This is a screen shot of a Spanish-language video that will help explain cleft palate surgeries to parents of Guatemalan children with the condition.

When WSU Speech and Hearing Sciences Clinical Associate Professor Amy Meredith and her students travel to rural Guatemala during spring break each March, they play an important support role.

They work to educate families of children with cleft palate about speech, language, hearing and feeding. The families are chosen for operations by surgeons from the U.S. The physicians volunteer their time with the medical mission group Hearts in Motion.

In the past, students have used picture books and rudimentary Spanish skills to explain cleft palate and how surgeons correct it. This year, they’ll bridge that language gap with a new tool: a Spanish-language video created by SHS student – and filmmaker – Sarah Vest.

“Since accompanying the medical team that performs the cleft surgeries in 2011, we have observed that the families have either little information or misinformation about the causes and consequences related to cleft lip and palate,” Meredith said.

“Given that our speech language pathology team divides its time between special education, rehabilitation and the hospital, and the surgeons are extremely busy, we thought it would help to make a video that everyone could see that explains the basics,” she said.

The film features two native Spanish-speaking SHS students — Angel Candido and Yesenia Ramos — narrating concepts related to cleft palate. A surgeon, Dr. Omar Husein, explains the surgery and recovery process. A team of students from the University Programs in Communications Disorders (UPCD) contributed their artistic, writing, producing and translating talents.

“I am extremely grateful that Sarah Vest was able to organize a dedicated team to get this film accomplished,” Meredith said.

The students will work in Guatemala during spring break. In addition to working with families, the SHS students will do hearing and speech assessments. Pharmacy and Nutrition and Exercise Physiology (NEP) students from the Spokane campus will also make the trip and perform duties closely related to their discipline.