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Learning How to Cope With Burn Injuries

NYC Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta Opens the 21st Annual Phoenix Society's World Burn Congress for Burn Survivors


Aug. 27-29 Event Hosted by the Hearst Burn Center at NYP/Weill Cornell and the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation

NEW YORK (Aug 20, 2009)

More than half a million Americans are treated for burn injuries every year, but many do not have the specific skills necessary to cope with the experience of living with a burn injury after they leave the hospital.

More than 850 burn survivors and their families, firefighters and specialists in burn treatment from across the country are expected to attend the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors' 21st Annual World Burn Congress to share their experiences and practical advice about how to continue on the road to recovery after severe burn injury. This year's conference — which has its largest attendance to date — will also include a large group of U.S. servicemen and women who were injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

New York City Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta will be on hand at the opening ceremony scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 27, at 9:00 a.m. at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, 811 7th Ave. and 53rd St. Held for the first time in New York, the three-day conference — Aug. 27 to Aug. 29 — is sponsored by the Hearst Burn Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, the busiest burn center in the nation; and the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation, a not-for-profit organization of firefighters dedicated to the advancement of burn care, research and prevention. The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors is the largest national non-profit organization serving the burn survivor community.

"The New York City Fire Department is both a benefactor and supporter of the incredible work done by the Phoenix Society," says Fire Commissioner Scoppetta. "Long after the fire has been extinguished, the Phoenix Society helps burn survivors recover, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well."

Survivors will participate in a wide range of workshops — from how to use cosmetics to improve the appearance of burn injuries to improving your child's self-esteem after a burn injury. In addition, firefighters and former military personnel will discuss their personal experiences with burn injury in the line of duty. Additional speakers include CBS News Correspondent Kimberly Dozier, who will discuss her recovery from injuries sustained while on assignment in Baghdad, and J.R. Martinez, an actor on the long-running ABC soap opera "All My Children" and Iraq War veteran.

"When burn patients arrive on our unit they are victims, but as they receive treatment and understand the resources and community available to them, they become survivors. We are proud to sponsor an event that supports our patients' life-long healing process," says Dr. Roger Yurt, director of the Hearst Burn Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and professor of surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College.

"We are committed to ensuring that every burn survivor and their loved ones have the necessary support and resources they need to recover and live their lives," says Amy Acton, executive director of the Phoenix Society.

World Burn Congress Speakers and Workshops

Thursday, August 27

* Breathing the Fire: Fighting to Report and Survive the War in Iraq

10:00 a.m. — CBS News Correspondent Kimberly Dozier discusses being injured while reporting from the Middle East

* Creative Cosmetics and Color Analysis Consultations

1:45 p.m. — Survivors with facial burns learn how to enhance their appearance with creative make-up techniques

* Bringing Out the Best in Our Children and Ourselves

1:45 p.m. — Parents of burn victims guide their peers to gain a better understanding of how burn injury can impact a family

* In the Line of Duty: Stories of Those Who Serve

3:15 p.m. — Panel of firefighters and an American soldier will discuss the impact of their injury on career and family

o J.R. Martinez, actor on All My Children (ABC) and Iraq War veteran, shares his personal journey to recovery

Friday, August 28 * The Media and Burn Community's Voice in Prevention
9:00 a.m. — Amy Acton, executive director of the Phoenix Society, and Dr. Roger Yurt, director of the Hearst Burn Center, moderate a panel discussion on utilizing the media to spread fire-prevention messages (with a special appearance by Bill Ritter, WABC-7 news anchor and the host of "Operation 7: Save a Life")

Saturday, August 29

* Coming Through Fire

9:00 a.m. — Kim Phuc Phan Thai, famously photographed running down a Vietnamese street with her skin on fire during the Vietnam War, speaks out about living with a severe burn injury

Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors

The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors is the largest national non-profit serving the burn survivor community. Its mission is to empower anyone affected by a burn injury through peer support, education and advocacy. The Phoenix Society is a community committed to the vision of ensuring that every burn survivor and their loved ones have the necessary support and resources on the road to recovery. For more than 30 years the Phoenix Society has worked with survivors, families, health care professionals, burn centers, the fire industry and donors to support burn recovery, improve the quality of burn care, and prevent burn injury. The Phoenix Society's World Burn Congress is an annual international conference for burn survivors, their families and caregivers, burn care and health care professionals, first responders and others involved in the burn recovery process. The conference includes educational and support programs that provide attendees with comprehensive information and resources to increase knowledge of burn recovery. For more information, visit www.phoenix-society.org.

William Randolph Hearst Burn Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center

The William Randolph Hearst Burn Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, founded in 1976, was the first full-service burn center in the New York area and is now one of the busiest burn centers in the world. The Hearst Burn Center treats more than 900 inpatients and 5,000 outpatients every year — including 1,000 children. Patients receive the most sophisticated burn treatment currently available. The 40-bed unit includes a state-of-the art hyperbaric oxygen chamber as well as the only comprehensive skin bank in New York state. The unit is staffed by a team of surgeons, therapists, dietitians, nurses and social workers, all of whom are dedicated to providing comprehensive treatment for the three phases of burn-injury care: burn shock, wound care and surgery, and rehabilitation and reconstruction. Since its inception, the unit has maintained close ties with the New York City Fire Department. The New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation played an instrumental role in establishing the Hearst Burn Center and continues to work closely with the Center to educate the public on fire hazards and prevention. For more information, visit www.weillcornell.org/burncenter.

New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation

The New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation is a non- profit organization of firefighters founded in 1975, dedicated to the advancement of burn care, research, prevention, education, and the proper treatment of burns. The Foundation's goal is to make quality burn care available to all who are seriously burned, regardless of age, race, creed or economic status. Firefighters and members of the Burn Team have a special empathy for burn victims. No other group witnesses more of the devastation that fire wreaks on the human body. During the Vietnam War, two New York City firefighters, Joe Hickey and Jack Meara, were deeply moved by a news photograph of two Vietnamese children who had been severely burned by napalm. They wanted to help these youngsters. They thought that with a little help from friends they might be able to bring these children to New York for treatment. They then discovered, to their surprise, that there were no medical facilities in the New York area devoted exclusively to the treatment of burns. While hospitals coped with burn victims as well as they could, there were none that specialized in the treatment of severe burn injuries. Alarmed by their findings, the firefighters decided to do something about the situation. As other firefighters joined in their efforts they began working with physicians and other concerned citizens, and were eventually instrumental in the establishment of the Hearst Burn Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. For more information, visit www.nyffburncenter.com.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, located in New York City, is one of the leading academic medical centers in the world, comprising the teaching hospital NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medical College, the medical school of Cornell University. NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine, and is committed to excellence in patient care, education, research and community service. Weill Cornell physician-scientists have been responsible for many medical advances — including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer; the synthesis of penicillin; the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S.; the first clinical trial for gene therapy for Parkinson's disease; the first indication of bone marrow's critical role in tumor growth; and, most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital also comprises NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/The Allen Pavilion. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. Weill Cornell Medical College is the first U.S. medical college to offer a medical degree overseas and maintains a strong global presence in Austria, Brazil, Haiti, Tanzania, Turkey and Qatar. For more information, www.nyp.org and www.med.cornell.edu.

Contact

Kathleen Robinson
Phone: (212) 821-0560.
krobinso@med.cornell.edu
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