Dr. Joshua Demke, MD



Roger Tipton

Nadene Tipton

Dr. Joshua Demke

Dr. Joshua Demke has lived in West Texas since 2009 and is an Associate Professor of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center. He is the surgical director of the region's only ACPA (American Cleft Palate Association) accredited cleft palate team and is also co-director of the West Texas Craniofacial Center of Excellence.


He has a passion for reconstructing children born with congenital deformities including cleft lip, cleft palate, congenital ear deformities, as well as deformities of the face, jaw, orbits and skull such as craniosynostosis, Pierre Robin, Treacher Collins and craniofacial macrosomia to name a few. Dr. Demke has published multiple journal articles and book chapters on a variety of topics including cleft lip reconstruction, and craniofacial surgery.


He enjoys doing cleft mission trips overseas in areas such as Central America, the Philippines, and the West Bank in Palestine in the past partnering with a variety of nonprofits including Smile Train, Palestine Childrens Relief Fund, Interplast and International Children’s Surgical Foundation

Fellowship: Craniomaxillofacial surgery SUNY Upstate Syracuse NY 2008-2009

Residency: Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery UNC NC Chapel Hill 2004-2008.

Hobbies: Playing the piano, exercise, reading, and spending time with his three children and wife


Ryan T. Higley was born and raised in Dumas, TX. He earned his undergraduate degree in Biology from McMurry University in Abilene, TX, followed by The University of Texas Health Science Center Dental School in San Antonio, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with his Doctor of Dental Surgery. Dr. Higley completed his Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Residency at The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and served as Chief Resident his final year.


During his residency, he took a special interest in cleft lip and palate procedures as well as craniofacial reconstruction. His professional interests consist of both general and complex oral and maxillofacial procedures including third molar removal, dental implant reconstruction, intra-oral and soft tissue grafting, corrective jaw surgery, primary and secondary cleft lip and palate surgery, TMJ reconstruction, and maxillofacial trauma reconstruction.


Dr. Higley is also an associate professor of surgery at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in Lubbock and serves on the University Medical Center Cleft Lip, Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Team and he is currently serving as Chairman for the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Dental sections at Covenant Medical Center.


Dr. Higley has many hobbies outside of clinical practice, which include large game and upland bird hunting, fly-fishing and snow-skiing. Dr. Higley is married to his high school sweetheart, Ashley, who enjoys serving Lubbock and the surrounding area through various non-profit organizations and businesses.


Jennifer Hanners-Gutierrez, M.S. CCC-SLP, is a Level III speech-language pathologist in the acute care division of service at UMC Health System. Jennifer attained her Master’s Degree in 1996 from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) and has worked at UMC Health System as a speech pathologist for over 20 years.

Jennifer specializes in evaluation and treatment of dysphagia and neonatal/pediatric feeding disorders. Jennifer assisted in developing outpatient clinics to provide critical, complex intervention for: 1) patients diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, 2) patients diagnosed with head and neck cancer, and 3) patients diagnosed with pulmonary obstruction.

Jennifer also successfully integrated speech pathology service into the UMC Emergency Center. Jennifer invented a device that is currently distributed by Ali-Med and used to rehabilitate swallow dysfunction [i.e., Ice Finger] and is also the inventor of a second medical rehabilitative device [i.e., SafeStraw] manufactured and distributed by Bionix Medical Corporation. Her third invention, a wireless electronic gaming system for patients with spinal-cord injury is patent pending.

Jennifer presented at the national speech convention [ASHA] 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 and was an invited “overseas expert” speaker at the 2016 Hong Kong, China, Nutrition and Feeding in Palliative Medicine conference. Jennifer was inducted into the TTUHSC Hall of Fame in 2008 and was awarded the Distinguished Alumnae award in 2011. Jennifer has been involved in the evaluation and treatment of children diagnosed with cleft lip and palate and/or craniofacial anomaly throughout her time at UMC Health System.

From 2011 to 2016, Jennifer served as Medical Director of the UMC Cleft Palate Clinic, attaining nationwide recognition for clinic services.