Program Lead, Cleft and Craniofacial Program Physician Assistant, Pediatric Plastic Surgery
Team Role: Program lead and physician assistant for all cleft and craniofacial children from birth to 18 years old. Sees prenatal cleft consults, cleft newborns and mothers following delivery and during NICU stay, patients admitted to the hospital for cleft and craniofacial related surgeries, and post-operative visits in clinic. Runs multidisciplinary team days and serves as primary resource for families coordinating their multidisciplinary medical care.
Prior to joining Vanderbilt’s Pediatric Plastic Surgery department, Gargaro spent six years working for the University of Michigan Health System, where she gained experience in general surgery and urology. Additionally, her experience as a physician assistant includes serving as a first assist in the operating room, performing inpatient floor management and managing an outpatient clinic.
While working as a physician assistant, Gargaro received her executive master’s degree in health services administration from the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. She recently attended the Nasoalveolar Molding training course for cleft palate care at New York University Langone Medical Center, where the treatment was pioneered. This knowledge will serve as a resource for parents and newborns who elect this treatment prior to cleft palate repair.
Clare has always been passionate about working with children. She has two younger siblings whose surgeries and hospitalizations influenced her desire to pursue a career in pediatrics and helped her learn to effectively communicate and educate families throughout their surgical journey. Prior to pursuing her physician assistant education, she worked in several pediatric settings, including physical therapy and rehabilitation, clinical neuropsychology and endocrinology.
Clare’s professional memberships include the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association, the Association of Plastic Surgery Physician Assistants and the American Academy of Physician Assistants.