Women from the community gathered for the ‘Healthy Women, Healthy Community’ women’s luncheon, hosted by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce at the Hilton Garden Inn in Woodbridge.
Michele Eckhardt, a Physician & Community Relations representative for Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, spoke about the work Sentara is doing in healthcare industry.
“Sentara remains committed to improving health every day. We are business leaders, students, wives, mothers, grandmothers, friends with many responsibilities and obligations. Paramount to our ability to live up to these responsibilities and obligations is the foundation of good health,” said Eckhardt.
During the event, a panel of female medical professionals spoke on women’s health topics.
Dr. JoAnne Gutliph, a gynecologist for Novant Health and Prince William OB/GYN, spoke about pap smear guidelines and HPV testing.
“We don’t do a pap smear on women till they’re 21 – no matter what…and the thing I think that’s the most amazing in medicine now is that we’re able to vaccinate young women – girls between the ages of 13 and 26 – to prevent the HPV virus from causing abnormal pap smears,” said Gutliph.
Dr. Aysha Arshad, a cardiologist for Sentara, spoke about the ‘Go Red for Women’ campaign, which has helped to diagnose and prevent heart disease deaths in women over the past few decades.
According to Arshad, heart disease is the top killer for women aged 20 and older.
“What women often don’t know is the fact that as we get older, heart disease rises. The time after menopause is a time where heart disease rises two to three-fold,” said Arshad.
Dr. Karyn O’Brien, a psychologist for Novant Health, spoke about a health concern that often falls to the wayside for women – emotional and mental health.
“How often is it recommended that we should have our emotional and mental health checked…there isn’t a guideline,” said O’Brien.
O’Brien spoke about the many challenges women face, and how regular check ups on mental and emotional health are essential.
To close out the luncheon, Dr. Tammy Lamb, a radiology specialist for Sentara, provided an update on breast cancer screening and mammograms.
“Unlike OB/GYN, and pap smear related [tests], or whether it’s for cardiovascular, the actual guidelines and the science has not changed [on breast cancer]. The imaging community, we still say the same thing…it’s the number one most diagnosed cancer in the United States…do you need to get a mammogram? Yes you do,” said Lamb.
The luncheon was part of the Chamber’s Women’s Leadership series.
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