Author: Kiera Reilly, C’93 @KieraReilly
This week, I attended the Penn Nursing sponsored conference Healthy Cities: Healthy Women in Los Angeles. This is the fourth conference in this series of day-long discussions about the health of urban women (conferences on this topic were previously held in Philadelphia, New York and Miami).
Afaf Meleis, PhD, DrPS(hon), FAAN, Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing at Penn, visited Los Angeles in January and energized a group of Penn alumnae, parents and friends to organize a conference that addressed the needs of women in Los Angeles. Meeting monthly, this fantastic group of volunteers, led by conference chair Julie Beren Platt, C’79, PAR’05, PAR’08, PAR’12, amazed me with their enthusiasm, dedication and can-do attitude – and action! Their efforts led to a packed ballroom at the Loews Hollywood Hotel on Wednesday, where local residents heard from experts about problems and solutions facing women in urban environments, and specifically Los Angeles.
Instead of summarizing the day, I’ll instead include this link to a blog post at The Family Savvy written by one of the conference attendees. In short, there are many challenges facing women, and the many speakers at the event represented city and county officials, non-profit leaders and academics. All shared their experiences, expertise and thoughts about how we can help women be healthy and care for their families in urban environments.
All the speakers were interesting, informed, and inspiring. Sue Dunlap, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, encouraged everyone to be “outspoken nurses,” and advocate for women’s health. Dean Afaf Meleis addressed the group from the future – 2022 – and talked about all the advancements made since we met here ten years prior. The last speaker, Dr. Robert K. Ross, C’76, M’80, G’92, President and CEO, The California Endowment, brought the room to a standstill when he read a poem from a survivor of incest. The poem was heartbreaking, but he shared that this young woman was now working to help others in similar situations. He said that women are the cohort that will help solve the sexual abuse and trafficking problem and charged us to help.
Penn Nursing’s Healthy Cities: Healthy Women conference is next going to Washington, DC, and London. If you live in one of those cities, I encourage you to get involved with the conference planning, to attend and encourage your friends, neighbors and fellow citizens to participate.
Thank you to the organizing committee:
Nancy Bergmann, C’89
Lisa Block Cohen, C’85, PAR’15
Gaby Cosgrove, C’91
Carolyn Enenstein, C’95
Jory Goldman Feldman, PAR’15
Terri Cox Glassen, Nu’91
Laurie Burrows Grad, CW’66, PAR’91
Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16
Beth Kean, ENG’89
Jodi Kirkbride, PAR’13
Gloria Lee, C’97, G’98, WG’07
Deborah Marrow, CW’70, GR’78
Ashley Damron Mohan, W’98
Donna Shralow Nadel, C’82, PAR’13, PAR’15
Julie Beren Platt, C’79, PAR’05, PAR’08, PAR’12 – Conference Chair
Pamela Petre Reis, CW’70
Kathryn Tong, WG’07
Lynn Wagmeister, PAR’13
Denise Green Winner, W’83
Melissa Wu, C’98
Thank you to the conference sponsors:
Dean Kehler, W’79, and Elizabeth Kehler