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Rocking out for our Wonderkids

Written By: Simone Sonnier, UT Physicians | Updated: July 12, 2021
Cleft & Craniofacial concert event

Phuong Nguyen, MD, Mark Dannenbaum, MD, and Soham Roy, MD, performing in support of Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness Month. (Physicians listed from left to right) (Photo by Kim Kham, UT Physicians)

You may be wondering, what is a Wonderkid? It’s simple. Wonderkids are the pediatric patients of the Texas Cleft-Craniofacial team at UT Physicians. Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness Month is observed each July. These children are treated to an event in their honor every year. This year the annual get-together came in the form of a rock concert held on Friday, July 2.

With a talent for singing and guitar, Phuong Nguyen, MD, chief of pediatric plastic surgery at UT Physicians, assembled a band composed of the talented staff at both UT Physicians and UTHealth.

Working together frequently on cleft and craniofacial cases, Nguyen reached out to Soham Roy, MD, director of pediatric otolaryngology at UT Physicians and professor in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. A classically trained violinist, Roy would bring his expertise on the bass guitar and supporting vocals to the band.

All that was left to add to the team was a talented drummer. Nguyen found this talent at UTHealth Neurosciences with Mark Dannenbaum, MD, a neurosurgeon and assistant professor in the Vivian L. Smith Department of Neurosurgery at McGovern Medical School.

“Here at UT Physicians, we have such a tremendously talented team of individuals that communicate and work well together, especially for such a great cause,” said Nguyen, who’s also an assistant professor of surgery at McGovern Medical School.

Behind the scenes working out the logistics was Irene “Leanne” Doringo, MSN, RN, clinical care coordinator with the Texas Cleft-Craniofacial Team. Doringo worked with several departments across UT Physicians, UTHealth, McGovern Medical School, and Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital to ensure that the concert would be equipped with volunteers and have gift bags for each attendee, and photo shoot opportunities.

The concert kicked off around 6:30 p.m., with patients, families, and co-workers showing up ready to dance the evening away in support of cleft and craniofacial awareness. With at least a year of isolation for most of the children during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the first time in a while that they were able to see their friends from the program.

“I believe it’s been a rough year in particular for the children to not have that human-to-human interaction with their friends who have similar experiences,” said Nguyen. “This get-together is a perfect time for them to reconnect, have fun, and be around other kids who understand what they’re going through.”

Among the many who enjoyed themselves were Leah Schulze and her son, Jacob Yeglin, who has been a patient of the team since he was an infant.

“Since our first meeting with them, they’ve made us feel important,” said Schulze. “I always knew they would take care of Jacob and it’s been exactly that after his surgery and throughout the years.”

To see a highlight of our Wonderkids this month, follow UT Physicians on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Get a glimpse of the concert and learn more about the personalized care provided by the Texas Cleft-Craniofacial Team at UT Physicians.

As the clinical practice of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, UT Physicians has locations across the Greater Houston area to serve the community. To schedule an appointment, call 888-4UT-DOCS.