Note to Self: It's Our Time to Take Charge of Our Health and Our Future
That was the message that rang out from events all over the country today on this National Women's Health and Fitness Day.
At the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor MI a "Women's Power Breakfast" was held today to discuss women's global health issues.
I moderated the panel examining the most pressing issues facing women's health in the U.S. and around the world. The panel was made up of some amazing women including two doctors from University of Michigan; Dr. Hope Haefner and Dr. Senait Fisseha, both of their dept of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Also on the panel was Dr. Vivian Pinn the founding Director of the Office of Research on Women's Health at the National Institute of Health. Dr. Pinn spoke to us about the advances we've made in researching women's health and thus the progress we have seen in prevention, screenings, and treatment in many diseases. Dr. Pinn was brought in to NIH by the then Director Bernadine Healey, and together they really changed the way the medical community views women and the way it researches health issues. They told the audience how they were finally able to get Congress to pass a law making it a requirement to include women and minorities in all medical research studies. Prior to that time, women's health and development of drugs was solely based on research done on men.
Female bodies are so different, it made no sense at all, and that move was a game changer in the advancement of women's health. Liz Lange, who is famous for changing maternity clothes for women in America and giving them pizzazz and chic style, shared her personal story of being diagnosed with Cervical Cancer and undergoing a radical hysterectomy and chemotherapy coupled with radiation. Nine years later she is cancer free and as a survivor, sharing her story was powerful.
For each and every member of the audience, the take home message was to "Take charge of your own personal health". The goal of this day of observance is to encourage women everywhere to take control of their health; to learn the facts they need to know to make smart health choices and to make time for regular physical activity and to make their health a top priority.
The theme of the 2011 National Women's Health and Fitness Day is "It's Your Time" -- we just all have to make sure that we make the time for our health! I took charge of my health 20 years ago and it literally changed the course of my life and I'm sure it lowered my risk of many diseases and added years to my life. Today I am passionate about sharing my story and motivating other women to do the same. You are worth it! And those who love and depend on you want you around for a long time!