A Letter from CPF President Marilyn Cohen

By ACPA posted 07-03-2017 10:01 AM


As of June 30, 2017, the Cleft Palate Foundation has merged with ACPA and has become ACPA Family Services.  ACPA is proud to represent professionals and families working together to build cleft and craniofacial awareness and improve care.  ACPA Family Services will provide support and resources to patients and families and will spread awareness of cleft and craniofacial conditions. 

We would like to thank Marilyn Cohen for serving as CPF president, 2013-2017.  Please take a moment to read a letter Marilyn wrote to the ACPA Board, ACPA Members and CPF Board.

Dear ACPA Board, ACPA Members and CPF Board:

June 30, 2017 marked the sunset of the Cleft Palate Foundation but not its 45 years of dedicated service to the improvement of care for individuals with clefts and craniofacial conditions.  ACPA and CPF officially merged their energy and dedication to the care of these individuals, on June 30, 2017.  Although the organizations have always been sister organizations, their legal merger truly represents the unwritten alliance that has been in place for decades and will positively impact their joint vision and mission. Please join me in thanking the ACPA and CPF staff that have invested so many hours to facilitate this merger and the group of ACPA and CPF volunteers who have worked so diligently to bring this merger to fruition.

It has been a privilege over the years to have served as the president of both organizations. Both presidencies have allowed me to work with a diverse and talented group of volunteers dedicated to improving the lives of individuals affected by clefts and craniofacial conditions.  As I step down and realize that I am the last president of CPF, I am reminded of the rich legacy of individuals that served in this capacity before me. They are all truly the giants of our field. Special thanks go to our immediate past president, Gip Seaver for opening the doors of CPF to patients and families by inviting them to join the CPF board. I would also like to say a special thanks to Jim Lehman for his tireless work building a CPF endowment fund that allows CPF to offer education and support to affected individuals at particularly vulnerable and uncertain times in their lives and the lives of their families.  CPF’s family support services would not be in place without Jim Lehman’s vision of the future back in the 1990’s. Although the ACPA and CPF at last will serve as one organization dedicated to team care and the improvement of the lives of affected individuals, I want to assure you that the current goals and objects of each individual organization will be preserved by this merger. As one unified organization we will have greater strength to impact the awareness of clefts and craniofacial conditions through professional education, patient education and education of the general public. The unification of our office staff and executive staff will enable significant administrative cost containment that will help to expand our resources and better serve our joint mission.

Health care is in an historic state of transition and is rapidly moving from what has been a paternalistic, provision model to a model that is now influenced by the articulated needs of patients and families. The merger of our two organizations represents our commitment to proceed and embrace the future. Although I step down as president with mixed emotion, I feel confident that we are in a great position to deal with the future challenges of cleft and craniofacial care.

I would be very remiss, if I did not take this opportunity to thank Wendy Toyama for her foresight and support this past year as we have worked through the pains of a merger. I would like to especially thank Stephanie Williamson who served as the director of operations for CPF during a particularly trying time in our history. Her dedication to our family centered mission kept the ship afloat during uncertain times.  Special thanks to our ACPA president Bob Havlik, and the  ACPA board and membership  for allowing me to represent the interests of CPF on that board. And last but certainly not least to my fellow CPF board members, it has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with each one of you. Your dedication to the mission of CPF has been extraordinary, as exemplified by your open mindedness to think out of the box and support what is our hope for the future.  It is time to celebrate both a sunset and a sunrise and work toward a renewed future.

With many thanks and warmest regards, I am

Sincerely yours,
Marilyn A. Cohen

If you have any questions about the ACPA and CPF merger, or about ACPA Family Services, please email info@acpa-cpf.org.