Society / The Seen

Houston Doctors Ditch Their Lab Coats, Walk Off the Job To Indulge in Non-Medical Fantasies

BY // 11.15.17
photography Kathleen Ryan, Ryan Photo Art

This was not your typical night out at River Oaks District, though we dare say that no night is “typical” at the swank ROD.  On this particular evening, “The Arts of Healing” filled the chic boutiques with medical miracles — of a very different sort. A neurosurgeon and a radiation oncologist performed on drums, a plastic surgeon displayed her ballroom dance talents and a gastroenterologist cum tequila master offered samples of his liquid fire.

Harry Winston, for example, was transformed into a salon spotlighting the talents of pianist and surgeon Dr. Gretchen Zimmerman (decked out in dazzling Harry Winston diamonds for her concert)  while across the way at Brunello Cucinelli a jazz combo including neurosurgeon Dr. Mark Dannenbaum on drums and ER physician Dr. Dean Moore on sax performed.

This was the first in what promises to be an annual evening giving physicians and surgeons the opportunity to shine in a light far removed from the medical scene The event and the corresponding non-profit, The Arts of Healing Foundation, was founded by Lori and Dr. Isaac Raijman, a gastroenterologist by day and a painter by night. His work was on view at the colorful Etro boutique.

“Art is a way of expression,” Dr. Raijman said in a statement. “The balance that science and art creates allows me a different perspective and capturing of facts.”

On this inaugural evening, the Raijman’s hosted an al fresco dinner in the Toulouse patio for the 28 participating doctors and their guests. Earlier in the evening, the patio had been filled with event visitors who sipped champagne while listening to the ’80s sounds of the Chocolate Orb, led by ENT specialist Dr. Eric Powitzky, who was sporting an Astros T-shirt.

Throughout River Oaks District physicians performed or displayed their artwork, hors d’oeuvres from Toulouse were passed and drinks served. And did we mention shopping. It was the perfect night for strolling, stocking up on early holiday presents and deliciously self-indulgent personal shopping. A percentage of sales from the participating merchants was headed for the foundation.

Among the most unusual avocations were those of plastic surgeon Dr. Azita Madjidi, the ballroom dancer, and plastic surgeon Dr. Mary Shinn, whose wearable art won rave reviews to the point where she might consider a small side business. We loved the gentle sales pitch offered by tequila master Dr. Fernando Urrutia, who by day is a gastroenterologist. Among the painters displaying their artwork were Dr. Regina Verani, Dr. Charles Phan, Dr. Jessica Parsons, Dr. Frank Mahzari, and thoracic surgeon Dr. Shanda Blackmon who had us swooning over her work displayed at Dolce & Gabbana.

Doctors joining the art party included Dr. Christina Boccalandro, Dr. Marcos Calderon, Dr. John Cangelosi, Dr. Julius  Danziger, Dr. William Fisher, Dr. Joseph Galati, Dr. Kashayar Hematpour, Dr. CT Hu, Dr. Stephen Incavo, Dr. Sanjay Mehta, Dr. Jay Murthy, Dr. Berkely Powell, Dr. Patrick Reardon, Dr. Ron Tintner and Dr. Todd Trask.

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