More than 300 local women recently attended the 10th annual Johns Hopkins Medicine’s A Woman’s Journey health conference and luncheon and the Palm Beach County Convention Center Thursday, January 26th.

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 such as heart disease and cancer in women. Olympian Dorothy Hamill was the keynote speaker. Psychiatrist Dr. Karen Swartz interviewed Hamill in a question-and-answer sharing session about Dorothy’s journeys through both breast cancer and depression, highlighting how different her experiences were. She mesmerized the crowd with her humility about her struggles and was relatable to all the women attending. The ladies honored her with a standing ovation at the end of her speech. The physicians were seated at the tables during both breakfast and lunch to foster an atmosphere of communication and connectivity.

unspecifiedThe conference opened with a heart-healthy breakfast and presentation by cancer researcher Saraswati Sukumar who revealed advances in diagnosing and treating breast cancer that could alter the course of the disease globally, and addressed her lab’s early success at treating recalcitrant triple negative breast cancer as well as an update on the role of turmeric in fighting diseases.

After breakfast, guests attended two, hour-long seminars of their choosing, presented by Johns Hopkins physicians who are leaders in their specialties who even answered questions at the end of their presentations. Some sessions were standing-room only. The seminars were followed by a healthy luncheon and keynote address.

“This annual event encourages us women to take our health and our family’s health into our own hands by researching and speaking to experts in their fields,” said Debra Vasilopoulos, co-chairperson of the event. “A Woman’s Journey is a fantastic opportunity to learn from Johns Hopkins physicians and get access to a wealth of knowledge to apply to our lives and the lives of our loved ones. I’ve been going to this conference for all ten years, and have become a chair in the past few years. This event is vital to my life, and I will definitely be back next year.”

Mary Freitas, Betsy Meany and Erin McGould join Vasilopoulos as co-chairs of the event. Susan Keenan and Susan Telesco were the honorary chairs.

A Woman’s Journey host committee members included Wilma Bernstein, Kathleen Bleznak, Sandy Bobb, Sue Brands, Rosemary Bronstien, Jonna Brown, Nancy Carter, Kim Celedinas, Arlene Cherner, Sandra Close Turnquest, Gianna Copeland, Eileen Cornacchia, Rachel Docekal, Judi Donoff, Susie Elson, Kiki Esrick, Esther Feldberg, Lori Gendelman, Linda Goings, Mei Sze Greene, Carrie Hanna, Shelly Himmelrich, Vicky Hunt, Ellen Jaffe, Pat Johnson, Kathleen Kiernan, Sasha Klein, Esq., Jessica Koch, Paulette Koch, Dorothy Kohl, Melisa Krupnick-Ferro, Lady Sylvia Leigh, Hillie Mahoney, Patricia McGrew, Judy Messing, Michelle Millard, Margaret Moore, Marsha Moskowitz, Patricia Myura, Allison Nicklaus, The Rev. Dr. Barbara Nielsen, Polly Norris, Nancy Offit, Mary Ourisman, Nancy Parker, Shana Peterson Sheptak, Beth Pine, Laurie Rappaport, Joan Safir, Sharada Shankar-Alducin, Didi Shields, Carolyn Sloane, Mary Stanton, Eddy Taylor, Marie Wackenhut, Patty Walzack, Jan Willinger, Cathy Wilson, Judy Wyman and Ramona Zapper.

Sponsors for this year’s “A Woman’s Journey” included Sabadell Bank & Trust along with Susan Telesco. Media sponsors include M&V Magazine and the Palm Beach Daily News.

During the conference, Johns Hopkins doctors presented several sessions. The topics included top things to know about the brain, top discoveries in medicine, maximizing nutrition even on meatless Mondays, cancer screenings and sleep disorders.

“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. Last year’s event in Palm Beach attracted over 300+ attendees. The Baltimore version of the conference, held each November, was launched in 1995, and West Palm Beach was the first location to host the conference outside Baltimore.

For additional information on the program, please visit or call 410-955-8660.

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