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Speak Well Being

Serving hospitals, healthcare and women's groups

Speaking of Creative Programs

March 16, 2006, Vol. IV Issue 6

Dear Friends,

Yippee, spring officially arrives Monday. I don’t know about you but I’m ready for more sunshine and outdoor activities. I hesitate to report this to those of you still staring at snowbanks, but I have daffodils blooming in my flower boxes and there are pink tree branches gracing the neighborhood. Granted, warm (shorts) weather is a long way off, but these are promising signs to be celebrated. So be encouraged, it’s coming your way, too!

It’s also the season for spring women’s events around the country. Last time I wrote about Jana Stanfield’s return to Carnegie Hall for an encore performance in New York City. Just so you know that appearing in a big time venue hasn’t gone to her head, this past weekend she performed for a small hospital in Pennsylvania. She enjoyed it immensely and reported back to me with ideas we thought would be fun to share.

And, just to keep things lively, a few comments on the media writing about their own conundrum: Health Headline hype, the cover story on the March 13 issue of Newsweek. Is it SCIENCE, or is it MEDIA, or is it HEALTH? You decide.

Yours truly,

Women’s Day Out Brims with Creative Ideas

Are you a “Queen Bee,” “Stressed Out” or a “Workaholic?” How about a “Diva”, a “Goddess” or a “Party Animal?” Or possibly, today your attitude is “It’s All About Me,” “Whatever” or “Yada,Yada,Yada.” Well, each woman attending Evangelical Community Hospital’s Women’s Day Out 2006, got to express her feelings for the day by picking her own ribbon label to add to her name badge.

“These were a lot of fun, real conversation-starters,” according to Niki Hockenbrock, Community Health Education Coordinator for Evangelical in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

“I noticed that the ribbons created a lot of camaraderie among the women right away,” Jana added. “They were laughing and joking at their common foibles. And then they started sharing ideas to help each other. I just thought it was a great idea.”

Their name badges were also practical. On the back side was printed each attendee’s pre-registered morning and afternoon breakout sessions, along with her meal choice for lunch.

The day started at 8 a.m with a continental breakfast and vendors to visit. At 9 a.m., Jana took the stage with her opening keynote, “I’m Not Lost, I’m Exploring.”

“When the evaluations came back, just about every one said their favorite part of the day was the keynote speaker, Jana Stanfield,” Niki said. “She had the ladies laughing and crying and participating. She was high energy, fun and entertaining. And, she was so easy to work with. She gave me ideas both for the event and for promoting it.”

After the keynote, there were five morning breakout sessions to choose from, including belly dancing, scrapbooking, wine and food pairing, creating balance in life and ghost hunting. During the lunch hour, the women got to enjoy chair massages, as well as time to visit with friends and shop at the vendor booths.

There were more breakout sessions in the afternoon and Jana closed the day with her program, “What Would I Do Today If I Were Brave?” “This was really awesome,” Niki told me. “Jana had all of the ladies blow up balloons and then write on them a message they wanted other women to remember. They said things like, ‘Acceptance for who they are,’ ‘Keep the Spirit alive,’ ‘Take care of yourself.’ The whole room was full of that positive energy as the women shared them, bouncing them around the room. It was a very upbeat and emotional way to end the day.”

“We also tried something new tying in with Jana’s launch of her ‘Women Helping Women’ theme,” Niki told me. “We collected gently used or new tops and bottoms for our sexual assault program that is run through our ER. Victims’ clothes are sometimes collected as evidence, so clothing is needed for them to wear home.”

“Women love to do good in the world,” Jana said, “and bringing this element to a women’s event gives them a way and reason to help other women.”

“I believe,” Jana said, “that each woman has at least five people who trust her for health and medical advice. Husbands, sisters, children, mothers, girlfriends, all look to the strong woman in their lives for advice and direction. That’s why I’m so thrilled to be a part of these women’s health programs sponsored by hospitals.”

To learn more about Jana’s availability and Keynote Concerts, call me at 503-699-5031


I wasn’t even looking for magazines, when Newsweek’s March 13th issue screamed at me from the rack in the supermarket. The cover headline, DIET HYPE, was accompanied by a graphic of a sandwich that was made of two slices of bread with a filling of a huge pile of newspapers and magazines and next to it, a woman’s quizzical expression. The subhead read “Confused? From Fat to Calcium, How the Media Collides with Science.”

Now, I find that very interesting. The media commenting on itself. I had to know what they had to say, so I bought it. Inside, I found the article under the SCIENCE heading. I would have expected it to be under MEDIA or maybe even HEALTH with the inside headline “Food News Blues.”

As we mentioned a couple of issues ago, recent health headlines have been plentiful and contradictory. For example, recent Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) findings were compressed into headlines like “Study Finds No Major Benefit to a Low-Fat Diet” and “Eating Lean Doesn’t Cut Risk.” That gave to any slightly unstable dieter all the permission she needed to head for a cheeseburger with fries, much to the chagrin of all of us who promote healthy lifestyles.

The problem, as the article points out, is things aren’t that simple. You must read beyond the headlines and between the lines. Interestingly enough, the Newsweek story does devote a lot of ink to the WHI study; so it’s well worth reading, even though some of its points, in my opinion, are weak. It blames the problem of mixed messages (eggs are bad, eggs are okay; nuts are bad, nuts are good; coffee, margarine, red wine, chocolate, you name it) on three words: too much information.

“Not so long ago, patients got all their medical knowledge from their doctors,” the article said. Really? Medical, maybe, but not nutritional. A doctor recently told me that four hours of nutrition education is all they get in medical school. It went on to credit the explosion of media, websites, cable TV, newspaper and magazine stories, for the overload.

As the article pointed out, the answers that come from research (this is the science part) are not always straightforward: “Science works in small steps, and failure and mistakes are an integral part of the process. Experiments flame out; hypotheses crash and burn.”

They also noted: “Published studies on the same topic can vary enormously in terms of sample size (small, medium, big), demographics (age, gender), data (self-reported versus objectively measured information) and length (weeks, months, years). Then there’s the design of the study, a critical factor.” When we read about them in the media, they come across equalized. Money, of course, is also a factor. Following the funding is the path to truth in most cases.

The article also noted that the flip-flopping (this is good, no it’s bad), is actually part of an evolutionary process. As new scientific information is acquired, public health recommendations need to be modified. The final analysis was that there is blame all around as journalists opt for juicy headlines and the public cries for a quick fix. “For all their differences, scientists and journalists are on the same path. They should keep asking questions, not be discouraged by dead ends and be open-minded to surprising truths.”

The article goes into some depth about the WHI study (both its design and results), explaining the nuances and implications of the study in regard to low fat diets, as well as the other health issues it explores. It is worthwhile to read the detailed explanations. Go to:

And, my footnote to this is: If you really want to get good, reliable information and interpretation of nutrition studies, get it from an expert who knows how to read the studies and doesn’t have to rely on hype-ey headlines for attention. I subscribe to Elizabeth Somer’s newsletter, Nutrition Alert. This is a printed newsletter that comes in the mail six times a year for a mere $15. To subscribe, go to:

Elizabeth is also the author of numerous books, and I am learning a lot from her most recent book, 10 Habits That Mess Up A Woman’s Diet. She’ll be presenting that topic in April at Oregon Health Sciences University’s Day for Women and I’ll report on it then. Meantime, scan the headlines and dig deeper.

Change is in the Air

I know I’ve talked about this before but I am now seriously moving toward dressing this e-news up and getting it into a format where we will have pictures and graphics. Exciting and scary. Your thoughts and ideas are most welcome. I’m also going to be changing publishers as I’ve been having too many problems with being blocked to subscribers who want to receive it. This changeover may entail an extra email or two as we ask you to confirm your interest so please bear with us. Thank you for your support. It tickles me every time I hear from one of you.

Until next time, be good to yourself, for your good health and those you love.

Yours truly,

The Speak Well Being Group specializes in providing exceptional speakers for health, wellness and women’s events. Because we’ve worked with so many hospitals and healthcare groups around the country, we speak your language. Our hand-picked speakers are attuned to your needs and adept at addressing the issues while delivering information in an entertaining way, or simply providing a good time with a light message when that’s the ticket. When you work with us, you’ll come back for more “How are we going to top that?” speakers.

You’ll find many of our speakers on our website.
Or please call anytime and let us assist you: 503-699-5031
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