Thursday, July 15, 2010

What’s In a Name?

Each year I assemble a small group of colleagues to study the schedule of seminars that have been confirmed for the Johns Hopkins Medicine annual women’s health conference, A Woman’s Journey. Our agenda is to craft titles for each lecture. These are critical subjects about improving your health and sometimes devastating diseases. Naming a seminar is serious business. Never the less, the meeting sometimes becomes raucous. It’s challenging. We need to be creative, yet maintain the integrity of the subject matter. The bottom line is to appeal to your curiosity and interests.

So, as you plan your fall, I hope you will check out Read the titles of A Woman’s Journey’s 32 seminars that will be taught by Johns Hopkins physicians. Laugh at some of the titles; be motivated by others. But, when you finish reading the seminar names, be sure to go to our website, register for A Woman’s Journey, and learn what’s really in a name.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Suprising Legacy

I don’t mean to sound morbid, but last weekend we had a most extraordinary—and personal—experience.

After going through some old family papers, we learned where my husband’s grandparents had been buried so many years ago. So, last weekend, armed with genealogical information, a map, pruning shears and a few other sundry items, we traveled to several cemeteries in one of New York’s boroughs. It was not an ordinary outing. Some engravings of names and dates on tombstones were eroded by years and weather. Other grave markers had fallen over; some were overwrought with vines. But, in the course of a few hours, we located so many relatives dating back centuries. My husband learned about relatives, many of whom he never knew existed.

It was an inspiring trip and by the time returned home,I decided to assemble a “family tree.” The branches are so laden with names and dates, the draft paper now covers my dining room table. You can’t help but wonder who these people were, how they lived, and how they died. We each carry so many genes and traits from our family members, many of whom we didn’t even know. And then, I thought about a real gift I could pass on to my children.

I have prepared a medical family history. To the best of my knowledge I have detailed the diagnoses of my generation and my parents. Hopefully it will provide the detailed family records that physicians may someday request of my children. It's a unique legacy and one that I hope will keep them healthy.