Meet Your Team
Our Craniofacial Center is led by Michael L. Cunningham, MD, PhD, medical director, Sarah Frahn, MSN, RN, service line director, and Richard A. Hopper, MD, MS, surgical director. Our team of 50 experts covers 19 different specialties. We work together, and with you, to create an individual plan of care for your child.
Your child is assigned a craniofacial pediatrician who diagnoses your child, coordinates the care provided by the team and tailors the treatment plan to your child.
Our team sees patients at clinics on 3 days each week. The full team meets weekly to discuss children with complex needs and decide on the best care plan for each child. Having all team members together allows for on-the-spot consultations and helps coordinate care.
Children with craniofacial conditions are more likely to have ear and hearing problems. Untreated hearing loss can lead to problems with speech and language development, emotional and social development and learning. Our audiologists check your child’s hearing throughout childhood, starting as early as 1 month of age.
Paige Petersen, AuD, CCC-A
Healthy teeth and gums are very important for children with craniofacial conditions. Our pediatric dentist and orthodontist are experienced working with children who have disorders affecting their head and face. Orthodontic assessment and treatment prepare your child for surgery involving the gum line, jaws and teeth. The orthodontist works closely with your child’s surgeon and pediatrician on the timing and details of any craniofacial surgery.
Ear, nose and throat doctors (otolaryngologists)
Our otolaryngologists are surgeons with expertise in treating disorders of the head, neck, ears, nose and throat in children of all ages. They assess and monitor your child’s hearing, ears, feeding, breathing and speech development. They also work with the team to provide medical and surgical treatment for disorders affecting these areas.
Eye doctors (ophthalmologists)
A craniofacial condition may affect your child’s vision or the position of their eyes. Our ophthalmologists are surgeons who check and treat vision, the muscles that control eye movement, the health of the nerve from the eye to the brain (optic nerve) and the protection of the eye by the bony brow. Our team ophthalmologists work closely with the plastic surgeons, neurosurgeons and other team members to care for your child.
A fellow is a doctor who has finished medical school and residency and is now training in a special field. Our Craniofacial fellows are learning to treat children’s craniofacial conditions. As part of your child’s Craniofacial team, these doctors will assist in your child’s general care and visit your child while in the hospital.
Erin Anstadt, MD
Nicole Kurnik, MD
Geneticists and genetic counselors
Board-certified medical geneticists at our Craniofacial Genetics Clinic help identify conditions caused by changes in genes. Our genetic counselors have specific experience with craniofacial disorders. They can advise you about the pros and cons of genetic testing, explain test results and give you information about your child’s condition. Counseling can help you make informed decisions about family planning and your child’s treatment.
Lex Powers, MS, GC
Neurosurgeons specialize in treating abnormalities of the brain and skull. Our neurosurgeons work closely with our plastic and reconstructive surgeons to treat children with craniofacial conditions that involve the skull and spine.
Advanced practice providers
Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) work closely with doctors and can provide care independently. APPs include advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs) and physician assistants (PAs), and can be found diagnosing and treating patients in clinics and in the hospital. Our advanced practice providers provide most of the care for patients with positional plagiocephaly.
Treatment plans for craniofacial conditions can be complex. Our nurses are an important part of your team throughout your child’s treatment. They coordinate your child’s care and ease communication among the care team members and with your family. They have a thorough understanding of your child’s condition and can answer questions and offer advice. They teach you about your child’s disorder and treatment. Nurses help you prepare for follow-up care at home.
Kara Bazant, BSN, RN
Lindsey Benedict, BSN, RN
Hannah Berntson, BSN, RN, CPN
Tara Corbridge, MPH, BSN, RN
Kimberly Davis, RN, CPN
Dawn Leavitt, BSN, RN-BC
Christina Parrish, RN
Suzanne Siegel, BSN, RN
Children with craniofacial conditions may have challenges with eating and weight gain, especially during the first years of life. Our nutritionists work closely with your family, your child’s regular doctor, and your child’s craniofacial pediatrician to develop feeding plans, monitor calorie intake and track weight gain.
Mariah Nicole Kassuhn, MS, RDN, CD
Our occupational and physical therapists assess your child’s feeding, development and movement. They work with your family to evaluate your child’s motor and development skills. They may recommend changes in positioning and treatment such as physical therapy. Through play and exercise, they help your child build strength and coordination to do daily activities.
Tracy Brundage, MOT, OTR/L, IBCLC
Stella Byunn, PT, DPT, PCS, C/NDT
Keren Eliav, MS, OTR/L
Jennifer Fridgen, PT, DPT
Robin Glass, MSOTR/L, IBCLC
Raeanne Miller, MHA, OTR/L
Lynn Wolf, MOT, OTR/L, IBCLC, supervisor, Infant Therapy
Oral and maxillofacial surgeon
Our oral and maxillofacial surgeons specialize in procedures to treat the jaw, teeth and lower face. The goals are to create facial symmetry, properly align the jaws and ensure proper placement of your child’s teeth. Our oral surgeons work closely with our other surgeons and orthodontists to improve the function and appearance of your child’s face.
The craniofacial pediatrician diagnoses your child and manages medical problems related to their craniofacial disorder. The doctor guides your child’s overall treatment and works with other team members to coordinate specialty care. Your craniofacial pediatrician will be familiar with all aspects of your child’s condition and with your family’s needs and desires. The craniofacial pediatrician will work with your family’s doctor to monitor your child’s overall health and development.
Plastic and reconstructive surgeons
Our plastic surgeons have all completed fellowships in craniofacial surgery. They specialize in the surgical treatment of craniofacial disorders. They perform plastic and reconstructive surgery on both the soft tissue in the face and the bones of the face and skull. Depending on their condition, your child may need multiple surgical procedures to improve how their face and head function and look.
Specialists in mental health will support your child and family through the challenges of a craniofacial condition. They can help determine how a craniofacial condition is affecting your child and family life and provide guidance. Our child psychologists can offer practical information learned from their work with many other families. Together with our social workers, they can support you when you are making decisions about your child’s treatment options. They also help you and your child prepare for surgery and for a hospital stay. If your child might benefit, they can provide psychological testing to give you important feedback about your child’s learning.
Doctors and scientists in the Craniofacial Center do research to better understand the causes of craniofacial conditions. They also are working to develop new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat these conditions.
Respiratory care specialists
Our team of respiratory therapists helps diagnose and treat children with craniofacial conditions that affect breathing. They teach parents about medications and equipment and help families give respiratory support therapy at home.
Kristina Callen, RRT
Speech and language pathologists
Craniofacial differences, including cleft palate, may contribute to speech problems. Our speech pathologists assess and monitor your child’s speech development throughout childhood to determine how to improve their speech skills. They recommend treatment such as speech therapy, a speech appliance or surgery.
Lauren Beckett, MC, CCC-SLP
Sara Kinter, PhD, CCC-SLP
Erin Etzkorn, nurse manager clinical operations
Leslie Nielsen, practice manager
Erik Stuhaug, photographer
Christine Thai, out of region program manager