This training school was organised through an inter-faculty collaboration between Prof. Jean Calleja Agius (Faculty of Medicine and Surgery), Dr Gabriella Gatt (Faculty of Dental Surgery) and Prof. Helen Grech (Faculty of Health Sciences), together with international co-operation: Prof. Martin Persson from the University of Kristianstad, Sweden; Dr Amanda Neville, President of the EUROCAT, from the University of Ferrara, Italy; Dr Nick Sharratt from the University of Bristol, UK; Prof. Ron Strauss from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA; and Dr Gareth Davies, from the European Cleft Organization.
This training school opened with a lifespan overview of the psychosocial and public health aspects that may affect individuals with cleft or craniofacial conditions. An informative session on EUROlinkCAT focus groups as a method for parent involvement in research priorities and public health was held. This was followed by a workshop which highlighted the possible impact of visible differences, specifically considering the sphere of romantic relationships and intimacy, and reflecting upon how that topic may be broached in a sensitive manner.
There was a series of presentations focusing on building skills on how to study sensitive and ethically challenging topics, and how such research may inform action and social change. Dr Amanda Bates delivered a very interesting session on patient experience and public engagement.
The final session of this training school was on understanding and managing the family and patient perspectives adopting guidelines and practical exercises used by the European Cleft Organization to train parents of children with clefts to support new parents.
In total, 30 international participants and 24 local trainees attended this training school.