By Mylika Scatliffe,
AFRO Women’s Health Writer

Communities are at their best when pulling together for a common cause. Leadership Baltimore County (LBC) is a community leadership program with a mission to improve opportunities and the quality of life for its citizens. It operates with three main pillars in mind; to educate leaders about the challenges and opportunities of the county, to enhance the effectiveness of its leaders, and to inspire and motivate them to use their knowledge and skills to improve the community with civic engagement and by taking action.

LBC recognizes the unprecedented toll COVID-19 has taken on community residents, particularly women. They’ve partnered with the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA), Johns Hopkins Medicine, and the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland to host an online event called “Navigating Women’s Health, Wellness, and Advocacy.” The event’s purpose is to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on women’s mental and physical fitness.

The last two years unearthed layered implications for women’s health. Women bear the larger share of caregiving at home. They take care of children and spouses, and increasingly as part of the sandwich generation, parents, and grandchildren.  In addition, women, and children in already untenable home situations due to domestic violence, physical, and sexual abuse found them to be exacerbated by restrictions because of the shutdown.

Informational Flyer for Navigating Women’s Health, Wellness, and Advocacy (Courtesy photo)

This wellness event is the first of its kind for LBC, and will be moderated by Violet Apple, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Central Maryland. Three dynamic panelists will be featured:

  • Neda Gould, Ph.D. – Director of Mindfulness Program, Johns Hopkins Medicine
  • Lisae C. Jordan – Executive Director & Counsel, Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA)
  • Erica Martin Richards, M.D. Ph.D. – Chair of Psychiatry at Sibley Memorial Hospital

While the topics may have some overlap, they’ll be approached from three specific lenses.  The panelists will delve into the issues surrounding women’s physical and mental health and reveal ways to continue to cope and be healthier.  They will provide a landscape of the issues and ask questions in the hopes of encouraging conversations around the specific concerns and experiences of those attending the event.  LBC wishes for this event to help move toward eliminating stigma and normalize talking about mental health, domestic violence and abuse, and substance abuse. “While strides have been made toward removing the shame surrounding these issues, we still have a long way to go,” said Amanda Zinn, president of LBC.  

“We hope to discover ways to heal, discuss possible treatment options and build a network of people that have a common story,” said Ann-Marie Thornton, former LBC board member and current member of the Alumnae Engagement Committee. “Mental health also takes a toll on physical health. Women are often the central character in home life, and we need to be aware of mindfulness and self-care.  Just like when you’re on the airplane, you have to put on your mask and breathe before you can help anyone else.”

The Navigating Women’s Health, Wellness, and Advocacy event will take place on zoom on Thursday, March 17, 2022.   For more information, or if you would like to sponsor members of your organization and/or corporation to attend this event, please visit the LBC website at leadbaltimore.org.   You may also visit the website if you are interested in applying for the 2022-2023 session of Leadership Baltimore County. The deadline for applications is May 31, 2022.

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