Leslie G. Waldman, director for competitive strategy
at Johns Hopkins Medicine, said that Hopkins knew it was
onto something when the first
Woman's Journey drew nearly double the expected
turnout. In the following years, Waldman said, attendance
numbers not only grew, but familiar faces would appear in
the crowd as, for many, the event became a not-to-be-missed
On Nov. 20, Johns Hopkins will host its 10th annual A
Woman's Journey, an all-day women's health conference to be
held at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel, located at
700 Aliceanna St.
The event is an opportunity for women of all ages to
come together in one place and gather health information
from dozens of Johns Hopkins faculty members, many of whom
are on the cutting edge of medical discoveries. It annually
draws more than 1,000 women from as many as 18 states.
Waldman, coordinator of the conference, said that it
has sold out every year, and she expects that it will again
this month. Ninety-eight percent of past participants have
rated the program either "excellent" or "above average,"
Waldman said, and the event has sprouted an extremely loyal
"Women purchase about 75 percent of the health care in
the United States, buying it for themselves and their
families," she said. "They are very interested in health
information and having access to the latest medical
findings, and that is why they come back each year."
The two women responsible for bringing about the
conference are Mollye Block and Harriet Legum, the event's
co-chairs. The two became friends when Block moved to
Baltimore, learning soon after of their common interest in
health. It was Legum's cancer experience in particular that
got the pair thinking about health education.
Before she was diagnosed, Legum already suspected
through self-examinations that she had breast cancer. She
went from physician to physician with her concern, each of
them denying the existence of any cancerous growth. Then
one morning Legum felt a change--the lump had grown
larger--and she decided to go to Johns Hopkins. This time,
she was diagnosed with cancer and was finally able to begin
her battle against the disease.
Legum was to return to Hopkins seven years later, not
just to say thanks for helping her beat the cancer but,
accompanied by Block, to meet with Waldman and offer a
Waldman said that the two women wanted to find a way
to provide women with health education so that they would
be in a better position to make educated health care
decisions for themselves and their families. The conference
was born from that one meeting.
Among those instrumental in the organization of the
conference has been Christine White, assistant dean for
medicine in the School of Medicine, who works with Block,
Legum and Waldman to plan the programs, and with the nearly
100 volunteers who staff the event and work behind the
White said that even with a wealth of up-to-date
health information available in books and on the Internet,
A Woman's Journey fills a vital need in that it provides
direct access to the physicians who are doing the research
and allows people to hear and ask questions about the
present and future advances in medicine.
"It's also a chance to interact with others, some of
whom suffer from the same health problems or are caring for
family with similar health problems," White said.
The upcoming conference will run from 8:15 a.m. to
4:15 p.m. The fee for the event is $70 per person,
including a continental breakfast, lunch and handouts; a
reduced fee of $45 is offered to any full-time
matriculating student with school identification. All Johns
Hopkins affiliates will receive a 20 percent discount on
Its speakers are faculty members and other specialists
who over the years have represented the schools of
Medicine, Public Health, Nursing and Arts and Sciences;
Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center; and two outpatient
centers, Johns Hopkins at Green Spring Station and at White
Marsh. This year, 41 faculty members will give
The participants will choose four sessions from among
32 health topics, including "Back from the Brink," a
discussion on the diagnosis, treatment and preventive
strategies related to strokes; "Gynecological Cancers," a
talk about the myths and facts of female-specific cancers;
"What's Safe to Eat," a discussion on food-related
diseases; and "The Not-So-Extreme Makeover for Younger
Women," in which doctors from the Hopkins Cosmetic Center
will provide before-and-after illustrations of cosmetic
surgery treatments ranging from body sculpting to breast
CDs of each seminar will be available on-site
following the event.
Each seminar consists of a 45-minute formal
presentation and a 15-minute question-and-answer period.
The topics are chosen based on an online survey, program
evaluations and the latest in Hopkins research.
"Everyone who attends gets something different out of
it," Waldman said. "They are able to attend sessions on
health issues that pertain to them or their family. It's a
day to spend time with 1,000 people and talk about common
issues. One thing that hasn't changed is our effort to
extend health education to women of all ages."
The conference will begin with a plenary session
titled "One Woman's Journey: Exuberance!" presented
by psychologist and noted author Kay Jamison, professor of
psychiatry and behavioral sciences in the
School of Medicine.
Participants will also have a "Lunch with the Faculty"
featuring a special presentation by Azar Nafisi,
professorial lecturer and visiting fellow at the
School of Advanced
International Studies and director of the Dialogue
Project. Nafisi, author of the highly acclaimed Reading
Lolita in Tehran, will share her story about the need
to advance human rights for women around the globe.
To register or for more details, call 410-955-8660,
firstname.lastname@example.org or go to