Claire Crawford, UH Graduate College of Social Work

As an Albert Schweitzer Fellow, I will be connecting families of children born with cleft lip and palate through facilitating support groups and a caregiver conference in order to promote a local network of support among this population. 

Hi, I’m Claire Crawford, a first-year Masters of Social Work student at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. A Mississippi native, I travelled out of state for my undergraduate degree to attend the College of William & Mary, where I graduated as an English major in 2013. Motivated by personal experience, my service will focus on providing information and services to children born with cleft lips and palates (CLP). Though CLP is the fourth most common birth defect in the world, few people are familiar with what it is and what the many consequences can be. My goal as a fellow is to expand knowledge about CLP while providing a safe and unique environment for children and families to discuss their experiences and unmet needs through support groups and a local CLP conference. I was born with a cleft lip and palate and was fortunate enough to receive nine surgeries and endless support from my family and community. As a patient and a volunteer with Operation Smile and the Cleft Palate Foundation, I have both developed gratitude for the progress cleft care has made and a curiosity about ways to meet unmet needs in this population through the development of additional social services. It is my hope that, with the support and insight of the other fellows, this fellowship will help me to connect with other CLP families and begin collaborations for improving cleft care.