Record-breaking Cleft Care Congress, Cleft 2022, opens at EICC

Edinburgh, Monday 11 July 2022

Taking place every four years, and in the UK for its first time ever, the 14th International Congress of Cleft Lip, Palate and Related Craniofacial Anomalies (Cleft 2022) opens today at the EICC in Edinburgh - with the highest attendance level of the congress to date. 

The opening ceremony takes place this afternoon, with a welcome from the Depute Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Councillor Lezley Marion Cameron, and an address by Chair of Cleft 2022, Cleft and Plastic Surgeon, who leads the Global Cleft Research Programme at the University of Edinburgh, Felicity Vidya Mehendale, who will set out the ethos of the Congress to the 1,500 attending delegates from 110 countries worldwide.

The opening ceremony will be headlined with a solo singing performance by Rhona Christie, a PhD student and accomplished singer, who has a cleft.  Now 26, Rhona first began receiving care from the team from Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Children and Young People at age 12.

The diverse congress programme will include active patient and parent involvement in scientific sessions – which have a remit to agree actions aimed at making global cleft care improvements over the next four years.

The Cleft 2022 organising committee is also giving professionals and the public the opportunity to influence positive change by engaging in a campaign run on social media, from which the committee will produce and announce three consensus statements following the congress.

Commenting ahead of the Congress, Chair of Cleft 2022, Felicity Vidya Mehendale said: “I am honoured to welcome delegates from over 110 countries to Cleft 2022 at the EICC in Edinburgh, for the Congress’ first appearance in the UK.  Together, at Cleft 2022, we aim to make positive disruptions in Cleft and Craniofacial Care, which we believe will make significant differences to global health and inclusivity.”

EICC’s Chief Executive, Marshall Dallas, commented: “We are thrilled to host the world’s largest cleft care conference – and it is testament to Edinburgh’s international appeal, as well as the city’s thriving life sciences sector, that Cleft 2022 has attracted the highest attendance record in its history with delegates attending from every corner of the globe.”

The Cleft 2022 Congress follows the EICC’s recent announcement that it will host a series of healthcare conferences in 2023, including The Palliative Care Conference, taking place in March with around 500 delegates, ITAKOM (It Takes All Kinds of Minds) an international conference focused on the far-reaching concept of neurodiversity, which also takes place in March 2023 with an expected 1000 delegates, and the 15th World Congress on Endometriosis in May which is expected to attract around 1,200 delegates.