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Updated 5:00 PM October 25, 2005




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Event to gauge impact of journalism on women's health

Some of the country's most distinguished experts in the fields of women's health and medical journalism—including former Food and Drug Administration official Susan F. Wood, New York Times reporter Gina Kolata and Michigan Surgeon General Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom—will discuss the impact of journalism on women's health during a
U-M event Nov. 7.

Kolata (Photo by Andrew Brucker)
Pinn (Photo courtesy National Institutes Of Health)

Among the highlights will be a keynote speech by Wood, former director of the Office of Women's Health at the FDA, who resigned when the agency stalled the approval of the Plan B emergency contraception pill in spite of scientists' recommendations to approve it.

Other speakers will include Kolata, a science and medical journalist for the New York Times, who will deliver the other keynote address; Wisdom, the first statewide surgeon general in the country; Dr. Vivian W. Pinn, director of the Office of Research on Women's Health at the National Institutes of Health; and Joanne Silberner, health policy correspondent for National Public Radio.
Wisdom (Photo courtesy Michigan Office Of The Surgeon General)
Wood (Photo courtesy Susan Wood)

The event, "Women's Health: The Press and Public Policy," will be held from 1-5 p.m. in the Michigan League Ballroom. It is free and open to the public. The event is presented by the Knight-Wallace Fellows at Michigan and sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, with support from the Women's Health Program at the U-M Health System (UMHS).

"The idea is to explore how well the important public policy issue of women's health is being explained to the public, which of course ultimately foots the bill. The experts and journalists will each be asked how good a job they think they're doing—and also how well each thinks the other is doing. We expect a lively event and will open the discussion, as always, to the public," says Charles R. Eisendrath, director of the Knight-Wallace Fellows at Michigan, a fellowship program for mid-career journalists.
Silberner (Photo by Kathryn Aiken)

"The topic of women's health encompasses a vast array of issues, from pregnancy and cancer to body image and heart disease to gynecological health and nutrition," says Dr. Timothy R.B. Johnson, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UMHS and professor of women's studies. "This esteemed group of speakers will add a great deal to the discussion about the ways women acquire information about health issues."

In addition to those listed above, others scheduled to speak at the event are:

• Myrna Blyth, author, "Spin Sisters: How the Women of the Media Sell Unhappiness and Liberalism to the Women of America," former editor-in-chief of Ladies' Home Journal and founding editor-in-chief of MORE magazine;

• Dianne Hales, author of "An Invitation to Health" and one of the country's most widely published and honored writers on health subjects;

• Marcia C. Inhorn, professor of health behavior and health education at U-M and director of the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies;

• Cynthia A. Pearson, executive director of the National Women's Health Network and lead author of "The Truth About Hormone Replacement Therapy";

• Joann Ellison Rodgers, author of "Sex: A Natural History," and director of media relations at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions;

• Frances M. Visco, president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition and a breast cancer survivor.

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