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Karen J. Golding-Kushner, Ph.D. has been studying and treating VCFS since the syndrome was first described. She is currently Owner and Director of The Golding-Kushner Speech Center, LLC, in New Jersey and is a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Her private practice is devoted to treating communication disorders associated with VCFS, cleft palate, and related disorders.  A founding member and Past-Executive Director (2003-2011) of the VCFS Educational Foundation, she has published major VCFS research in peer-reviewed journals, over a dozen chapters and three books on cleft palate and VCFS. Dr. Golding-Kushner has presented internationally at well over 100 meetings.  She has provided telespeech services to children for seven years and is Associate Chair of ASHA's Special Interest Group on Telepractice. She serves on the American Telemedicine Association's Telerehabilitation's Committee for Interstate License Portability. Her past experience includes over 35 years of work as a clinician, researcher, teacher, and director of programs all focused on individuals with congenital anomalies with a special interest in VCFS, cleft palate and craniofacial disorders. She was associated with the Center for Craniofacial Disorders of Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, NY, for 17 years. She was also Founder and Director of the Department of Speech Pathology at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, Israel where she, in collaboration with the Craniofacial Team at Hadassah University Medical Center, introduced imaging of velopharyngeal dysfunction by videofluoroscopy. 


She returned to the United States and Montefiore Medical Center, where she assumed the position of Research Associate and Clinical Director of the Craniofacial Team. She also spent several years teaching undergraduate and graduate university students.  Her 1985 paper on the psychological, developmental and behavioral issues in VCFS was the first to call attention to this area and has proven to be a landmark publication in the management of children with VCFS. Her 1991 doctoral dissertation was the first to study VCFS and involved a detailed analysis of the craniofacial morphology and velopharyngeal physiology in VCFS and three other syndromes associate with cleft palate (Stickler syndrome, van der Woude syndrome, and Treacher Collins syndrome).  One of her books, co-authored with Dr. Shprintzen, Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome, Volume II, is the definitive work on communication impairment and its treatment in VCFS that includes extensive video demonstrations of therapy techniques, including the use of telepractice.

Dr. Golding-Kushner was awarded two major honors by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, the professional organization that serves more than 225,000 professionals worldwide. Only one person every year is awarded the Frank R. Kleffner Lifetime Clinical Career Award. Dr. Golding-Kushner was the recipient of that award for 2023. She was also awarded the Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Contributions in Clinical Achievement by ASHA at the annual convention in Boston in 2023.

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