Recapping a Wonderful Tribute to Dr. Vera Price, CARF’s Founder and Visionary
It was a night to remember. On Tuesday, April 16, family, friends, colleagues and patients gathered at the Argonaut Hotel in San Francisco to honor CARF and NAAF’s founder and visionary, Dr. Vera Price. The event was quite remarkable, but then again, no one expected less as Dr. Price is truly quite remarkable herself. Not only is Dr. Price a legend in the field of hair loss, treatments, and research, she is also a loving mother, grandmother, mentor and friend to so many. This was clearly evidenced by the outpouring of love, respect and gratitude from all those in attendance.
The evening began with a casual reception outside in the hotel’s courtyard. The sun was shining and there was a comfortable breeze flowing through the archway. Being a weeknight, guests began arriving from work or outlying areas to Fisherman’s Wharf. Hugs, smiles, and introductions were plentiful as everyone enjoyed a few hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. Just as it began to get cooler and the sun was setting, guests came inside to enjoy a wonderful meal together while watching a slideshow of Dr. Price throughout her life and career. The room was full with guests from CARF, NAAF, UCSF, colleagues, former patients, lifelong friends and, of course, her proud family. Dr. Price was surrounded by her son, daughter, son-in-law, three of her five grandchildren, cousin, and companion as the evening tributes began.
Rita Wanser, CARF’s President, welcomed everyone and introduced the first speaker, Dr. Mary Williams. Dr. Williams spoke about her and Vera’s personal friendship over their careers, and lovingly shared how impressed she was at one of Vera’s famous dinner parties years ago, when Vera’s barely-teenage children served as the most well-behaved and gracious hosts. This was quite a feat and something to take notice. Dr. Williams was followed by Vicki Kalabokes, the former executive director of NAAF, who worked side-by-side with Vera to start the organization 27 years ago. Vicki joked about how she would receive phone calls from Vera in the wee hours of the morning, when she should be sleeping, about new ideas and things to do for NAAF. This was just an example of how passionate and driven Vera was to build NAAF and help hair loss patients. Dr. Ilona Frieden, Vera’s colleague from the early days at Kaiser Permanente, spoke next. Dr. Frieden recalled how, at the time of her residency, there were so few women dermatologists in the field and let alone ones who were also raising a family. She saw Vera doing this which made a significant impact on her. Dr. Bruce Wintroub, chair of UCSF’s Dermatology Department, came to the podium next. Dr. Wintroub recalled how he met Vera while she was working at Kaiser, and how he knew right away that she was a superstar. He recruited her to join UCSF’s Dermatology Department and never looked back. She has been the foundation of this illustrious department and a pivotal factor in growing it to what it is today.
The next three speakers all credited Vera for so much in their lives, but most importantly, for shaping and guiding their careers in dermatology. First, Dr. Paradi Mirmirani shared how serendipitous it was to meet Vera when they were both on a rotation together caring for a very ill patient. Vera had a knack for making personal connections with patients and Dr. Mirmirani saw this firsthand during this rotation. It obviously stuck and they’ve been an extraordinary duo in hair disorders ever since. Dr. Ingrid Roseborough shared how she was new to dermatology when she accepted a fellowship at UCSF, but it turned into the greatest experience in her career.