UCSF Women's Health Conference on March 22 offers information for women of all ages

By Eve Harris

The 10th annual UCSF Women’s Health 2020 Conference will mark a decade of empowerment through education.  This daylong event on Saturday, March 22, will offer workshops on 30 health care topics for women of all ages.

The event will be held from 8:30 am to 4:15 pm on the UCSF main campus at 513 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco.  Co-sponsors are the UCSF Obstetrics and Gynecology Foundation and the UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health (UCSF Center of Excellence).

To serve women of every age, during each of five workshop sessions at least one general-interest topic, such as stress reduction, and one more age-specific topic, such as osteoporosis, will be offered. 

Self-care sessions, which provide one-on-one attention and health screening, have doubled this year and will include smoking cessation, sports medicine and herbal consultation along with the popular mini massage. The program will feature UCSF faculty members presenting cutting-edge information on a range of health subjects including menopause and hormones, fitness, reproductive health and cancer.

Nancy Milliken, MD, director of the UCSF Center of Excellence, said the program for the 10th anniversary celebrates a decade of success expanding the vision of women’s health and wellness.  “This conference reflects our philosophy of partnering with women to make every year of a woman’s life physically, mentally and emotionally fulfilling.” 

Milliken—who has been the program chair, a speaker, or both at each conference—is an associate professor and vice chair for clinical programs in the UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences.

The morning keynote speaker will be women’s health and consumer advocate State Senator Jackie Speier.  A performance by comic Rene Hicks will bring the day to a close. Hicks, a cancer survivor, was the first African American ever nominated for an American Comedy Award for “Best Female Stand-Up.”

UCSF Women’s Health 2020 began in 1993 with then-chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology Robert Jaffe, MD, and a committed group of volunteers.”  Our goal was to give women information so they could make choices for their own care,” according to Nancy Unobskey, LCSW.  Unobskey is a member of the board of the Ob/Gyn Foundation co-sponsoring the event.  She has attended each conference and helped plan this year’s anniversary event.

Unobskey said the popular self-care sessions, along with the quality and breadth of information offered, set this event apart from other health conferences she has attended. “Every year there has been a great deal of information relevant to my life,” said the 64-year old Unobskey, who noted changes and continuities over the conference’s 10 years.

She said that although the conference has become bigger, one topic has remained controversial: hormone replacement therapy, or HRT.  Researchers from the UCSF Mount Zion Women’s Health Clinical Research Center have in the past five years published many of their findings related to the safety of HRT.  The Center’s director, Deborah Grady, MD, MPH, will discuss hormone therapy and menopause this year.

Unobskey also noted that there are “more women presenters now than there were when we started the conference.” Experts from the fields of cardiology, dermatology, psychiatry, oncology and internal medicine will speak along with colleagues from other areas of medicine and ob/gyn.

Said Milliken, “At the UCSF Center of Excellence, one of our goals is paving the way for women to hold key leadership positions in women’s health. We employ a multi-disciplinary, multi-departmental approach to improving women’s health and support women in learning and understanding how to make better lifestyle and treatment choices.”

For more information about UCSF Women’s Health 2020, visit www.ucsf.edu/coe and click “what’s happening.”  Registration is $50, with discounts for seniors and students, and includes lunch.  Advance registration is advised and available by phone at 510-843-8048.