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Learning how to cope with burn injuries

NEW YORK (Aug. 27-29, 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


Contact: Kathleen Robinson
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College

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