Earthspeak's 4th trip to San Miguel de Allende

Dr. Ruben De Anda, Dr. Fidel Berlanga and Dr. Jeffrey Marsh assessing a child

In February 2014 Earthspeak made its 4th visit to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. For the past two years, we have been developing sustainable community mentor-based speech correction and a cleft palate team care model for individuals in need of such services in this community.

Our partners in the project include Hospital General, Patronato Pro Niños (PPN), and Desarrollo Integral de La Familia (DIF), a national and state organization in Mexico that deals with all manner of issues that affect the health and welfare of children and families. A new program independent of DIF called Instituto Guanajuatense para Personas con Discapacidad is also now supporting the cleft palate project in San Miguel and Guanajuato state.

The trip was organized through Maria Aquilar and Juan Camocho from Patronato Pro Niños (PPN).

The visiting U. S. team consisted of Dr. Jeffrey Marsh (Plastic Surgeon from St. Louis, Missouri), Dr. Stuart Neil (Pediatric Anesthesiologist from Canada), Kathi Hoffer, Ph.D. CCC-SLP (Authorized RSF-Earthspeak Master Trainer), and Andrea Jobe Breaker, M.A. CCC-SLP (Director of Speech Programs at RSF-Earthspeak).

Goals for the trip were to provide service and training in the following areas:

  • Cleft palate team triage of patients
  • Introduction to surgical procedures for repair of cleft lip and palate
  • Advanced training of Authorized Clinical Trainers for becoming Master Clinicians
  • Education of healthcare workers for identification, referral, and support of the program as well as birth education for newborns
  • Clarification of roles and responsibilities for the Cleft Palate Team and Partners
  • Speech program needs assessment for Escuela de Educacion Especial for the Deaf in San Miguel

The trip was highly productive. We appear to be on target with our stated objectives of providing quality, cleft palate team care to the children in this region of Guanajuato state. All seven MCT candidates were awarded authorization as Master Clinical Trainers, and Earthspeak will continue MCT training. Graduates of this training will be qualified to serve cleft populations through speech evaluation and treatment and serve on the CP team at Hospital General.

Master training program in San Miguel de Allende
Dr. Richard Reidman and Larry Breaker assess hearing