2010 Women's Health Forum provides connection for women and resources

Posted: Sunday, October 17, 2010

More than 400 women attended Saturday's 2010 Women's Health Forum in Centennial Hall entitled "Cancer: The Mind Body Connection," not only to hear speakers and have lunch, but to also discover valuable information on local health aides.

Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire
Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire

"I think it is great," attendee Katie Chapman said. "I like that there is definitely a connection to other women here and we are able to see the resources available to the community."

According to Cancer Connection President Tish Griffin Satre, it was the 19th annual event.

"We determine the keynote speaker by the notes we ask attendees to fill in while they have lunch," Griffin Satre said. "It is an effective way for us to really get a feel for what women want to know about and we try to find a person that best fits the requests our attendees desire. We provide people with good information to make good health decisions."

Saturday's keynote speaker was Lydia Temoshok, Ph. D., Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry at the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

"I hope to give them some ideas about ways to cope with stress in enforcing their quality of life," Temoshok said. "And their quantity. If we understand stress and cancer we can change our ways to adapt... it is complicated."

Temoshok also spoke on the centrality of emotions being at the crossroads of mind and body. Emotions are anchored in the physiology of the brain, she said. They have multiple functions, which have evolved over time through selection pressure.

"Primary emotions are closely connected with the limbic system," Temoshok said. She cited anger, fear, sadness, joy and shame as examples of primary emotions.

"Cognitive emotions have more cerebral cortical connections."

Curiosity, guilt and pride are some cognitive emotions, she said.

Temoshok said emotional displays regulate social interactions and communicate important information to others, both friends and foe.

Using a variety of cartoon panels of Doonesbury, Egbert, and the Middleton's, Temoshok was able to humorously portray topics such as: Expressing thoughts only and not emotions won't get you what you need; mistrusting people who don't show emotion or show it appropriately; emotional expression must be situationally appropriate; emotional recognition and expression help regulate internal homeostasis; and denial of reality is rarely a good coping mechanism and tends to engender unfortunate health consequences.

Another example was a photo of a bar scene whose inhabitants are stick figures with smiley faces and emoticon heads. Two smiley's are talking and the verbiage is, "A smiley face used to be enough... and then all those %#>#@ emoticons showed up."

Temoshok spoke of how the adaptiveness of negative emotions helps memory to function well and the adaptiveness of positive emotions help us recognize what is good for us. She also talked of how type A and type C personalities cope.

"Type A will say 'Yes I have a truck, no I won't help you move,'" Temoshok said. "Type C will help you move even if too tired, it is always at the expense of themselves."

Attendee Shannon West said the benefits of the event are numerous.

"There are three things I really like about this event," West said. "One is the education available and, two, the support of others. To me though, it's an amazing effort that is gifted to us."

Prior to the luncheon PEO Chapter D (a philanthropic and service organization that uses education projects to benefit women and children) and members Debi Ballam, Rebecca Burns, Molly Crenshaw, Rita Dienst, Bev Kelton, Justine Muensch, Jean Overstreet, Sally Short, Laurel Stone, Jan Van Slyke, and Christy Wallace, were chosen as the Cancer Connection 2010 Volunteers of the Year.

• Contact Klas Stolpe at klas.stolpe@juneauempire.com.

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