Orofacial clefts are one of the most common global birth defects. Orofacial clefts may be part of a syndrome or an isolated birth defect, and affect approximately 1–1.5 per 1,000 live births worldwide with noted inequalities across geographical areas and cultures. In the United States, Asian American populations have a substantially higher incidence of cleft lip with or without cleft palate (2/1,000 live births). Orofacial clefts are a key health issue with substantial health care costs, and associated medical, psychological, and social ramifications. It has been estimated that the health care costs within the United States are approximately $697 million over a child's lifetime. In disorders like orofacial clefts, because of the complexity of the condition and subsequent medical interventions, as well as the cultural intricacies of the Asian culture, it requires significant knowledge and understanding by the health care providers. In order to provide optimal and safe cleft care, reduce health care costs, and improve the outcomes for the Asian American population, a culturally sensitive, multidisciplinary, and coordinated approach is needed. Increased culturally specific education, early access to prenatal care, and ongoing infant and pediatric health care are essential.
Sharon Fritzsche, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, CPSN, ISPAN-F, is a family nurse practitioner, Loma Linda University Medical Center, California.
Address correspondence to Sharon Fritzsche, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, CPSN, ISPAN-F, Loma Linda University Medical Center, 11234 Anderson St, Room 4002, Loma Linda, CA 92354 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
The author reports no conflicts of interest.