP), through which she first learned about the American Cleft Palate Craniofacial Association (ACPA).

With a keen interest in research and a flair for teaching, she contributes immensely to the training of medical students, interns and surgical residents in her region and serves as a member of the West African College of Surgeons Committee of the Annual Conferences; as well as Faculty for Nigeria’s National Surgical Obstetrics Anaesthesia and Nursing Plan (NSOANP)-Smile Train Research Capacity Training. With a passion for global surgery and specifically health systems strengthening, Dr. Aria remains one of the emerging young female leaders in surgery and stands out as a role model and mentor for students, trainees and younger colleagues.

Dr. Aria will visit two ACPA Approved Teams next spring – the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Cleft/Craniofacial Program and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital Pediatric Cleft and Craniofacial Program in Nashville, Tennessee. She will also attend ACPA’s 81st Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado and give a presentation about her experiences.

ACPA thanks Smile Train for its support of Dr. Aria’s scholarship.

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.