More than 300 local women and a select number of men invested a day of their lives to learn more about keeping themselves and their families healthy by attending the 11th annual Johns Hopkins Medicine’s A Woman’s Journey health conference and luncheon, held on January 25th at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.


Debra Vasilopoulos and Erin McGould (CAPEHART)

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


The conference opened with a heart-healthy breakfast and presentation by Cindy Lersten, who works for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The mother and avid hiker discussed her battle with melanoma and how she benefitted from clinical trials at Johns Hopkins.


After breakfast, guests attended two, hour-long seminars of their choosing, presented by Johns Hopkins physicians who even answered questions at the end of their presentations. Some sessions were standing-room only. The session topics included What your Genes Say About You, Hot Topics on Aging, Pursuing Precision in Medicine, the Mind-Gut Connection, Warning Signs for Cancer You Shouldn’t Ignore and Don’t Skip a Beat, discussing the type of arrhythmias most common in women.


This year, the keynote address was comprised of a panel of experts from Johns Hopkins, discussing regeneration with a focus on skin development. Participating in the discussion were: Dr. Patrick Byrne, director of Johns Hopkins Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery; Dr. Jennifer Elisseeff, professor of ophthalmology and orthopedic surgery; Dr. Luis Andres Garza, associate professor of dermatology; Moderator Dr. Lisa Ishii, professor of otolaryngology-head & neck surgery, and Dr. Justin Sacks, an associate professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery, all from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.


“Each year, I’m blown away at how much I learn about our health and our family’s,” said Debra Vasilopoulos, co-chairperson of the event. “Attending A Woman’s Journey is a gift I give myself every year.  It’s an invaluable tool that gives us unlimited information from Johns Hopkins physicians with access to their wealth of knowledge on a variety of topics. I’m always glad to apply what I learn at this conference to my life and the lives of my loved ones. I have been attending A Woman’s Journey since the beginning, and will definitely be back as many years as I can.”


Erin McGould joined Vasilopoulos as a co-chair of the event. Lee Callahan, Betsy Meany, Susan Telesco, Norma Tiefel and Susan Keenan Wright are founding chairs.


A Woman’s Journey host committee members included Natalie Alvarez, Marianne Castle, Arlene Cherner, Cecil Cooper, Rachel Docekal, Mary Freitas, Anita Gabler, Linda Goings, Grace Halabi, Shelly Himmelrich, Pat Johnson, Joan Klann, Sasha Klein, Esq., Dorothy Kohl, Ellen Levy, Erin McGould, Patricia McGrew, Betsy Meany, Shelley Menin, Lyn Michels, Sue Miller, Becky Moore, Amy Morse, Allison Nicklaus, Nancy Offit, Nancy Parker, Susan Ricci, Sharada Shankar, Janice Snyder, Susan Telesco, Debra Vasilopoulos, Kathy Wilson, Susan Keenan Wright and Judy Wyman.


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


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, 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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