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Nantucket Events

Women+Wellness to Empower Women

by Suzanne Daub

In 2017 a trio of dynamic women on Nantucket—Meryl Bralower, Melanie Sablehaus, and Jeanine Borthwick—engaged with Nantucket Cottage Hospital to spearhead an effort to empower women on the island, visitors and residents, to take charge of their healthcare.

“Did you know that 80% of all healthcare decisions are made by women? Our goal is to empower women to make the right decisions…[we want them] to know what to ask for from doctors,” explained Bralower in a previous interview. “We want women to know they can take control of their health,” she added. “We want women to be their own advocates as well as advocates for their family members.”

Nantucket Island’s only summer event dedicated exclusively to women’s health returns this month when Nantucket Cottage Hospital presents the 7th annual Women+Wellness event on Monday, July 22, from 5 to 7 pm. General Admission tickets are free, but to attend, advance reservations must be made at eventbrite.com/e/2024-women-wellness-tickets-896553645087 — at press time, seats at this event were still available but are expected to fill quickly.

Lisa Clarey-Lawler and Heather O’Sullivan are the co-chairs for the 2024 Women+Wellness event, titled Myth-Busting Your Way through Menopause and Other Tips for Managing Women’s Reproductive Health.

Women’s bodies undergo numerous changes throughout their lives, and one of the most significant transitions is menopause. Understanding this natural phase and learning how to manage its effects can greatly improve quality of life.

Clarey-Lawler explained that at the end of each Women+Wellness event, attendees have been surveyed to discover topics of interest. “This has come up many times…and there’s been a lot of chat about menopause lately…it seems like a rich time to be talking about this.”

The featured speaker, Dr. Carey York-Best, has been an attending physician at Mass General Hospital since 1993. Currently, she is the Division Director of Benign Gynecology and Obstetrics and the Associate Director of the third year clerkship director for Mass General at Harvard Medical School. Within her practice at Mass General, she cares for many women with advanced maternal age pregnancy, and has expertise in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, perimenopause, and the gynecologic care of breast cancer patients. “Dr. York-Best was selected [to present] because she has a specialty in menopause, and she has handled many difficult cases,” Clarey-Lawler commented.

After Dr. York-Best speaks on July 22, there will be a short panel discussion with local medical professionals to discuss local options and make sure women know they don’t have to go off-island for different treatments. There is a level of service that many people do not realize. A Q&A follows for audience members to bring up concerns. The 2024 Women+Wellness event ends with a fun gathering where women can share experiences and chat casually with professionals.

“It is so nice to be able to bring this to the community for free,” said Clarey- Lawler. Check-in begins at 4:45 pm at the Great Harbor Yacht Club, and attendees are urged to allow time for summer traffic. Free valet parking will be provided.

Menopause typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. But the process leading up to it, known as perimenopause, is the stage when hormone levels fluctuate, causing various physical and emotional changes. Perimenopause can start in a woman’s 30s or 40s. It’s essential to prepare both mentally and physically for these phases of life.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of perimenopause and menopause can help demystify the experience. Common symptoms include irregular periods, hot flashes, mood swings, and changes in libido.

Navigating menopause and managing women’s reproductive health involves understanding the changes bodies undergo and taking proactive steps to maintain well-being. Armed with knowledge, supported by medical guidance, and with healthy lifestyle habits, women can approach this stage of life with confidence and grace. Every woman’s experience is unique, so it’s essential to find what works best with the support of healthcare professionals.

This education-focused program is designed to help women make the best decisions they can and to educate the community about resources available at Nantucket Cottage Hospital and its affiliation with the Mass General Brigham healthcare system. For questions about Women+Wellness, call the Nantucket Cottage Hospital Foundation at 508-825-8250.

Articles by Date from 2012