Society / Featured Parties

This Night at the Museum Draws Doctors Into the House

Celebrating the Texas Medical Center's Hidden Gem

BY // 11.08.19
photography Daniel Ortiz

When physicians in their pristine lab coats are seen at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston mingling with VIPs in cocktail attire, it’s a cinch that this is not going to be your ordinary night out. Correct. This was the latest in a series of swank friend-raising events for Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, a soft sell soirée bringing socially-adept influencers together with potential patient families.

The David Caceres group performed while the 150 dinner guests shared greetings over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the foyer of the Caroline Weiss Law Building where Swift + Company had been tapped to create a glamorous dinner party setting featuring the evening’s theme “Illuminate the Night.” The hospital logo and that of PaperCity, party co-host, welcomed guests as they entered through a verdant portal strewn with white rose petals.

As mentioned, scattered through the elegant throng were physicians who would later take their seats at tables where they enlightened guests on their individual specialties and the children’s hospital’s merits. Among them was Dr. David Callender, who was only 63 days into his role as Memorial Hermann System CEO. If his name is familiar, and it should be, Callender came to Houston straight from his post as president of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. On this occasion, the good doctor wore a dark suit, no lab coat required.

While dinner chairs Shannon Addison, Amanda Boffone and Stephanie Fleck, all three mothers of young children, welcomed guests, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, CEO Susie Distefano, shared with PaperCity the impetus for the dinner.

“The motivation for doing an event like this is to get the word out,” she said. “We have a great children’s hospital. This is a huge city and we want the community to get to know us better, to know the specialized services that we offer and to know that we are here to take care of kids and families. And we do it well.”

These gatherings, which have included a dinner on the floor of Toyota Center and Rockets stars in attendance, aid in “organically” expanding the hospitals profile. In fact, many would be surprised to learn that the mother ship of the hospital is not in Memorial City but rather in the Texas Medical Center.

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“The main campus for Children’s Memorial Hermann is a 10-story building tucked inside of Herman Hospital and on top of it is Life Flight,” she said. “We have satellites in Memorial City, Sugar Land and The Woodlands. But the main hospital is in the Medical Center and a lot of people don’t know that. Hence, one of the reasons to talk about it and get the word out. We like to think that we are this hidden jewel and we do great work and our UT physicians are fabulous.”

She added that the hospital’s neonatal unit with 118 beds is always full. Children are flown in on Life Flight. Across all campuses, CMHH delivers 26,000 babies each year, a small segment of the 100,000 and growing number of births recorded throughout the community annually.

Addressing the gathering along with Distefano was Dr. Alfred Monsour, director of orthopedic surgery at CMHH, who discussed a case in which innovative solutions were necessary to help heal a child with a hip problem. Other physicians leading table discussions included Dr. Ignatius Distefano, Dr. Jorge Salazar, Dr. Shiraz Younas, Dr. JuoJen Tsao, and Dr. Mary Maitken.

PC Seen: Honorary chairs Christine Falgout and Melissa Juneau; plus Neekie and Amir Kashani, Deborah and Gardner Cannon, Roland Garcia, Anne Neeson, Vivian and Pete VandenBout, Tracey and Andy Hull, Anne Neeson, Melissa Sugulas, Megan and Luke Hotze, Whitney Kuhn Lawson, Julie and Stephen Chen, Jo Lynn and Gregg Falgout, Kristina Somerville, Fady Armanious, Monica and Curtis Bickers, and Ting Bresnehan. 

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