By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

Gwinnett Medical Center reaches out to women
By Carole Townsend

Gwinnett Medical Center, with locations and campuses in several Gwinnett County locations, knows that women are the family’s traditional caregivers. Research has shown that by contrast, women often put their own care last, after her children’s and husband’s care.

As Cathie Brazell, the hospital’s assistant vice president of clinical operations, explains, “It’s like the flight attendant tells us before every flight. You must put the oxygen mask on yourself before trying to help anyone else.”

For that reason, on May 6 the hospital offered its first-ever Women’s Health Expo at its Resource Center in Lawrenceville. The event will be held annually, and it is open to the public. About 100 women turned out for the May event, asking questions of a panel of health care professionals (doctors, nutritionists and therapists). They also enjoyed free health screenings and some one-on-one time with the panel members.

“I’m so glad I came,” said Cindy Gilbert. “This event today may have just saved my life.” Other women remarked that they learned things they had not known before about dermatology, nutrition, even menopause.
190 carol 111649

Left: Carole Townsend at the microphone

“Women will take care of themselves last. Whether it’s work or the children or just a busy schedule, we tend to put our health care needs after everyone else’s. We thought that if we could offer many of the necessary screenings and medical advice in a one-stop-shop situation, that would be very convenient for women,” said Jennifer Robinson, Supervisor of Perinatal and Women’s Services at the hospital. She and Sheila Warren, GMC’s innovative health care navigator, coordinated this year’s Expo with the help of the Women’s Advisory Council.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Gwinnett was one the nation's fastest-growing counties in the nation. To serve a burgeoning community, GMC first expanded women’s services to include a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU),  which opened about 25 years ago.  Women’s services offered at GMC have continued to evolve to meet healthcare needs at various stages of life.  But top-notch health care for women, according to Beth Hardy of the hospital’s public relations department, goes beyond services to include sensitivity, safety and care.  “Gwinnett Women’s Pavilion was recognized with a Women's Choice Award that honors the 2015 America's Best Hospitals for Obstetrics.  This is the only evidence-based designation that identifies the country's best hospitals,” Hardy said.

190Womens Health Expo with Panel and Carole TownsendRight: Panelists (Physicians & other professionals) who answered questions submitted by attendees. Guests also got a chance to talk with these pros one-on-one after the official part of the program and during the vendor show. Vendors included everything from Aurora Theatre to Fleet Feet Shoes to financial planners. Screenings took place in the vendor area, too, all provided by the Gwinnett Medical Center.

This year’s Expo, which was timed to coincide with Mother’s Day, was a success from all angles. The women who attended left armed with knowledge and, in some cases, an appointment with a physician or other health care provider from the Q&A panel. Many left with raffle prizes, donated by area sponsors. The panelists got a rare opportunity to hear from prospective patients (their “customers”) what their concerns are. And the hospital considered it a win-win for all involved. “Our goal,” said Warren, “is to improve the overall health of our community, and Gwinnett Medical is all about the community.”

Check the hospital’s website (gwinnettmedicalcenter.org) early next Spring for details about the 2016 Women’s Health Expo, or visit it at any time to read valuable information about health care news and other upcoming events.