Delta Dental of Tennessee commits over $1 million to cleft and craniofacial program at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital in Vanderbilt

NASHVILLE, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, the charitable arm of Delta Dental of Tennessee, the Smile180 Foundation, announced a $1.075 million commitment to the Cleft and Craniofacial Program at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital in Vanderbilt. The funds will be used to establish Delta Dental of Tennessee’s Smile180 Foundation direction for the cleft and craniofacial program, and to provide essential support as the program seeks to expand its services to care for more young patients and their families.

The commitment, first announced Sunday afternoon at First Horizon Park before the Nashville Sounds “Smile Power Sunday” game, extends Delta Dental’s longstanding support of the children’s hospital. Since 2001, Delta Dental and Smile180 have donated over $2.3 million to Children’s Hospital and supported various fundraising events and initiatives.

“We are grateful to Delta Dental of Tennessee and the Smile180 Foundation for their continued generosity and unwavering commitment to our programs for more than two decades,” said Jeffrey Upperman, MD, FACS, Children’s Hospital Surgeon-in-Chief and Chairman of the Department of Pediatric Surgery. “The support of organizations like Delta Dental plays an important role in our mission to expand and improve the quality of our cutting-edge patient care and enables our teams to advance healthcare through translational research, all with the goal of meeting the complex needs of children and families. We could not do the work we do every day without our community partners.”

This program supports patients with a wide range of facial differences and is led by Michael Golinko, MD, FACS, FAAP, Medical Director of the Cleft and Craniofacial Program and Chief of Pediatric Plastic Surgery, with Jim Phillips, MD, BS, co-director of the Cleft lip and palate team. The complexity of this team’s cases means that patients often remain with the program for several years and require care from an integrated team of specialists.

The position of Director of Delta Dental, which will be filled through a rigorous nomination process, represents a mark of distinction for a highly regarded clinician. The incumbent of this administrator position will have the necessary resources to accelerate the progress of the Lunge and Craniofacial program.

“Dr. Golinko and his team are doing truly amazing work bringing healthy smiles and brighter futures back to thousands of children across the region,” said Phil Wenk, DDS, President and CEO of Delta Dental of Tennessee “We are excited to support this vision and the continued growth and expansion of the Lunge and Craniofacial program.”

Of Delta Dental’s total commitment, $75,000 will enable the clefts and craniofacial team to be able to meet high priority needs and take advantage of emerging opportunities as they arise. This could include expanding and improving patient care, investing in cutting-edge technology, and adding new programs so that children can receive comprehensive, world-class care.

“Our goal is to expand the reach of the Cleft and Craniofacial Program, establishing it as a leading and internationally recognized program for comprehensive, family-centered care of cleft and craniofacial cleft,” said Golinko. “This extremely generous commitment from Delta Dental of Tennessee and the Smile180 Foundation builds on the long-standing relationship between our institutions whose missions are exactly aligned. This endowment will have a significant impact on our ability to meet the complex needs of patients with facial differences from birth through early adulthood, to advance the field through research and innovation, and further, to attract and retain exceptional leaders in cleft and craniofacial care.

The announcement kicks off the 7e annual Smile Power Oral Health Week. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has recognized the week of June 13-17, 2022 as Smile Power Week to promote healthy smiles and the transformative power of oral health care. For more information on Smile Power Week, Click here.

Patient Ambassador Judah Anderson and his family attended the announcement at First Horizon Park and shared their story. To learn more about the history of Judah, Click here.

For more information about the cleft and craniofacial program at Children’s Hospital, Click here. For more information about Delta Dental of Tennessee, visit

Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital in Vanderbilt

Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital in Vanderbilt is one of the nation’s leading children’s hospitals, treating and helping to prevent a full range of pediatric health conditions, from colds and broken bones to complex heart disease and cancer. Achieving 10 of the 10 Nationally Ranked Pediatric Specialties in 2021, Children’s Hospital was again named among the nation’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” for the 15e consecutive year by US News and World Report. Additionally, Children’s Hospital again won distinction as the #1 pediatric hospital in Tennessee and in a new regional ranking, sharing first place in the Southeast region.

Vanderbilt’s nonprofit Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital opened in 2004, expanded its physical space in 2012, and recently added four new floors covering a total area of ​​160,000 square feet. The new expansion helps advance the size and scope of the hospital. assignment. To learn more about Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital in Vanderbilt:

Tennessee Dental Delta

Delta Dental of Tennessee is the largest independent dental insurer in the state with nearly 1.4 million lives covered. As part of the Delta Dental Plans Association, members of Delta Dental of Tennessee have access to the nation’s largest dental network with more than 154,000 providers serving more than 437,000 locations. With the simple mission of ensuring healthy smiles, Delta Dental of Tennessee works hard to help members of the communities it serves. Along with its corporate foundation, Smile180, Delta Dental of Tennessee has donated more than $5.4 million in funding and in-kind services to more than 130 organizations in 2021.

Christine E. Phillips