More than 300 local women attended the ninth annual Johns Hopkins Medicine’s “A Woman’s Journey” health conference and luncheon at the Palm Beach County Convention Center on Thursday, February 4th.

The award-winning conference, one of the largest in the area focusing on women’s health issues, presented eight seminars on the latest advances in preventing, detecting and treating diseases in women, such as heart disease and cancer.

Jonna Brown, Laurie Kopp, Nancy Maio
Jonna Brown, Laurie Kopp, Nancy Maio
The conference opened with a heart-healthy breakfast and a presentation by oncologist Dr. Julie Brahmer, who revealed breakthroughs in cancer treatments, including immunotherapy, a promising new strategy to recruit the body’s own defense mechanisms, and the role of DNA testing to enable personalized medicine for cancer. She shared the promising results seen by three of her women patients battling lung cancer through such specialized treatments.
After breakfast, guests attended two, hour-long seminars of their choosing, presented by Johns Hopkins physicians who are leaders in their specialties. The seminars were followed by a luncheon of frisée salad with orzo and watermelon, along with a chocolate mousse and fruit.
During lunch, cardiologist Dr. Gordon Tomaselli shared why heart disease remains the No. 1 cause of death among women, and what women can do to decrease their risk. Tomaselli, a former president of the American Heart Association, also shared new treatments in the field of cardiology, including the role stem cells may play in understanding and treating heart disease. He stressed to the audience that prevention through dietary changes, exercise and quitting smoking are preferred over needing to treat a “broken heart” that is already diseased. Other Johns Hopkins faculty joined guests at their tables to continue the discussion on a variety of topical health matters.
“This annual event continues to raise awareness in our local community that, as women, it is vital we take control of our health and remain well educated about diagnostic and treatment options,” said Betsy Meany, co-chairman of the event. “A Woman’s Journey is a rare opportunity to learn from Johns Hopkins physicians and faculty who are exploring the root causes of and innovative treatments for diseases. It helps women make informed health care decisions for themselves and those they love.”
Mary Freitas, Erin McGould and Debra Vasilopoulos joined Meany as co-chairs of the event. Susan Keenan and Susan Telesco were the 2016 honorary chairs.
Cecil Cooper, Beverly Broberg
Cecil Cooper, Beverly Broberg

“A Woman’s Journey” host committee members included Natalie Alverez, Kathleen Barr, Wilma Bernstein, Kathleen Bleznak, Sandy Bobb, Sue Brands, Rosemary Bronstien, Jonna Brown, Cindy Cerone, Arlene Cherner, Cecil Cooper, Glanna Copeland, Rachel Docekal, Judi Donoff, Susie Elson, Kiki Esrick, Esther Feldberg, Anita Gabler, Lori Gendelman, Sandra Heine, Shelly Pechter Himmelrich, Trisha Keitel, Kathleen Kiernan, Sasha Klein, Esq., Paulette Koch, Jessica Koch, Dorothy Kohl, Laurie Kopp, Melisa Krupnick-Ferro, Lady Sylvia Leigh, Ellen Levy, Karen Lombardo, Nancy Maio, Carla Harrod Mann, Patricia McGrew, Judy Messing, Marilyn Meyerhoff, Michelle Millard, Margaret Moore, Marsha Moskowitz, Patricia Myura, Allison Nicklaus, The Rev. Dr. Barbara Nielsen, Polly Norris, Nancy Offit, Mary Ourisman, Nancy Parker, Beth Pine, Laurie Rappaport, Cari Rentas, Sharada Shankar-Alducin, Didi Shields, Janice Snyder, Eddy Taylor, Mary Weiss, Jan Willinger, Cathy Wilson, Judy Wyman and Ramona Zapper.

Sponsors for the 2016 “A Woman’s Journey” included Sabadell Bank & Trust, Susan Telesco, Braman Motorcars and the Palm Beach Daily News.
During the conference, Johns Hopkins physicians presented the following sessions:
The Role of Inflammation in Diseases – Most people have experienced inflammation from a cut or bee sting. But how does inflammation affect your cells? Learn about inflammation – what it is, its role in heart disease, cancer, arthritis and a host of other diseases, and strategies to reduce inflammation throughout our bodies with rheumatologist Lisa Christopher-Stine.
10 Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer – Soon cancer will become the leading cause of death in the U.S. Understand potential causes of breast, ovarian and other cancers, and why some women may be at greater risk for the disease than others, as oncologist Deborah Armstrong shares how to reduce our risk of cancer.
The Golden Years – Is the best really yet to come? Geriatric psychiatrist Susan Lehmann considers how aging affects our emotional health and self-identification, and the impact of life events on our emotions. These changes associated with aging can have a profound effect on our physical and cognitive well-being. In sensitive remarks, she also explores what we can do to find meaning, enhance resilience and diminish stress as we age.
Skin Deep – Doctors have an unexpected aid in their toolbox. Your skin can reveal a great deal about your general health. Dermatologist Manisha Patel examines the body’s largest organ and reveals how your skin can lead to diagnosis of common medical conditions, from vitamin deficiencies to jaundice.
Don’t Sweat It – Excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, can be a warning sign of underlying thyroid, diabetes, infection, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, heart failure and some cancers. Surgical oncologist Malcolm Brock explains the two types of hyperhidrosis and various therapies, including Botox, medication and surgery that can be used to combat this sometimes embarrassing condition.
Just What The Doctor Ordered – Recommendations have changed for a panoply of screening tests, from colonoscopies to mammograms. Which tests are appropriate, and how frequently should you get them? Internist Redonda Miller distinguishes between the various available diagnostic screenings, and unveils screenings women should make a priority and those no longer necessary as we age.
The Gut Balance Revolution – Trillions of bacteria live in our digestive tract. According to recent research, this microbiome can influence our metabolism, appetite, energy, hormones, inflammation and insulin resistance. Gastroenterologist Gerald Mullin explains how to reseed your gut with healthy flora and discusses bacteria’s role in helping to control metabolism, burn calories and restore health.
Love and Forgiveness – The act of forgiveness can be very powerful. Psychiatrist Karen Swartz pursues factors that enable some people to easily forgive family members, friends and colleagues, while others may struggle to let go. The emotional stress from conflict can also lead to negative health consequences, including anxiety and depression.
“A Woman’s Journey” is the creation of two women from Baltimore MD, Harriet Legum and Mollye Block, who together realized the need to provide women with a forum to gain knowledge about their health concerns. The Baltimore version of the conference, held each November, was launched in 1995.
For additional information on the program, please visit or call 410-955-8660.

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