Friday, August 26, 2016

What DOES it take to be happy? Save the Date: September 29, 2016


"The purpose of our lives is to be happy”.   –Dalai Lama 

Did you know...  
  • Over 70% of people report living in a state of chronic stress? 
  • Happiness results from the strength of your neurological pathways and strengths are more powerful than weakness? 
  • Your emotions have executive power in your brain?

There is not one strategy that leads to happiness; it results from dedication to a holistic—or mind, body, and spirit—approach. It takes focus, effort, and intention on a daily basis.

Life then, becomes a happiness journey, not a destination to attain. 

Everyone wants to be happy. In fact, most everything we do is because we believe on some level it will make us happy.  We have been led to believe that when we are unhappy or stressed, all we need to do is change the way that we think and we will be happier. Or is it?

The Happy Map is a result of two decades of researching and applying the best of conventional and unconventional strategies for happiness.  In The Happy Map, Drs. Stokes and Ward take you on a step by step journey to developing the habit of happiness.  The novelty that Kim and Hilary bring to the search for happiness is an understanding of the latest neurological research and a method for reprogramming your brain to achieve happiness.

About our speakers: 

Kim and Hilary have studied and experienced the gamut of mind-body therapies. Together they have over 20 certifications in holistic modalities including biofeedback, neuro-linguistic programming, Tibetan Buddhism psychology, hypnosis, energy psychology, coaching, visualization and meditation.  Upon realizing their like-minded paths, they founded Authenticity Associates, a coaching and counseling practice, that brings the synergistic power of mind, body and spirit to individuals and couples. Through their bestselling books, online programs, private practice and speaking events they have shown thousands how to use their mind, body and spirit connection to heal and be happy.

A must-attend presentation and book signing.  Looking forward to sharing your happiness! 

When:    September 29, 2016

Time:     5:00-6:00pm – Networking time / Hors d’oevres & cash bar         
              6:00-7:30pm – Program    

Where:  The McMillin Center @ Liberty Station (Bldg. 177)
      2875 Dewey Rd., San Diego, CA  92106

Cost:     $10.  Online Registration is Required.            
              www.howellfoundation.org


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About the Doris A. Howell Foundation: 
The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, advancing women’s health through research and educating women to be catalysts for improving family health in the community.

The organization does so by funding scholarships to students researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, and researchers to convey timely information on topics relevant to women’s health and the health of their families through its Lecture and Evening Series, and by funding research initiatives that improve the health of under-served women and increase awareness and advocacy in the community. 

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Power of Genomics in the Future of Healthcare


Genomics is changing everything from oncology, to reproductive health, to genetic diseases.  And it is the underlying structure for the concept of 'personalized medicine'.  

In the realm of recent biomedical discoveries, the mapping of the human genome has to be the most revolutionary... and illumina is the at the forefront of research involving the human genome.  As a matter of fact, 6 of Time Magazine's top ten science breakthroughs in 2012 included research done by illumina.  According to Mr. Matt Possard, Senior Vice President of Translational and Consumer Genomics at Illumina Inc., the breakthroughs he presented in 2012 illustrate how genomic sequencing can help inform the decision making and care for patients from early to late care.  You can see the impact illumina is having in the research community here

Why is Genomics so important? 

You have probably heard the saying "It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease, than to know what sort of disease a person has."  So,on August 26th, come hear Karen Possemato, Chief of Staff at illumina, discuss the promise of unlocking the power of the genome to improve human health.  Her overview will cover the basics of genomics, including its potential and the impact it is having on society today. 

Time:         11:30 am Registration and Social Time
                 12:00 pm Lecture Luncheon  
Cost:          $50.00
Location:   La Jolla Country Club, 
                   7301 High Avenue, La Jolla, CA 92037
Attire:        Business casual, no jeans
Register:   All registrations must be PRE-PAID by August 18th.  We cannot accommodate late registrations due to limited seating.

About our Speaker: 

Karen Possemato is Chief of Staff to the CEO and President of Illumina Inc. In her role, Karen oversees business operations, corporate communications and a variety of corporate programs, including philanthropy and community engagement. In her previous role as Sr. Director, Corporate Marketing, Karen built up the company’s marketing function from a team of two to a team of sixty, scaling public relations, online presence, brand strategy and marketing programs.  With nearly three decades in the life sciences/biotechnology industry, Karen has worked for industry-leading companies such as Qiagen and Invitrogen in commercial roles from technical support to product marketing. An alumni of the University of California, San Diego – Karen believes that the connection between education, industry and the community is essential to innovation.

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About the Doris A. Howell Foundation:

The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, advancing women’s health through research and educating women to be catalysts for improving family health in the community.

The organization does so by funding scholarships to scientists researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, researchers, and authors to convey the timely information on topics relevant to women’s health and the health. of their families through its Lecture and Evening Series, and by funding research initiatives that will create women’s health awareness and advocacy in the community.


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Friday, July 22, 2016

Giving Back: Thank you, Alpha Phi!

Pictured above from left to right Taylor Bergstrom, Dr. Carole Banka and Deepika Suresh. 


On May 22, 2016, the Kappa Beta Chapter at UCSD was installed as the newest chapter of the Alpha Phi International Fraternity.  What, you may ask, might this have to do with the Howell Foundation?

Those who attended our May luncheon will remember that Deepika Suresh (a past Howell Foundation scholar) and Taylor Bergstrom, president of the new Alpha Phi chapter, made a brief presentation to inform our audience that the chapter had chosen the Howell Foundation to receive their installation donation. In donating to the Howell Foundation they help make possible a scholarship for another undergraduate to pursue research. The Alpha Phi Foundation, the charitable arm of the sorority, makes a donation each time a new chapter is installed. Supporting efforts to improve heart disease in women is their mission and, in making this donation, they have recognized our support of research and outreach in this area.

We at the Howell Foundation are honored to be the recipient for the Kappa Beta Chapter’s installation donation. Dr. Banka attended the Installation Ceremony to receive the donation. “It was a joy to meet the national dignitaries from Alpha Phi, the proud parents and, most of all, the stellar group of young women who were installed in the newest UCSD sorority,” said Banka.  In addition to the generous monetary donation, the new members of Alpha Phi have committed to volunteer their time for any and all Howell Foundation endeavors in the future.

"The Alpha Phi Foundation provides funds for leadership programs, collegiate and alumnae in need, women’s heart health programs, as well as scholarships and grants. As we join the community at UC San Diego, our Foundation is excited to announce that our installation grant is going to the Doris Howell Foundation! We are not only excited to support this Foundation and the San Diego community, but provide support to research and events planned for women’s health.  In the future we hope to provide a consistent volunteer base for events and operational needs of the Doris Howell Foundation and serve as local advocates for the organization’s mission.  Both as a past Howell Scholar and a member of Alpha Phi, I am looking forward to staying connected with the Doris Howell Foundation for many years to come!" comments Deepika Suresh.

We heartily thank the newest members of Alpha Phi for their time and treasure and congratulate them on their installation to one of the oldest sororities in the United States. You go girls!

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About the Doris A. Howell Foundation:

The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, advancing women’s health through research and educating women to be catalysts for improving family health in the community.

The organization does so by funding scholarships to scientists researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, researchers, and authors to convey the timely information on topics relevant to women’s health and the health. of their families through its Lecture and Evening Series, and by funding research initiatives that will create women’s health awareness and advocacy in the community.


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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The not-so-simple lifestyle changes to improve our health and the 4 things you can do today to change.



Just last month we heard Dr. Sears talk about the negative impact of sedentary behavior and nutrition in the presentation 'Simple Lifestyle Changes for Improving Women's Health'; where research on diet and sedentary behaviors opened our eyes to important risk factors in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

With obesity being characterized now as a national epidemic, it is becoming imperative that we do revise our lifestyle and most importantly, change it.  As to whether it is simple or not, that depends on the lens under which you are seeing the issue. Whenever someone prefaces any sentence with 'simple' there is an expectation of effortless actions.  Many times our lives will depend on those changes to maintain our health, but 'simple'?

The idea is to create a series of healthy lifestyle 'habits' to improve and sustain our health, as difficult as it might sound!  The National Institute of Diabetes and Kidney Diseases created the Weight Control Information Network (WIN) that has a guide on just how to go about making such lifestyle changes -- I say lifestyle makeover!




It presents a diagram on the stages of change; starting with the 'thinking about' the need of a lifestyle change, on to the implementation phase and up to finally having a new routine.  Like with pretty much everything in life, the pro's an con's are clear; especially after listening to Dr. Sears' talk about the benefits of a lifestyle change. This guide aids in the factors that will make your decisions easier and definitely eliminate the excuses for not having a healthy lifestyle.  Understanding the natural objections to change is just part of the equation. Tracking your progress through the establishment of clear, concise goals is definitely a motivator in bettering your health!

In the mean time, here are the 4 tips you can start implementing today to get motivated!

1. "A body in motion stays in motion." Not my coined phrase but one that I adopted since seeing the commercial on TV.  Create your own mantra and make yourself follow it when thinking about exercise.  Take the stairs.  Park the care yet a little bit farther.  Walk around the block after dinner.

2. Eat healthy.  Avoid the snack aisle at the grocery, and for crying out loud, do not go there hungry.  Nuts go a long way.

3. Make your new habits small and achievable.  The less effort, the quicker the habit becomes.  Mine? "clean as you go"!

4. Create a chain of habits.  Insert new, small changes in your daily routine. Already took the dog for around the block? Try 2 blocks next time.  Don't eat much fruit? Pair your nuts with a pear.

Good Luck!

About the Doris A. Howell Foundation:

The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, advancing women’s health through research and educating women to be catalysts for improving family health in the community.

The organization does so by funding scholarships to scientists researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, researchers, and authors to convey the timely information on topics relevant to women’s health and the health. of their families through its Lecture and Evening Series, and by funding research initiatives that will create women’s health awareness and advocacy in the community.


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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Two things to keep in mind when discussing your health: Intermittent fasting and sedentary behavior.


Dr. Dorothy Sears, Associate Professor of Medicine from UCSD came to speak at the Howell Foundation's luncheon last May with pretty interesting research on 2 key concerns and how they, for sure, improve or undermine our health: intermittent fasting and sedentary behavior.

Turns out our parents were right: Eat your fruits and vegetables and exercise!  With the just released information from the CDC regarding the obesity epidemic in the US --now at 40% for women-- it is more than clear that type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease are also on the rise.  The benefits of a lifestyle makeover are clear: not only does it help to improve our health and reduce the risks of a life-changing disease, but also minimizes the adverse effects of medication while promoting healthy aging.

One of the largest studies conducted throughout a 20-year span followed over 3000 participants with pre-diabetic conditions.  Individuals were divided into 2 groups; one would be characterized through drug intervention to study its effect on diabetes, while the other would implement lifestyle changes and how it affected the participants' overall health, including intermittent fasting.  The results speak for themselves: after six months, the part of the study with the drug arm reduced type 2 diabetes factors by 38%.  The lifestyle changes intervention, 58%!

A critical part of the study included individuals over the age of 60. In that group, the lifestyle intervention program reduced type 2 diabetes risks and factors by 71%.

On the subject of simple lifestyle changes for improving our health, age does play a significant role when researching any aspect about human health.  It is no secret that most clinical trials are still excluding women. To make matters worse, current clinical trials include individuals of up to age 65.  However, it is estimated that by 2050, there will be 50 million women over the age of 65 in the US.   Women over 65 also use more healthcare than the rest of the population, making this group a significant percentage of the population we need to study.  Time to start paying attention to postmenopausal women!

Part of the lifestyle changes study included how intermittent fasting affected our health. According to Dr. Sears, the first human study to demonstrate an association of fasting yielded a very positive clinical outcome.  Following a group of over 2300 women who were cancer survivors, research showed that fasting less that 13 hours per night increased the incidence of cancer recurrence by 36%.  

The caveat is letting 12 to 13 hours from the time you eat dinner until the time you have breakfast.  What is a fact is that time restriction feeding, or intermittent fasting, in an effective intervention for losing weight and controlling health risks such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

Still thinking about that late snack just before you go to bed? Don't. As a matter of fact, during the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted in 2010, results showed that each 3-hour increase in nighttime fasting significantly reduced hemoglobin/glucose and inflammation markers, definite conduits to poor health.

The second part of the equation in changing our lifestyle habits to improve our health is focused on sedentary behavior.  The action of not moving is now on par with the action of smoking.  Even though as detrimental to our health  as it is, there is yet an official guideline to be developed; and whatever resources there are, the effects of sitting are still very vague.

These are the major considerations to think about while we are sitting down:

  • Sedentary behavior is highly associated with obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Risks span over all age groups and gender.  
  • The fact that you work out for half an hour and return to sit pretty much all day is not reducing your health risks.  
  • Sedentary behavior and physical activity are not the same.  As a matter of fact, conducting some physical activity does not eliminate the adverse effects of prolonged sitting times. 

The solution? Don't just get up and move, change your sedentary behavior!  Dr. Sears' current research is focused on determining the accurate and objective measurement of sitting and standing  -- or sit-to-stand ratio-- and physical activity, the contributions of sedentary behavior to our health risks, and the biological and psychosocial outcome of sedentary behaviors and health.

If you haven't already, check out the additional benefits of exercising.

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About the Doris A. Howell Foundation:

The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, advancing women’s health through research and educating women to be catalysts for improving family health in the community.

The organization does so by funding scholarships to scientists researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, researchers, and authors to convey the timely information on topics relevant to women’s health and the health. of their families through its Lecture and Evening Series, and by funding research initiatives that will create women’s health awareness and advocacy in the community.


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Friday, June 3, 2016

Celebrating the warriors in our lives on Cancer Survivors Day, June 5th.



FACT:  1 in 3 women will get cancer in her lifetime.  

Whatever the statistics, the encouraging news is that cancer diagnosis in women is declining. According to this year's "Cancers Facts and Figures" published by the American Cancer Society, death rates have been declining in men and women since the early 1990s. From 1991 to 2011, the combined death rate dropped 22%. Over the past 5 years (2007 to 2011), the death rate for all cancers combined decreased by 1.8% per year in men and 1.4% per year in women(1).

But what are the most diagnosed cancers in men and women? 


Recent news highlights the encouraging discoveries of cures for patients with cancer-- by women for women --some examples are listed below, but you can read all about it in the original source here (2)
  • Kimberly Blackwell, M.D., director of the breast cancer program at the Duke Cancer Institute in Durham, North Carolina, is researching a targeted drug which delivers chemo directly to cancer cells, which mitigates the side effects in cancer patients. 
  • Heather McArthur, M.D., a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, is working on a way to make the immune system attack breast cancer: Pre-surgery, she freezes tumors to kill cancer cells.
  • Eva Galanis, M.D., chair of the Mayo Clinic's department of molecular medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, is using engineered strains of the measles virus to wipe out several types of cancer. The virus selectively enters cancer cells, which then fuse with other malignant cells nearby and self-destruct, with no harm to the rest of the body. 
While the genetic factors of cancer can not be controlled, we do have a choice as to what we can start doing as preventive measures. Not surprisingly, all of  them include healthy nutrition, a safe environment and exercise.  Early detection and proactiveness is KEY to preventing or managing cancer.  So out of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in women, a list or risk factors for each include: 

Breast Cancer (3):
  • Dense breast tissue
  • Previous radiation treatment to the chest
  • A greater than average number of menstrual periods (starting before age 12, reaching menopause after age 55)
  • No pregnancies, or having your first pregnancy after the age of 30
  • Taking birth control pills
  • Not breastfeeding
  • Being overweight and having a high-fat diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Drinking heavily
Lung Cancer (4) 
  • 80 percent of all lung cancers in women might be avoided if people didn't smoke
  • Smokers are 10 to 20 times more likely to get lung cancer than non-smokers. 
  • Family history also plays a part. 
  • Additional risk factors include exposure to second-hand smoke, radon gas, asbestos and pollution.  
Colon and Rectum Cancer (5)
  • A personal or family history of colorectal cancer, polyps, or inflammatory bowel disease
  • Inactivity
  • Smoking
  • Heavy drinking
  • Low-fiber, high-fat diet that includes lots of processed meat and few fruits and vegetables
Uterine Cancer Risks (6) 
  • Hormonal changes, particularly related to estrogen during menopause
  • A greater than average number of menstrual periods
  • No pregnancies
  • Taking estrogen therapy without progesterone
  • Obesity and a high-fat diet
  • Some kinds of ovarian non-cancerous tumors
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Age
  • Diabetes
  • A family history of colon cancer
  • A personal history of breast or ovarian cancer
Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma Risks (7)
  • A weakened immune system, especially if related to long-term infection or organ transplant
  • Age: Most cases occur in people 60 or older
  • Exposure to certain chemicals, especially insecticides and herbicides
  • Obesity
  • Radiation exposure
  • Autoimmune diseases
So as Cancer Control Month comes to an end, we need to take into consideration that lifestyle improvements are the best proactive approach to reducing the risk of cancer and keeping those numbers on the low!  

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About the Doris A. Howell Foundation:

The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, advancing women’s health through research and educating women to be catalysts for improving family health in the community.


The organization does so by funding scholarships to scientists researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, researchers, and authors to convey the timely information on topics relevant to women’s health and the health. of their families through its Lecture and Evening Series, and by funding research initiatives that will create women’s health awareness and advocacy in the community.


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Sources: 
(1) http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/all.html
(2) http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/10/03/12-exciting-cancer-breakthroughs-should-know-about/
(3) http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/detailedguide/breast-cancer-risk-factors
(4) http://www.cancercenter.com/lung-cancer/risk-factors/
(5) http://www.pcf.org/site/c.leJRIROrEpH/b.5802027/k.D271/Prostate_Cancer_Risk_Factors.htm
(6) http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometrial-cancer/basics/risk-factors/con-20033696
(7) http://www.cancer.org/cancer/non-hodgkinlymphoma/detailedguide/non-hodgkin-lymphoma-risk-factors

Monday, May 16, 2016

Howell -UCSD 2016 Scholar on Ovarian Cancer: A Personal Experience Turned to Research.



Jaidev Bapat, one of  the recipients of the Mirandon Foundation Scholarships is focused on a form of cancer--ovarian.  Jaidev's work in the lab will focus on ovarian tumor metastasis and on understanding how it acquires drug resistance, as well as alternate approaches for treatment. Jaidev's project, "Exploring the Effects of Heterozygous Deletion of BECN1 and MAPILC3B Genes in Ovarian Cancer Cells," centers around understanding how either initiation of autophagy or inhibition of autophagy alters growth dynamics of ovarian cancer cells.

Jaidev is a second year student at John Muir College majoring in molecular biology.  Jaidev is specifically interested in cancer because many of his family members have suffered from various forms of cancer. The Howell Scholarship has enabled him to center his research in the area of ovarian cancer.  He finds oncology a fascinating field of research; he believes the experience that he will gain from this research project will help him "think" like an effective researcher and ultimately contribute to finding better cancer treatments and cures.

Jaidev's professor, Dwayne Stupack, in his letter of recommendation praises Jaidev for his "snap-quick" understanding of why the experiments are being conducted as well as  his desire to research any and all questions he may have.  As he assesses his model, it changes.  He understands that all of science is in constant flux and hypotheses change accordingly. He is described by Dr. Stupack as diligent, intelligent and humble.

In his personal statement, Jaidev states that he is very comfortable in a lab environment, explaining that he has planned entire service projects in the past.  For example, he continues, as part of his Eagle Scout project he planned and executed a project to build safety barriers for classes in his high school. And, he adds, the research project he is undertaking will be slightly different because it will be his first "significant foray into setting and achieving research-based goals," as he will design an entire research project himself.  He hopes to develop his research and critical thinking skills--think like a good researcher--and become a contributing member to the field of biology.

Congratulations Jaidev!  We look forward to learning about your research in the near future.  Thank you Sandra Harris, Donor Liaison for The Howell Foundation, for describing his research passion.




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About the Doris A. Howell Foundation:

The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, advancing women’s health through research and educating women to be catalysts for improving family health in the community.

The organization does so by funding scholarships to students researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, and researchers to convey timely information on topics relevant to women’s health and the health of their families through its Lecture and Evening Series, and by funding research initiatives that improve the health of under-served women and increase awareness and advocacy in the community.

To learn more about the Foundation, visit www.howellfoundation.org.