The 14th International Congress of Cleft Lip, Palate and Related Craniofacial Anomalies (Cleft 2022), which takes place every four years, is holding its opening ceremony this afternoon. That will include a welcome from Councillor Lezley Marion Cameron, the Depute Lord Provost of Edinburgh, and an address by Felicity Vidya Mehendale, the event’s chair and a cleft/plastic surgeon who leads the Global Cleft Research Programme at the University of Edinburgh, and who will set out the ethos of the congress to the 1,500 delegates.
She 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... we aim to make positive disruptions in cleft and craniofacial care, which we believe will make significant differences to global health and inclusivity.”
The opening ceremony will be headlined by a solo performance from 26-year-old accomplished singer Rhona Christie, who has a cleft, and who first began receiving care from the team from Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Children and Young People when she was 12.
The diverse programme will include active patient and parent involvement in scientific sessions that have a remit to agree actions aimed at making global cleft care improvements over the next four years.
EICC 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 event follows the EICC’s recent announcement that it will host a series of healthcare conferences in 2023, including The Palliative Care Conference and Itakom (It Takes All Kinds of Minds) that is focused on neurodiversity, both taking place in the March, and the 15th World Congress on Endometriosis in May.
The EICC, which is to operate and manage a forthcoming seven-storey Hyatt Centric hotel in Haymarket, is also set to host First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe talk show next month.