US team

US team

Stefania Magidson – President

Stefania Magidson was born in Romania and in 1983 immigrated with her family to the United States. After receiving degrees in Health Education and Applied Psychology, she founded Blue Heron Foundation (2002), one of the largest non-profit organizations in the Romanian diaspora. The organization is dedicated to improving the quality of life of Romanian and Moldovan orphaned youth by providing them merit based college scholarships and a mentorship program.

At the onset of the Ukrainian war, Stefania quickly pivoted and expanded Blue Heron’s efforts, raising over $600,000 and developing 12 refugee relief programs. These initiatives vary in complexity, from transportation at the border and organizing caravans of medicine to Ukrainian hospitals, to their most complex effort to date: Blue Heron’s Cancer Care Program.

In December 2018, Stefania presented Blue Heron at INK Talks in Hyderabad, India’s foremost platform for the exchange of inspiring stories and cutting-edge ideas.
In April 2022 she received the South East European Film Festival Legacy Humanitarian Award during the opening night of the 17th Annual Film Festival.

Stefania lives in Los Angeles with her husband Mark and their two sons.

Alex Bâcu – VP Fundraising & Community, East Coast

Born and raised in Bucharest, Romania, Alex came to the United States on a scholarship to study at Amherst College in Massachusetts. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Economics and Fine Arts in 2003. After a brief stint in Investment Banking at Lehman Brothers, he moved to his current position as a Senior Research Equity Analyst and Associate Portfolio Manager at Neuberger Berman in New York City with a primary focus on the Technology, Media and Telecom sector. Alex is also involved as an advisor to and/or investor in several early stage start-ups in the Internet and Beauty Products sectors. Alex Bâcu is a CFA(r) charterholder.

Simona Bot M.D. – VP Fundraising & Community Outreach, West Coast

Simona graduated from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Timisoara, Romania, with an M.D. degree in 1993.
She worked on the treatment of autoimmune diseases, on DNA vaccines against the influenza virus and RNA based immune modulating agents and has held positions at Mount Sinai Medical Center, Alliance Pharmaceutical Company, Multicell Therapeutics and other biotech companies.
Simona has published over a dozen scholarly articles and presented her work at international conferences.
She has always been passionate about helping others, and when she met Stefania in 2011, it was only natural for her to begin working as a mentor for Blue Heron Foundation. Since then, she has taken on an increasingly intensive role in advocating, recruiting, and fundraising for the foundation.

 Irena Tocino M.D. – Medical Program Director

Yale professor, Dr. Irena Tocino is taking a sabbatical to coordinate Blue Heron’s Medical Program in Romania (Suceava & Iasi) starting April 7th . Her years of administration experience as Vice chair, leading teams, creating solutions and responding to challenges within the health care system will be invaluable on the field;

“It is difficult, as a doctor, to watch so much human suffering and not to be able to help. I really wanted to make myself useful and thought of the incredible work Blue Heron has done for years. I contacted Stefania Magidson and learned that BH has been able to quickly redirect funding efforts, infrastructure and volunteers to meet the urgent needs of refugees and hospitals. I immediately offered my experience and resources to help BH on the ground with coordination, assessing needs, both acute and long term for the millions affected by this devastating and senseless war.”

Irena Tocino MD, FACR
Department of Radiology, Yale School of Medicine

 Horia Vulpe M.D – Director, Cancer Care Program

Dr. Vulpe spent his early childhood in Romania before moving to Canada, where he completed studies in medicine and residency training in radiation oncology. Dr. Vulpe practiced at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, at Columbia University in New York, and at the Queen’s Cancer Center in Honolulu, where he was also director of quality and patient safety.

With the onset of the war, Dr. Vulpe relocated to Europe to better help displaced Ukrainians in Moldova, Romania, Ukraine, get the quality cancer care they deserve. He manages an international team of coordinators, translators, and partner clinics that operate for the benefit of Ukrainian cancer patients. Dr. Vulpe is also an advisor to the director of the Institute of Oncology in Chisinau, Moldova, collaborating on research, education, and quality improvement.

For his work in global oncology, Dr. Vulpe was awarded the ASCO Global Oncology Young Investigator Award, the McGill Medicine Young Alumnus Award, and the Robert Sheppard Award for Health Equity and Social Justice. Dr. Vulpe enjoys teaching residents and medical students and received the ‘2019 Educator of the Year’ award from the American Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology. He remains affiliated with the Queen’s Cancer Center as a part time radiation oncologist and patient safety officer.


Anne Cherian – Writer/ Content Manager

Anne Cherian was born in India to an American mother and Indian father and came to UC Berkeley where she received Master’s Degrees in Comparative Literature and in Journalism. She is the author of A Good Indian Wife (she says the title tells you it’s definitely fiction!) and The Invitation. She is currently writing a coming of age story told from the perspective of a servant woman’s daughter.

Anne grew up watching her mother work with Mother Theresa, the Sisters of Mercy, knit socks for soldiers, teach poor people English, etc. Anne met Stefania at their sons’ school event, and when she heard about Blue Heron, offered her services as a writer/editor/content manager.

“I’m thrilled to be part of a team that is helping those who are truly in need. My mother used to take me to a village once a year so I could know, first-hand, how lucky I am. Blue Heron lifts the underprivileged and I’m grateful to be a small part of this selfless organization.

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