Members of the committee for the 10th annual A Woman’s Journey, the renowned annual health conference presented by Johns Hopkins Medicine, hosted a kick-off reception on November 1 to finalize preparations for the 2018 event. To be held again at the Palm Beach County Convention Center on Thursday, January 25th the conference, which is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., encourages women to take their health into their own hands by researching and speaking to experts in their fields.


Johns Hopkins sleep specialist and neurologist Dr. Charlene Gamaldo spoke to the group at the home of committee member Mary Freitas and shared how sleep problems present differently in women than in men.


Leslie Waldman and Janice Snyder (CAPEHART)

“Our passion is to pursue excellence through education,” Dr. Gamaldo said. “This is why we organize A Woman’s Journey every year, to inform and empower women to help them make the best decisions for their health and their family’s health.”


Conference co-chairwoman Erin McGould shared with the group that attending A Woman’s Journey years ago saved her father’s life. She learned about Johns Hopkins through the conference and pushed her father to get himself checked out.


“I wouldn’t have a dad if not for Johns Hopkins and this event,” McGould said. “I’m so grateful to all the Baltimore physicians who treated my father, and am happy to give back and be a part of A Woman’s Journey every year.”


The annual conference is one of the largest in the area, dedicated to sharing insights about advances in medicine and answering questions about health. Conference attendees will enjoy a heart-healthy breakfast, two seminars of their choosing and lunch with members of the Hopkins faculty. Hopkins doctors and specialists will present eight, hour-long seminars covering new medical treatments and important health issues facing women. From aging, family relationships, genes & diseases, and the Opioid Epidemic, the morning session has a wide variety of topics from which to choose. The afternoon session will cover warning signs you shouldn’t ignore, cardiac issues, precision in medicine, and the mind-gut connection.


This year, the keynote speakers will be comprised of a panel of experts from Johns Hopkins, discussing regeneration with a focus on skin development. Dr. Patrick Byrne is the director of Johns Hopkins Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Dr. Jennifer Elisseeff is a professor of ophthalmology and orthopedic surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Luis Andres Garza is an associate professor of dermatology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Lisa Ishii, Professor of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, is Senior Medical Director for Clinical Integration in the Office of Johns Hopkins Physicians and Chief Quality Officer for Clinical Best Practices. Dr. Justin Sacks is an associate professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Director of Oncological Reconstruction in the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.


The keynote speaker for breakfast is Cindy Lersten, who works for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The mother and avid hiker will discuss her battle with melanoma and how she benefitted from clinical trials at Johns Hopkins.


Erin McGould and Debra Vasilopoulos are the event’s chairs for 2018. Lee Callahan, Betsy Meany, Susan Telesco, Norma Tiefel and Susan Keenan Wright are founding chairs.


A Woman’s Journey host committee members in attendance at the kick-off reception included Natalie Alvarez, Anita Gabler, Joan Klann, Dorothy Kohl, Erin McGould, Lyn Michels, Amy Morse, Susan Ricci, Sharada Shankar, Janice Snyder and Kathy Wilson.


Other committee members for the event include Marianne Castle, Arlene Cherner, Cecil Cooper, Rachel Docekal, Mary Freitas, Linda Goings, Grace Halabi, Shelly Himmelrich, Pat Johnson, Sasha Klein, Esq., Ellen Levy, Patricia McGrew, Betsy Meany, Shelley Menin, Sue Miller, Becky Moore, Allison Nicklaus, Nancy Offit, Nancy Parker, Susan Telesco, Debra Vasilopoulos, Cathy Wilson, Susan Keenan Wright and Judy Wyman.


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.


Sponsors for this year’s A Woman’s Journey include Iberia Bank and Susan Telesco.  Media sponsors include Palm Beach Daily News and Palm Beach Illustrated.


For additional information on the program, a schedule of the sessions, a list of speakers and registration information for the 2018 event, please visit or call 410-955-8660.


Johns Hopkins physicians will present sessions on the following topics:


What Your Genes Say About You It has been 15 years since the National Institutes of Health announced the completion of the Human Genome Project.  Geneticist David Valle provides a quick refresher discussion about genes, chromosomes and DNA; what our genes can reveal about our risk of disease; and the future role of genetic sequencing in personalizing treatment.


A Family Affair Shifting relationships among parents, siblings and blended families can be challenging in the closest families.  Psychiatrist Karen Swartz illuminates how families may embrace or resent new expectations as our roles and responsibilities change over time, and she provides insightful advice.


Hot Topics on Aging   Gerontologist Colleen Christmas infuses humor into her review of the year’s top research about strategies to age well, improve the quality of your life and achieve longevity as she considers the potential harm of medications as we age, insomnia and dementia, as well as the best medicine of all – exercise.


Opioid Epidemic Opioid misuse has been on the rise among a broad spectrum of people.  Dependency and the increasing availability of opioid analgesics for pain have fueled this epidemic.  Explore the symptoms, associated problems and the natural course of this treatable illness with psychiatrist Eric Strain.

Pursuing Precision in Medicine  Biostatistician Scott Zeger describes the transformative changes occurring in medicine. Learn about new discoveries and how the use of “big data” will impact your health and enable physicians to tailor a treatment to your disease pedigree. 


The Mind-Gut Connection Our gastrointestinal tract is governed by its own brain, known as the enteric nervous system. And, the gut contains more neurons than our spinal cord.  Learn about how the gut has a “mind of its own” that can intervene in your happiness as well as gastrointestinal disorders from psychiatrist Glenn Treisman.


Warning Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore They may seem like vague symptoms, but unexplained weight loss, fatigue, bleeding and GI problems can be among the signs of cancers. Surgical oncologist Nita Ahuja examines these and other indications that diagnostic tests and further examinations may be warranted.


Don’t Skip A Beat There are important gender differences between the cardiac electrophysiology of women and men. For example, women may have a faster heart resting heart rate. Cardiologist Harikrishna Tandri enumerates the types of arrhythmias that occur more frequently in women and how they should be diagnosed and treated to minimize greater risks of stroke.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.