The conference served families with all types of vascular birthmarks and anomalies, including Hemangioma, Port-Wine Stains, Vascular Malformations, Arteriovenous Malformations, Lymphatic Malformations, and those with associated syndromes, including Sturge-Weber Syndrome, Cutis Marmorata Telangiectatica Congenita (CMTC), Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome (KTS), and PHACE Syndrome.
The conference began in the morning, after a continental breakfast, followed by a welcome address from VBF President & Founder Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon, PhD.
Dr. Linda presented the VBF Physician of the Year Award to Dr. Teresa O of the Vascular Birthmarks Institute at Lenox Hill Hospital and a former patient of Dr.O’s traveled in for the conference to recount an emotional tribute to Dr. O for changing the course of treatment for her family. Countless others honored Dr. O with messages of gratitude in our Program. VBF is proud to join others in honoring Dr. O for her dedication and tireless work treating families affected by a vascular birthmark.
During the morning session, the kids played with our volunteers in daycare, and even got a visit from Blackberry and Twitter, the therapy dogs. For many children, this experience marked the first time they were able to interact with others who looked just like them, some with matching laser dots from the day before’s free laser treatments which resulted in “post treatment dots.” Life-long friendships were formed, and all our hearts were warmed.
While the kids had fun in daycare, the morning session continued with lectures from VBF’s world-renowned experts from around the world, including Drs. Jeffrey Bergen, Francine Blei, Giacomo Colletti, Anne Come, Kahlil D’Souza, David Darrow, Kamiab Delfanian, Ana Duarte, Aaron Fay, Roy Geronemus, Leslie Graff, Anton Hasso, Steven Kane, Gregory Levitin, J. Stuart Nelson, Teresa O, John Pappas, Anna Pinto, Ricardo Restrepo, Robert Rosen, Deborah Shatzkes, Stavros Tombris, Milton Waner & Carrol Fenn.
After breaking for lunch, the afternoon session began with concurrent & individually scheduled clinical appointments for all families, as well as our special sessions that included insurance, support groups, and make-up sessions. Those will all types of vascular anomalies and birthmarks were seen, including those with hemangioma, port-wine stains, vascular malformations, and associated syndromes, including Sturge-Weber Syndrome, KTS, and others. Altogether, over 250 clinic and special sessions appointments were made to ensure that each and every patient saw the experts they needed.
The VBF Conference would not have been possible without Dr. Robert Rosen and the Lenox Hill Hospital, our hosts for the VBF NY conference, and to the other Physician Sponsors such as Dr. Milton Waner, Dr. Francine Blei, & Dr. Roy Geronemus. Thank you also to the other physician contributors, including Dr. David Darrow, Dr. Anton Hasso, Dr. Gergory Levitin, and Dr. Ricardo Restrepo.
We are extremely grateful to our sponsors for making this annual event possible, including: Syneron Candela, Cynosure, Pierre Fabre, Cutera, SmartCover Costmetics, Venthera, Columbia University School of Dental Medicine, & Dr. Paula and Dr. Bay Miltenberger. Simply put, the conference would not be possible without their sponsorship.
A special thank you to Candela Syneron for providing the lasers, equipment, and technicians, which allowed 40 people to get free laser therapy. Words cannot express our gratitude to Dr. Roy Geronemus and his team who shut down operations so that patients from the VBF network could receive free laser treatments. The total was 40 !!!
Thank you also to our representatives from Venthera and Pierre Fabre for attending.
Most importantly, the families who attended the conference left with hope and knowledge. Nearly 95% of survey respondents reported that the conference advanced their knowledge of birthmarks and countless others reached out with personal stories of how their lives and treatment plans were altered dramatically as a result of what they learned.
Nearly 100% of physician survey respondents said that the conference met their identified needs and professional practice gaps, and all said that the materials validated their current practice or changed the way they will practice in the future.
Our annual conference continues to be the core focus for both family and physician education, and VBF is proud to be the only non-profit in the world to provide such a comprehensive slate of free services to birthmark families. #VBFGivesHope
Please consider donating to our SPONSOR A FAMILY FUND so that we can continue to provide these free services to families. $500 will sponsor a family to attend a conference, but any donation makes a difference.
You are cordially invited to attend any of our upcoming VBF conferences. Mark your calendars and check our website for registration updates.
Once again, we thank each and every family who attended, our physicians, sponsors, volunteers and other members of our team for joining us to MAKE A DIFFERENCE and GIVE HOPE.
Linda Rozell-Shannon, PHDPresident & Founder, Vascular Birthmarks Foundation