Girls’ Night Out Provides Fun, Fashion, Frank Health Talk
Free health screenings, early holiday shopping and a nationally renowned expert on women’s health all collaborated for a fun evening Thursday that drew more than 400 people to the Dogwood Center for the Performing Arts in Fremont. Now in its 12th year, Girls’ Night Out is a free celebration of women’s health.
An opportunity for women to ask questions about health, aging, menopause and other topics without limits, the event featured...
...nationally renowned expert on women’s health and healthy aging, Diana Bitner, MD, Midlife and Menopause program director at Spectrum Health.
“Girls’ Night Out is all about women’s health, about sharing information and about empowering women so we can take charge of our health,” said Meleah Mariani, event moderator and chief nursing officer at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, which organized Girls’ Night Out. “This event is also about improving the health of our community.”
Bitner’s keynote speech focused on menopause and healthy aging for women.
“How do you want to age?” she asked the full house at the Dogwood. “Have a plan and get on it.”
She handed out her symptom wheel, which aligns symptoms with likely sources and possible solutions. Bitner shared tips: Women who smoke have more hot flashes; limit wine to nine glasses week; belly fat can increase colon cancer risk; how to get back to sleep after suddenly waking up in the middle of the night.
“When you wake up, say ‘I got this…no catastrophe,’” she said. “And think of three things you’re thankful for.”
After Bitner’s speech, audience members asked questions of a panel made up of Bitner; Alina McDermed, MD, physician at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial-Grant Medical Center; Ethel Lobrigas, physical therapist at Tamarac, a member of Spectrum Health; and Emilie Klop, registered dietitian at Gerber Memorial.
The event featured retailers: Tupperware, Wiersma Jewelry, Initials Inc., Hidden Mitten, LulaRoe clothing, Stella & Dot, Treasured Images; and The Skincare Center and Spa at Tamarac.
Nonprofits were: Newaygo County Cancer Support Group; Headway; District Health Department #10; HealthSmart; Eye Care One; WISE; and True North.
Gerber Memorial staff held free screenings and demonstrations, including Spectrum Health Betty Ford Breast Care Services; Community Health and Wellness; the Ob/Gyn clinic; Heart Caring; and MedNow, Spectrum Health’s cutting edge telemedicine service.
The event was an opportunity for participating nonprofits to shine a light on the work they do in the community.
“Headway is really excited to be part of Girls’ Night Out and help raise awareness about the fight against substance abuse here in Newaygo County,” said Kayleigh Haase, Headway’s coalition coordinator. “Events like this help us empower people to make good choices that can ultimately help us build a healthier community.”
Attendees at the event also learned some practical lessons: Liz MacDonald, for example, had her handbag weighed by Beth VanTreese, director of rehabilitation services at Gerber Memorial, to see if it weighed more than 5 pounds. It was just 3.6 pounds.
“Anything more than 5 pounds can lead to neck and shoulder pain,” VanTreese told MacDonald.
“I just have a little bit of everything in there,” MacDonald replied. “I might even have a little bit of money in there, too.”
One feature in a handbag that can help minimize pain or discomfort? “Wider straps,” MacDonald said. “Helps disperse the weight.”
“You get a gold star,” VanTreese said.
Elsewhere, one attendee was heard saying: “Oooh, chair massages.” That chair kept Tamarac fitness instructor and masseuse Courtney Lensky busy, giving free massages for two straight hours.