Friday, January 18, 2013

Concert raises funds for children with disfiguring birthmarks


HEALING HARMONIES: From left, Fisher; Cheung; Ando; Hsiao; Park; Martin Mihm; Tran; and Anderson


Nearly $15,000 was raised during the third annual Vietnam Vascular Anomalies Center Benefit Concert, hosted by the MGH Department of Dermatology and the Wellman Center for Photomedicine and held at the Goethe Institut Boston. “It is deeply inspiring to see the talents and energies of our colleagues directed so effectively at improving the health of Vietnamese children halfway around the globe,” said David Fisher, MD, PhD, chief of the MGH Department of Dermatology, who played the cello during last month’s event.

The center, started by MGH and BWH physicians, is the first multicenter humanitarian medical collaboration between U.S. and Vietnamese physicians dedicated to treating children with disfiguring birthmarks. The critical impetus for the center’s humanitarian work was the continued use of radioactive phosphorus P32 to treat hemangiomas, an outdated and dangerous procedure that leaves significant scarring and depigmentation. In the past three and a half years, the center has treated more than 900 children, evaluated more than 2,000 others and has become an official center at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Ho Chi Minh City.  

During the concert, guests enjoyed traditional Vietnamese cuisine, bid on silent auction items and were treated to an all-Schumann program that brought together Fisher; violinist Jennifer Frautschi, an Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient; pianist John Blacklow, professor at the University of Notre Dame; soprano Nozomi Ando, a postdoctoral researcher in chemistry at MIT; pianist Vincent C.K. Cheung, PhD, an MIT postdoctoral fellow; violist Grace Park, a graduate student at Boston University; violinist Jennifer Hsiao, concertmaster of the Dudley Orchestra; and Thao Le, a former professor of music at the National Academy of Music in Hue who is a master of the dan tranh, a traditional Vietnamese stringed instrument. 

“The money raised at the benefit will be used to continue the center’s mission of providing medical care to children and it will also enable us to help fund an educational exchange program between physicians in Vietnam and the United States,” said Thanh-Nga Tran, MD, PhD, of the MGH Dermatology Department. Tran –along with R. Rox Anderson, MD, director of the MGH Wellman Center for Photomedicine, and Martin Mihm, professor of Dermatopathology at the BWH – served as the evening’s co-hosts.

For more information about the Vascular Anomalies Center, visit

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