The Gathering 2016
The Gathering is an annual event to provide women an opportunity to socialize, view exhibits, and access the information and resources they need to be healthy. This year marked 15 years of hosting the conference, and we had another great turnout! 106 women showed up to learn about “Chronic Disease Prevention: It’s Never Too Late to Make a Difference.”
From the start, the importance of this topic was clear. Dr. Susan Turney, CEO of Marshfield Clinic Health System, welcomed the group with some staggering statistics about the link between certain behaviors and the development of chronic disease (ex. smoking and cancer). She emphasized that prevention is key, and encouraged everyone to share the information they would learn throughout the day with their communities. “A healthy woman makes a healthy family, and a healthy family makes a healthy state,” re-emphasized our very own, Sue Ann Thompson and Tommi Thompson.
The four presentations which followed were bursting with useful information and resources. All day, attendees were shocked by preventable chronic disease-related consequences, and eager to obtain new tools to help them make lifestyle changes. The theme throughout was similar: small changes can make a big impact!
“Fighting Chronic Disease”: Arthur Taggart, Executive Director of the Epilepsy Foundation
By 2030, chronic disease could cost each person in Wisconsin an estimated $8,700 per year! What can you do? Arthur recommends you stop smoking, start eating healthy, and get in shape to prevent new cases of chronic disease and save money for Wisconsin.
“Heart Health”: Sue Richards, Outreach Specialist with The Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation
You can make simple changes with diet, physical activity and stress management! Sue gave practical tips for how to do so, and encouraged everyone to monitor their heart health by knowing their numbers (cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and waist circumference). Everyone received a tape measure to keep track of waist circumference, and they even had the opportunity to get a free blood pressure screening.
“Polypharmacy”: Sara Griesbach, Clinical Pharmacy Services Director at Marshfield Clinic
Attendees really connected with this discussion on the potential interactions and adverse side effects that come with an individual taking multiple medications. Take control of your health. Don’t be afraid to ask your providers questions and be involved in your care plan.
“Nutrition & Movement:” Hallie Ringhand, Owner of New U
Hallie got everyone involved with a session on the importance of nutrition and exercise. “There is always a way to move your body,” she said as she demonstrated different exercises. Listen to your body and when it comes to a new fitness or nutrition routine, “find a plan that works for YOU, not the masses.”
When the day came to a close, women left full of new knowledge, and were energized to try new strategies. We met a woman named Georjean Button, who with a growing group of friends, has been to all 15 of The Gathering conferences! When asked what keeps her coming back year after year, she said “it’s just so much fun! And I learn something every year- even when I think the topic isn’t for me.”
If you missed out on The Gathering this year, follow the link to watch a recorded version: https://www.youtube.com/user/WIWomensHealth. A big thank you to the Marshfield Clinic, the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease and our event partner, The Wisconsin Well Woman Program, for a great event!