Friday, December 2, 2016

December 2nd is Doris Howell Day!



“I realized how little women knew about themselves, when you would ask a woman where she got her medical advice for herself and her family, she would say, ‘I ask my husband,’ ” she said. “Well, how does he know about what’s best for you?”

Read the full interview here.

For her 90th, and in recognition for her relentless pursuit of women's health, the City of San Diego honored her by declaring December 2nd as Doris Howell Day. Under the premise that women's health is family health, she has dedicated over 20 years in making sure women are informed on the latest research in women's health to become their own health care advocates.

The organization, set up in conjunction with Soroptimist International of La Jolla over 20 years ago, is focused on 3 key areas.  



The scholarship program was intended to get young graduate and post-graduate researchers excited and into the field of women’s health.  So far, in 20 years, it has proven to work!  According to Dr. Thinzar Helmi Lwin, "The Howell research scholarship fueled my interest in science and cancer biology.  It led me to great mentors who guided me into the medical field during my time at UCSD.  I have since finished medical school in New York and am now a surgical resident training at Mt Sinai Beth Israel in NY. I am very appreciative of the Howell Foundation for giving me the opportunity to get started in biomedical research which helped me to get where I am today!"

We are very active in the community with 5 events per year –our Luncheon and Evening Series programs-- that present the latest trends in women’s health.   We seek to inform and empower women to be their best healthcare advocates when discussing their health.   The feedback has always encouraged us to present only the best.  Just this year, our speakers included researchers of the stature of Dr. Claudia Kawas, from the '90+Study',  Karen Possemato from Illumina on the advances of genetics for personalized medicine, Dr. Dorothy Sears with simple lifestyle changes for improving women’s health, authors Hilary Stokes and Kim Ward on the path to happiness, and Dr. Sonia Sharma, with her research on the genome 10,000 experiments at a time: applying genomic approaches to understand autoimmune disease in women.

Our Community Engagement Initiative seeks to partner with post graduate research and community organizations to promote women’s health research that can impact and improve women’s health throughout the community.  Just last year, Dr. Sandra Soto presented the findings of the Howell Foundation’s first Community Engagement Initiative “For our Health”.  The aim of the study was to pilot test the impact of a physical activity intervention on the physical activity practices of pregnant Latinas.  Partnering with WIC, a social support approach was utilized to develop an intervention that targeted individual, social, and cultural influences on physical activity in pregnant Latino Women.  The continuation of this study is now in NIH’s hands for further funding. 

As to what Dr. Howell Feels on the work the Foundation does to improve women's health?

“Take the research that is being done, translate it, and put it into practical use. It’s not who you are or where you’ve been. It’s where you are going that counts .Please take it seriously because we have no way to go but up, no way to go but success, no way to go but needed.  It is filling that need that I hope our Foundation will constantly try to do as its mission; and so far I believe we’ve succeeded.”

Here are some suggestions on how you can continue to help beyond #givingTuesday:

Become a Friend of Howell.  Your small donation or full scholarship award  can help us achieve BIG things; among them, helping young scholars achieve their education goals and dreams!
Attend our events.  Spreading the word with family and friends  or participating with sponsorships  allows us to catch up while enjoying wonderful food and perhaps a great glass of wine.
Donate on behalf of your organization.   Women –and men-- in your company or foundation will have the opportunity to learn more about the women in their lives.   If you’d prefer, we can visit your location and talk about the latest in women’s health research through our speakership services.
Consider us in your planned giving efforts.   Celebrate the life of  the women who mean the most to ensure the legacy of  the women and men in your life.

So as to the ‘why’ we should care about women’s health:   Women’s health is family health:  Healthy women, happy family. Personalized medicine needs to consider gender and sex, which ultimately starts with research at its most basic level: the cellular level.  By understanding the physiological, psychological and social differences between men and women:

  • Researchers can keep discovering new cures for disease based on the differences between men and women.
  • Doctors can establish the necessary guidelines to treat illness specific to gender and sex –vs. a ‘one size fits all’ approach. 
  • The pharmaceutical industry can develop targeted medications that effectively treat and cure illness in a specific sex-specific manner.
  • Men and women can be informed and become advocates for their own health, and most importantly, their family’s health.   

As the year comes to an end, consider us in your giving efforts.   Your contributions are tax deductible, and the women in your life who have unfortunately been touched by illness will certainly appreciate it!  

Donate towards the gift of health.

Visit www.howellfoundation.org to learn about the many ways you can give! 


                                                  ###
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.
                                                   ###

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

For caregivers, the top 4 must-knows for senior care.



"What do you do when the phone rings at 11:00 at night, and it is the Emergency room telling you your parent fell, broke her hip, will have surgery and be discharged within a couple of days?", asks our own Cheryl Wilson, CEO for St. Paul's and Board Member of the Howell Foundation as she kicks off her presentation at the last Howell luncheon.

According to Dr. Kawas, also a lecturer at the past Howell Luncheon, research is showing that half the children born today are expected to live past 103.  An estimated 2 million people in the US is over 90.  By 2050, it is expected that 3% of the population --around 6 million individuals-- will be part of the 'oldest old' segment of the population.

That means that the need for care giving will also exponentially grow.

Are you prepared?

Cheryl Wilson, CEO, St. Paul's
Working with senior citizens gives Cheryl the opportunity to share the most important things to make sure your loved one is taken care of well into their old age.  Her suggestions?

1.- Have a plan!

Having a conversation with your kids is always difficult, especially when dealing with issues that make a parent vulnerable.  We as 'kids' are used to see our parents strong and taking life head on. Eventually, we grow up and go on our way, and our parents are settled in to live the rest of our lives.  Or so we think...

What is for sure is the clearer the information about what to expect as caregivers and what our family member wants and needs is crucial.  If your parents have not talked to you about what they want in their old age, make sure you have information on their funeral arrangement, their lawyer and their financial planner. What would they like to do if an accident were to happen?  How are they expecting to be taken care of? What about DNR and advanced directive? Should we go into wills and trust funds, or do you want to take a breath?

But seriously, what happens when you do get that call? Around half of patients are discharged to a nursing facility that was not the first choice. Is it accessible?  What if it is too far away? Does it have the rehab capabilities your loved one needs?  Should you be thinking of home instead, and how will you manage?

Kill those 'what if's" and make sure instructions are in your plan! Talking about future care matters!

2. Engage, engage, engage! Much has been published on the efficacy of inter-generational programs, where young and elder interact in social settings as a means to stimulate seniors.  Some of the most interesting programs include music, singing and activities that stimulate the brain.  Cheryl is optimistic about all the research taking place with Parkinson's disease and babies... yes, you read correctly.  Apparently, the shaking diminishes when a Parkinson's patient holds a baby in its arms!

3. Nutrition, with a social component. People are social beings by nature, and nothing is better than a meal in good company!

4. Exercise.  Research shows that stretching every day after 80 goes a long way.  Other forms of fun exercise include walking, swimming and dancing.  Going places gets you your vitamin D, so make sure you wear extra sunscreen.

There is much more information to consider when becoming a care giver. Communication and being informed is only the first step.  If you are in the process of becoming a caregiver, make sure you talk to your doctor's team and care providers to plan for the best care for your loved one!  

                                                                       ####

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.

                                                                        #### 


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ways you can give today towards women's health.


More often than not, women’s health IS  family health.  By donating towards the Howell Foundation’s community research and scholarship programs you help ensure that the illness in the lives of the women you love are diagnosed and treated accordingly.  Women’s health starts with research and continues with education.
Here are some suggestions on how you can help this #givingTuesday. 
  • Become a Friend of Howell.  Your small donation or full scholarship award  can help us achieve BIG things; among them, helping young scholars achieve their education goals and dreams!  
  • Attend our events.  Spreading the word with family and friends  or participating with sponsorships  allows us to catch up while enjoying wonderful food and perhaps a great glass of wine. 
  • Donate on behalf of your organization.   Women –and men-- in your company or foundation will have the opportunity to learn more about the women in their lives.   If you’d prefer, we can visit your location and talk about the latest in women’s health research through our speakership services.
  • Consider us in your planned giving efforts.   Celebrate the life of  the women who mean the most to ensure the legacy of  the women and men in your life. 
As the year comes to an end, consider us in your giving efforts.   Your contributions are tax deductible, and the women in your life who have unfortunately been touched by illness will certainly appreciate it!   
Donate towards the gift of health.
Visit www.howellfoundation.org to learn about the many ways you can give


###
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.
###



Monday, November 21, 2016

Why is Lung Cancer being diagnosed more in women than in men?

Going beyond the established guidelines of diagnosis, recent studies confirm that estrogen and an untreated infection with the Human Papiloma virus increase the risk of lung cancer in women. Yet, and just as with heart disease, there is typically no gender differences considered when diagnosing and treating women with the illness.

Here is a list of recently published findings that can shed a light on women and lung cancer:
  • While statistics show that lung cancer diagnosis is decreasing in men, lung cancer is increasing in young women.  Almost half of all lung cancer cases in young adults are women. Statistics show that diagnosis in older women has maintained in the past year.    
  • Lung cancer is typically different in men (squamous cell lung cancer) than in women (adenocarcinoma)-- ; and therefore, the symptoms vary significantly.  Because of the differences in types of lung cancer and its location in the body, men will show the typical symptoms:  a persistent cough, or coughing up blood; while women are more likely to experience fatigue, shortness of breath and/or chest and back pain.  
  • 20% of women who develop lung cancer have NEVER smoked, and the diagnosis is growing, especially in young women.   
  • Women are more susceptible to carcinogens in cigarettes than men.
  • Estrogen plays a role in either preventing or increasing its role in lung cancer.  On the one hand, recent research suggests that hormone replacement therapy might exacerbate a lung cancer condition if diagnosed after menopause; whereas other forms of estrogen --birth control and hormone replacement therapy-- might reduce the risks of developing lung cancer if prescribed before menopause. 
  • There is a possibility that HPV is correlated to some cases of lung cancer in women.  Research shows that at least 15% of women diagnosed with the condition contained HPV's DNA in the cancer cells. 
More research is currently taking place to determine both the roles of estrogen and HPV in lung cancer in women.  In the meantime, the important thing here is to stay informed!  Additional statistics of lung cancer are found below! 





                                                                      ###

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.

                                                                                ###

Summary & Design prepared by Carolyn Northrup with information from the following sources:
American Lung Association
American Cancer Society 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26602770
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19995649
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20473922
https://www.verywell.com/does-hpv-cause-lung-cancer-2248989
https://www.verywell.com/lung-cancer-in-women-2249402


Friday, November 18, 2016

Honoring one of our own during Palliative Care & Hospice month!



She is affectionately called the 'mother of hospice' in San Diego.  She has influenced hospice and palliative care nationally.  And in honor of her work, she has been named "Woman of Wonder" by the CHEERS Foundation.  She has addressed the La Jolla Women's Club on the adventures of creating a hospice organization in San Diego.  Just recently, the California State Institute of Palliative Care named in Dr. Howell's honor an award given to individuals that advance palliative care in our community and beyond.


She has done so much more!  She is the reason why Soroptimist International of La Jolla founded the Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women's Health Research.  And she is, quite frankly, a star in our organization.

She has dedicated her career to ensuring women are empowered with information on women's health to make sure we become our best health advocates. She works tirelessly on efforts to light the curiosity of young minds to pursue a career in women's health.  She has made sure academia implement research projects that benefit women in her community.  The premise is simple: women can not keep on being treated like men.  A "one-size-fits-all approach" will not help keep women healthy.

So in honor of Palliative Care and Hospice Month, and to bring awareness to the need of women's health research, we honor Dr. Howell. Thank you for your tirelessly work, your legacy and, most importantly, the inspiration to be informed about women's health!

                                                                      ###

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.

                                                                        ###

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Organization's throughout San Diego supporting smoke out day!


On my way out from my doctor's appointment today at the Naval Base Hospital, I ran across these two wonderful ladies promoting 'smoke out' day.  Bottom line is that smoking affects more than just the smoker. Here are the benefits of 'smoking out':

  • 20 minutes without a cigarette stabilizes heart rate and blood pressure. 
  • After 24 hours, smoker's breath disappears and oxygen levels normalize. 
  • In 2-3 days, breathing is easier.  The sense of taste and smell improve. Take deep breaths and smell the roses!  
  • In just one month, blood circulation levels improve and exercise becomes easier.  
  • One year after quitting, one significantly reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. The risk of heart disease is the same as a non-smoker after 10 years of kicking the habit. 
  • After 10 years, the risk of lung cancer is cut in half.
  • After 10 years, the average of savings from quitting is estimated at 40,000.  
Unfortunately, I did not catch their names. But putting things into perspective certainly helped!  From the American Cancer Society, this infographic helps understand not only the financial cost of smoking, but the health cost as well.  For more information visit www.cancer.org. 


                                                                          ###

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.

                                                                        ###

Friday, November 11, 2016

Women and Alzheimer's: Facts and figures we ALL need to know.

It is often thought that Alzheimer's disease is indiscriminate of age, race and gender.  However, diagnosis in women goes beyond the fact that women live longer than men.  Recent research is showing that more women are diagnosed with the disease than men.
In support of Alzheimer's awareness month, a summary of the most relevant information below.






                                                                               ###

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.

                                                                        ###

Information prepared by Carolyn Northrup with information from the following sources: 


Image Credit: Check Marks from Vector.me (by Designious.com)
Images from Shutterstock licensed to Carolyn Northrup