The Craniofacial Society of Great Britain and Ireland (CFSGBI) is a multidisciplinary group of healthcare professionals committed to improving the clinical care of children and adults with cleft lip and/or palate and other craniofacial anomalies, through research, training and the sharing of knowledge and ideas.

The CFSGBI represents the healthcare professionals in this field and provide a platform that promotes collaboration and innovation to improve care for patients. Their functions include organising an annual scientific meeting, sponsoring research, commenting on medico-political issues relating to cleft lip and palate service provision and providing a membership directory.

The current membership of the CFSGBI reflects the composition of teams throughout the country treating patients with cleft lip and palate and craniofacial anomalies. 

Read more about the Craniofacial Society of Great Britain and Ireland by visiting their website

Melanie Bowden - President

Having been a member of the Craniofacial Society of Great Britain and Ireland since 1995, it is an honour to hold the office as President for 2023-2024 and to represent Speech and Language Therapy. I have been fortunate to attend all bar 2 of the Society’s Annual Scientific Meetings since 1995. I competed for the Arnold Huddart Medal at the 1996 conference with a presentation on 18 month speech and language assessments and won the Audit Prize in 2015 for a speech audit project focusing on bilateral cleft lip and palate. I am past secretary of the National Speech & Language Therapy Cleft and Craniofacial Clinical Excellence Network (CEN).

have been in my current position as Lead Specialist Speech and Language Therapist with the Manchester Cleft Service (part of the North- West of England, North- Wales and Isle of Man Cleft Network) since 1997. My cleft career started at the former St Andrews Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery in Billericay, Essex with inspirational training from Brian Sommerlad, Consultant Plastic Surgeon and Kim Harland, Specialist SLT, however, I had a strong yearning to return to Manchester, having qualified from the University in 1991. I have now led the Speech Therapy team here for the last 26 years. I also held the position of overall Clinical Lead of the Manchester Cleft Unit from 2019-2022.  My research experience has included the International SCANDCLEFT project (UCLP) and the International TOPS trial (CP).

Although I have been service lead for 26 years, most of my working week is clinically focused. Whilst detailed speech assessment and investigation of velopharyngeal function are a big part of my clinical activity, I have always had a passion for intervention, in particular developing ‘tricks’ and techniques for eliciting ‘difficult’ target sounds and helping children and young adults eliminate entrenched cleft speech characteristics.

In my role as President, I am hoping to build on the work of my predecessors and to further develop links with other organisations, such as CLEFT, for us to work together to improve the clinical care of children and adults with cleft lip and/or palate and other craniofacial anomalies through research, training and sharing ideas.