By: Red Hot Mamas
Published: June 2, 2010
On the evening of February 9th, Red Hot Mamas founder, Karen Giblin and women’s health expert, Dr. Bruce Bekkar, spoke to an excited audience of over 375 Red Hot Mamas (and Papas!) at the Thrasher-Horne Arts Center in Orange Park, FL. The local Red Hot Mamas group at Orange Park Medical Center was in attendance for a special free event called, “Making Midlife Magic: Menopause and Beyond.”
The event was an educational workshop focusing on teaching couples about what to expect from perimenopause, menopause, and how to maintain a positive attitude during the transition. Women and their partners were encouraged to attend for information and practical advice with topics ranging from hormone therapy to prescriptions for good sex. One main focus of the event was about communicating and opening lines of communication with partners so they can become the supportive significant others they strive to be.
The room glowed with a bright “Red Hot”color. Attendees were greeted by a large number of giant, bright red balloons that were tied around the room. Many women who were already Red Hot Mamas members proudly sported their radiant, red t-shirts. Couples flowed through the door at a steady rate until a whopping 375 people were assembled in the auditorium.
Before the program started, the attendees helped themselves to a buffet dinner and mingled about the variety of complimentary health information and screenings made available for this event. Handouts and health literature were provided by the American Stroke Association, the American Diabetes Association, the American Cancer Society and more. Couples made their rounds gathering information and talking to representatives from these various organizations. They asked questions and collected helpful resources to further their understanding of many health topics associated with menopause.
About ten enthusiastic hospital volunteers escorted people to their seats for the commencement of the speakers’ presentations. The couples were welcomed to their seats by bright red goody bags filled to the brim with handouts to accompany the presentation, “Questions to ask your doctor”, event flyers, learning objectives, pens, and much more. Fervent guests poked through their bags awaiting the beginning of the presentation.
During the program, Karen Giblin and Dr. Bekkar offered an abundance of information to attendees. Both speakers were energized by the welcoming crowd. Dr. Bekkar was relaxed and didn’t skip a beat as he gave the group a taste of his stand-up comedy. His comic relief eased everyone’s tension as he introduced topics that are usually tip-toed around by couples. Men can become uncomfortable talking about a woman’s anatomy but Dr. Bekkar’s straightforward, comedic manner offered a different approach.
For one of Dr. Bekkar’s very amusing activities, he asked the attendees to sketch a woman’s reproductive anatomy, ovaries and all. After all drawings were submitted, Dr. Bekkar revealed the winners. To avoid embarrassing anyone, he showed the winners from a previous event. The group burst out in laughter at the lack of detail most displayed. From two lines on a piece of paper to bunny rabbit drawings, the couples were amazed to see other people lacked the same knowledge of a woman’s anatomy as themselves!
Holding back her laughter as she approached the podium, Karen Giblin introduced her topics, personal experiences and a woman’s approach to menopause. In a composed fashion that is characteristic of most of her presentations, Karen’s topics discussed the many symptoms of menopause. Her encouraging remarks helped many members of the audience as they did not previously know how to deal with the emotional, hormonal upheaval associated with the menopausal experience. Karen’s presentation was light, amusing and optimistic as she approached every topic (including the typically difficult subject of sex) with a gracious smile.
Attendees also had a chance to talk. For half an hour, the audience participated in a breakout session. This time was specifically designed for the men to separate from the women and ask any questions or thoughts they had on their minds. Dr. Bekkar congregated with the men in a different room than where Karen hosted the ladies. The remarks were kept confidential and never shared among the two groups. The questions and comments that most refrained from asking in the presence of their loved ones were shared. The feedback from both groups was overwhelmingly positive. Everyone enjoyed the time they had to ask and participate in personal discussions.
At the closing ceremony, the men participated in a graduation ceremony. The men’s names were called as they proudly walked to the stage. They accepted their diplomas that read they were now “supportive squeezes”. The commencement officially ended as each one of them shook hands with their instructors, Dr. Bekkar and Karen Giblin.
The feedback from the event attendees has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic and positive. Jill Buie, the Red Hot Mamas program director at Orange Park Medical Center comments, “We definitely reached our target audience. The turnout and exposure for our program was tremendous.” Although the men primarily stayed by their partners most of the time during the event, Ms. Buie states, “It can be awkward for men to discuss these topics but it would be great if they attended all of our programs. The split apart (breakout session) was good. Questions can get personal and this time gave the men a chance to speak out.”
Many thanks are due to Jill Buie, the Red Hot Mamas Program Director at Orange Park Medical Center, who did an outstanding job of coordinating the logistics and helping to get the word out about this event. Many thanks also go out to Noven Pharmaceuticals who was sponsored the program through an unrestricted educational grant. In addition, much appreciation is extended to the staff at Orange Park Medical Center for their continued support of the Red Hot Mamas Program.
If you are interested in attending or hosting an event like “Making Midlife Magic: Menopause and Beyond”, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org