Records were shattered on Saturday, October 8th, as the 2016 VBF Conference and Clinic brought together more than 300 patients, family members, faculty and volunteers for the largest conference in VBF’s 22-year history!

The annual event was held in New York City at Lenox Hill Hospital, a part of the Northwell Health system.

Nearly 100 patients and their families met with 20 world-renowned vascular birthmarks clinicians for 140 clinical appointments, 25 laser treatments (by Dr. Roy Geronemus, an expert at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York), a dozen dental exams (by Dr. David Darrow at the NYU School of Dentistry), 20 orthodontal exams (by expert Dr. Carroll Fenn), and 20 makeup training sessions (by Nancy Roberts, co-creator of Smart Cover Cosmetics, and her team of makeup artists).  Experts assisted with information regarding insurance coverage for the treatment of a vascular birthmark and families gathered for support group sessions.


As in the past, all activities were completely free for those who indicate they have a financial hardship.

The conference kicked off on a high note with presentation of the 2016 VBF Awards.  Dr. Ana Duarte of Miami Children’s Hospital was honored as Physician of the Year, and Jody Lee, founder and organizer of the first annual Purple Polka Dot Race–proceeds which benefited the VBF, was honored with the “Coco” Award for Outstanding Fundraising.

2016 Service Award recipients included Michele Wilson of The AVM Center of New York at Lenox Hill; Yelena Bernstein and Danielle Bleeker of the Vascular Birthmark Institute; and Megan Allen, Tamara Ammon, Christina Battiliana, Catherine Ferro, and Kaitlin Winters of the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York.


During her opening remarks, conference host Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon, VBF’s President and Founder, expressed her appreciation to the Conference Co-Directors:  Dr. Robert Rosen, Dr. Milton Waner, and Dr. Francine Blei of The AVM Center of New York at Lenox Hill, along with Dr. Roy Geronemus of the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of New York.  She also thanked Lenox Hill Hospital, the venue host, for generously providing the facilities, breakfast and lunch for conference participants.


Along with the conference co-directors, Dr. Linda gratefully acknowledged the 16 additional doctors who donated their time and expertise as speakers and/or clinicians: Dr. Steven Fishman, Dr. Stuart Nelson, Dr. John Pappas, Dr. Ana Duarte, Dr. Teresa O, Dr. Gregory Levitin, Dr. Deborah Shatzkes, Dr. Anton Hasso, Dr. David Darrow, Dr. Kamiab Delfanian, Dr. Chad Perlyn, Dr. Maria Gnarra, Dr. Anne Comi, Dr. Anna Pinto, Dr. Steven Kane, Dr. Carrol Fenn, Dr. Wenbin Tan (for Dr. Martin Mihm), and Leslie Graff, MS, CCLS.

Through the generous financial support of the host organizations and sponsors (Cutera, Cynosure, Syneron-Candela, Dr. Paula & Mr. Bay Miltenberger, and Pierre Fabre), all attendees received complimentary admission to the faculty lectures, clinical appointments, special sessions/support groups – as well as free meals and one night’s free lodging.  VBF remains the only organization known to provide such a comprehensive slate of free services to patients with vascular birthmarks.

“We would not have had such a successful event this year had it not been for the outstanding faculty, sponsors and our amazing event team,” said Dr. Linda.

Kathy Burbank, VBF Executive Assistant, did a superior job as Conference Coordinator while Stacy Leistner was the amazing Event Manager. Members of the VBF staff and more than 20 volunteers help to ensure that all on-site operations were smooth and that all participants had an outstanding experience. Dr. Linda oversaw all aspects of the event, leading program development and coordination with faculty and sponsors.

“We thank EVERYONE for the role they played in making our 2016 conference such a great event,” added Dr. Linda.  “Planning is already underway for next year!”

Details for the 2017 Vascular Birthmarks Conference & Clinic will be announced in February.  The event will be hosted by Dr. Stuart Nelson and the Beckman Laser Institute at UC Irvine, California.

VBF continues to have a positive impact of the lives of families, from all over the world, affected by a vascular birthmark.  Together we are making a difference!

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