Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 18
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
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Vieira, Robach, Anne-Marie Slaughter Coming To Healthy Woman’s Forum

Ellen Gilbert

NBC TODAY show anchor Meredith Vieira is reported to have readily agreed to be a featured guest at the Healthy Woman’s Forum scheduled for Wednesday, June 1, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village. Instead of simply talking at the audience, however, Ms. Vieira will head a lunchtime panel that will include Saturday TODAY show anchor Amy Robach and her husband, actor Andrew Shue; U.S. Department of State Director of Policy Planning Anne-Marie Slaughter; Women’s Health Fellowship founder Kathleen Thomsen; and pain management expert Stephanie Byerly.

“Conferences often bring in a star,” reflected Princeton-based psychologist and event co-organizer, Princeton Psychological Partners director Sharon Rose Powell. “The audience listens, nods, laughs — and then it’s business as usual.” Ms. Vieira’s lunchtime panel is one way that Ms. Powell and co-organizer Princeton Weight Loss founder Joyce Hofmann hope to make the outcome of this conference more memorable.

Another way is making sure that everyone who attends is also a participant. Interactive workshops on sexual and mental health, losing weight and keeping it off, the power of healing through acupuncture and meditation, raising children with less stress, and other timely subjects will be led by physicians (including two breast cancer experts), mental health professionals, and experienced facilitators.

The current $75 registration fee, which is due on or before May 20 includes forum activities, a continental breakfast, lunch, and lots of giveaways. After May 20, the fee will be $100 per person.

Getting Ms. Vieira to sign on was “huge,” according to Ms. Hofmann. “She’s the perfect woman to do it; someone women respect and admire.” The organizers’ TODAY show connections also proved instrumental in arranging for the forum to be filmed as part of an upcoming segment that will explore critical issues affecting women’s physical and mental health.

Anxious to have women speak to each other across generations, the organizers are hoping that the TODAY Show filming will look at the forum through the eyes of two women; one younger, the other older. “Women who are older have so much to pass on, and younger women can be role models for healthy lifestyles,” observed Ms. Powell.

A postcard alerting Forum participants about the date and air time of the TODAY Show segment will also provide an opportunity for the organizers to do some follow up on what they hope will be the lasting effects of the event.

All of the guest panelists and workshop leaders will be there as volunteers, noted Ms. Powell, emphasizing the positive response she and Ms. Hofmann have received since they began brainstorming about a program that would address both the physical and psychological concerns of women who are often juggling careers and raising a family.

Looking ahead, Ms. Hofmann anticipates building on the remarkable interest and support she and Ms. Powell have received so far. “We’re not stopping here.”

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