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2023 National Conference Speakers

Claudia Algaze, MD is a Clinical Associate Professor, Pediatrics - Cardiology


Beth A. Drolet, MD**, Chair The Department of Dermatology – School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin. Dr. Drolet completed her undergraduate education at Michigan State University, her MD at Loyola University and residency and a fellowship training in Clinical Research & Pediatric Dermatology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. She was promoted to professor, Vice Chair, and Chief of Pediatric Dermatology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Drolet was the Medical Director of Birthmarks and Vascular Anomalies, VP of Ambulatory services and Chief Experience Officer at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. 


Dr. Christine Fox, MD MAS* is a pediatric neurologist who specializes in childhood stroke.

Fox's research focuses on risk factors for childhood stroke and how seizures affect outcomes for pediatric stroke patients. She also has a special interest in neurological intensive care.

Fox earned her medical degree at UCSF. She completed a residency in pediatrics at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland, followed by a residency in pediatric neurology and a fellowship in vascular neurology at UCSF. She also has a master of advanced study degree in clinical research from UCSF. Dr. Fox has received numerous prestigious awards, including the Neurological Sciences Academic Development Award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (part of the National Institutes of Health). She is a member of the American Academy of Neurology, Child Neurology Society and American Heart Association.


Heather Fullerton, MD, MAS* is a pediatric vascular neurologist with an active clinical research program in childhood stroke. She is Chief of the UCSF Division of Child Neurology and Medical Director of the Pediatric Brain Center at Benioff Children’s Hospital. She is the former director of the UCSF Pediatric Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease Center, which she established in 2006. After graduating from Baylor College of Medicine in 1996, Dr. Fullerton came to UCSF for her pediatrics residency and child neurology fellowship, and then joined the Child Neurology faculty in July 2002. She completed a vascular neurology fellowship in 2003, and a two-year Masters in Clinical Research in 2005. Since then, she has led a robust research program in childhood stroke with continuous grant funding from the NIH, American Heart Association, and Thrasher Research Foundation. Since 2009, she has been the principal investigator of the NIH-funded prospective international study, “The Vascular effects of Infection in Pediatric Stroke” (VIPS). The original VIPS study, completed in 2016, enrolled more than 700 children at 37 hospitals worldwide and established that common childhood infections, particularly herpesviruses, can trigger arterial ischemic stroke. The continuation of this study, VIPS II, will examine specific pathogens and the host immune response in children with stroke. Her long-term goal is to develop clinical trials for primary and secondary stroke prevention in children.


Casey Gifford, PhD is Assistant Professor Depts. of Pediatrics and, by courtesy, of Genetics Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine BASE Initiative, Betty Irene Moore Children's Heart Center Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. Dr. Casey Gifford's lab is focused on defining the complex genetic and molecular mechanisms associated with congenital heart disease using both rodent and stem cell experimental models.


Clara Men, MD is a Clinical Instructor, Ophthalmology, Stanford Medicine


Denise Metry, MD has a special interest in the diagnosis and treatment of children with vascular birthmarks, particularly infantile hemangiomas, port-wine birthmarks, and other rare vascular birthmarks of the skin. She is dedicated to providing compassionate care for her patients and their families. She is a founding and active member of the Hemangioma Investigator Group, an international physician working group established in 2000 to promote hemangioma research and education. She is the physician leader for the Sturge-Weber syndrome Clinical Care Network at Texas Children's Hospital, and the dermatology leader for the Vascular Birthmarks Clinic at Texas Children’s. She has authored well over 100 manuscripts and book chapters dedicated to furthering our understanding of vascular birthmarks, and she mentors, teaches and lectures locally, nationally and internationally.

Dr. Metry has long standing expertise in the treatment of vascular birthmarks with over 20 years of experience. She offers a variety of medical treatments for infantile hemangiomas, including topical timolol and oral propranolol. She also has extensive laser experience and offers pulsed-dye laser for port-wine birthmarks, as well as alternative lasers for other types of vascular birthmarks. Lastly, she is involved in pharmaceutical research looking at novel, topical targeted gene therapies for vascular birthmarks. Dr. Metry  hosted the first PHACE syndrome research and family meeting at Texas Children's in 2008, from which diagnostic criteria for the syndrome were established. She is dedicated to vascular birthmark patient advocacy efforts in Houston, and recently has extended her passion to international mission work, having traveled to underserved parts of Asia and Africa to provide vascular birthmark education.


Alyssa Ponce, MS, CCLS is a Certified Child Life Specialist at Stanford Children's Health, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital


Dawn Siegel, MD* is a Professor in Dermatology at Stanford University. She is affiliated with Lucile Packard Children's Hospital (LPCH) at Stanford and Stanford Hospital and Clinics (SHC). She received her medical degree from University of Wisconsin -Madison and completed her dermatology residency and pediatric dermatology fellowship at University of California San Francisco. She has been in practice for over 14 years. She specializes in hemangiomas, birthmarks, vascular anomalies, and neurocutaneous syndromes. Her research interests are in hemangiomas and the related multiple congenital anomaly syndrome, PHACE (Posterior Fossa anomalies, Hemangiomas, Arterial anomalies, Cardiac defects, and Eye anomalies), RASopathies and health disparities.

Diane Stafford, MD specializes in Pediatric Endocrinology with special interest in disorders of puberty and Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). Her research interests include in medical education curriculum development, faculty development and endocrine dysfunction in PWS.

*Represents PHACE Syndrome Community Medical Advisory Board 

** Represents PHACE Syndrome Community Medical Advisory Board Chairperson

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