Cleft Lip and Palate Clinical Research Fellowship

The Cleft Lip and Palate Research Fellowship in the Division of Plastic, Reconstructive and Oral Surgery at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is a 12-month paid fellowship dedicated to cleft lip and palate outcomes research. The fellowship offers one position per fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). Research fellows are generally medical students, foreign medical graduates, or surgery residents who desire a U.S. residency position in plastic surgery. Applicants may also include graduate students from other health sciences programs not limited to public health, epidemiology, psychology, and speech and language pathology.

Research expectations and opportunities

The Cleft Fellows’ broad responsibilities include developing hypotheses, writing grant proposals and IRB protocols, gathering data, and writing manuscripts for publication. It also includes the prospective and retrospective management and statistical analysis of patient databases for cleft lip and palate.

Although no formal bio-statistical or clinical research training is funded through the fellowship, the fellows gain on-the-job training from residents and previous fellows who are accomplished academic researchers in plastic surgery. The fast-paced environment and abundance of practical training leaves fellows with a robust knowledge of the current state of academic literature in pediatric cleft surgery, as well as an ability to effectively analyze data in the literature, develop new ideas, learn bio-statistical analysis, utilize image processing software for 3D design and modeling, and analyze institutional and national datasets to answer novel hypotheses.

Throughout the year, the fellows will be working with Dr. Oksana Jackson, Dr. David Low, Dr. Joseph Napoli, and pediatric psychologist, Dr. Leanne Magee, as well as the multidisciplinary practitioners on the cleft lip and palate team including speech pathologists, audiologists, orthodontists, social workers, and nursing specialists on clinical research projects, many of which will be submitted to high-impact plastic surgery and cleft palate journals. A primary goal of the fellowship is to learn to create reproducible and scientifically valid data in a collaborative environment, thereby setting the foundation for many of the skills needed throughout an academic career.

Award stipend

Successful candidates will receive a modest stipend to help cover living expenses for the year, as well as some travel expenses to national meetings if presenting podium presentations.

How to apply

Candidates who wish to apply for the July 1, 2024 – June 30, 2025 fellowship period are invited to submit your application beginning October 1, 2023. The deadline to apply is December 1, 2023. To apply for the Cleft and Palate Clinical Research Fellowship, submit your application and CV along with a one-page personal statement .

To apply for the Cleft and Palate Clinical Research Fellowship, submit your application and CV along with a one-page personal statement.

Submit your application.

Please refer to the below questions if you need some guidance for your personal statement, but do not limit yourself to answering just these questions. Please keep personal statements to one page.

  • What do you hope to get out of this fellowship?
  • What experience do you think has prepared you for this?
  • What skills do you possess?
  • Why are you a stronger candidate than others?
  • What are your career goals?

If you have any questions regarding the application process, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Kindly do not email our surgeons regarding your application process.


We interview eligible applicants between January and early February.

Other requirements

To carry out its mission, it is of critical importance for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to keep our patients, families and workforce safe and healthy and to support the health of our global community. In keeping with this, CHOP has mandated all workforce members (including trainees) on site at any CHOP location for any portion of their time be vaccinated for COVID-19. This mandate also applies to workforce members or trainees providing patient care at non-CHOP locations. CHOP also requires all workforce members and trainees who work in patient care buildings or who provide patient care are required to receive an annual influenza vaccine. Candidates other than those in positions with regularly scheduled hours in New Jersey, must attest to not using tobacco products. Employees may request exemptions to any CHOP vaccine requirement for religious and medical reasons.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, disability, protected veteran status or any other protected category. CHOP is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor seeking priority referrals for protected veterans.

CHOP is committed to building an inclusive culture where employees feel a sense of belonging, connection, and community within their workplace. We are a team dedicated to fostering an environment that allows for all to be their authentic selves. We are focused on attracting, cultivating, and retaining diverse talent who can help us deliver on our mission to be a world leader in the advancement of healthcare for children.

We strongly encourage all candidates of diverse backgrounds and lived experiences to apply.

Current fellow

Young girl with pigtails, shy smiling

Why Choose CHOP for Plastic, Reconstructive and Oral Surgery

Learn about what makes CHOP’s Division of Plastic, Reconstructive and Oral Surgery unique, and why our experience makes us the best choice for your child’s care.

smiling plastics patient with parents

Your Child's Appointment with Plastic, Reconstructive and Oral Surgery

Find information about what to expect during your child's visit to CHOP's Division of Plastic, Reconstructive and Oral Surgery.