A few weeks ago, Women United members enjoyed their last Lunch and Learn of 2012. The members had the pleasure of listening to and learning from the talented Joyce Irwin. Joyce, like many of us, has had an eclectic career. As she navigated through different opportunities, it became increasingly clear that it was important for her to find a way to marry her personal passion and her career. And with her new role as president of Community Health Foundation, she's doing just that.
Just four days into her new role when she spoke, Joyce shared the lessons she has learned along the way to following her passion. Knowing who you are and what you're good at doing comes first. Assessing your skill set and knowing what you're passionate about helps when you take on a role, allowing you to strike that balance between work and play. Joyce reminded us that we spend a lot of time at work, so we need to have fun there, too – even if that means starting a water gun fight with your co-workers!
It's also important to know what you value in the type of job you have, as well as where you work. Joyce always knew she wanted to give back to others and be in a position where she could make a difference. It was the driver behind her passion for volunteering and working in her community. She also realized early on that developing friendships are important, or what she refers to as "building a foxhole network." We need to take the time to stay in touch and cultivate our relationships. These are the people who will be with you every step of the way and tell you the truth. They will care about you for who you are, not what you are.
Her final lesson was to enjoy the journey. There are always going to be twists and turns along the way. Sometimes you may wonder if you're on the right path. Each situation gives you an opportunity to learn and you never know when you'll need to dig deep in your bag of tricks to accomplish a task.
These lessons were essential in leading Joyce to the place she is today. While she may not have planned it this way, she has found a way to blend her passions and hopes that the advice she shared will help others to find their way.
Thanks again for speaking to our members, Joyce!
Please plan to join us at our next Lunch and Learn event in January with Allison Melangton!
--Alli Latislaw, donor segment intern, United Way of Central Indiana
Editor's note: In July, United Way's Women United members had the pleasure of hearing from Dr. Virginia Caine at their quarterly lunch and learn. Read on for Alli Latislaw's recap of the event and summary of Dr. Caine's presentation.
"The best medicine is when we are giving from our heart." - Dr. Virginia Caine
Do you know the health challenges that Indiana is facing today? Dr. Virginia Caine, director of the Marion County Public Health Department and Associate Professor of Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine Infectious Disease, has the answers. As the guest speaker for our July Lunch and Learn, she spoke to members about the importance of public health and why we as women need to pay attention. Breaking her talk into topics of obesity, hospitalization, and the power of women, she shared some startling statistics. Perhaps one of the most shocking was that as of this year, 1/3 of the women in Indiana are more than 30 pounds overweight, and 1/3 of our children are considered diabetic.
Public health is important because people want to be healthy and live in healthy communities. It has been researched that healthy individuals and communities have a better quality of life, attract employers and keep insurance costs low.
Some of the challenges that are facing Hoosiers are listed here in comparison to the national average:
- High prevalence of smoking at 21.2% of the population (national average: 9.1%)
- Out of 100,000 Hoosiers there are 208.2 deaths annually related to cancer (197.2 deaths average)
- 30.2% of the population in Indiana is considered obese (national average: 21.4%)
- Of Indiana children under the age of 18, are 25.2% are living in poverty (national average 6.2%)
- 13.6% of Hoosiers do not have health insurance
The percentage of the population that is considered more than 30 pounds overweight has tripled in 20 years! One of the reasons for this large increase is the change of portion sizes: meals, drinks and snacks now have double or more the amount of calories and are sold at much larger serving sizes. For example, movie popcorn used to be sold in a three cup carton with 174 calories. Movie popcorn now holds 21 cups of buttered popcorn at 1,700 calories. Remember this the next time you pull through a drive-through window or go to the movies.
The obesity trends among U.S. adults from 1990 to 2010 are listed below:
- In 10 states-10% of the population were 30 lbs overweight
- In 35 states – 10%-14% of the population were 30 lbs overweight
- In 14 states- 15%-19% of the population were 30 lbs overweight
- In 24 states- 20%-24% of the population were 30 lbs overweight
- In 12 states- 25%-29% of the population were 30 lbs overweight
Asthma is another problem that is being faced in Indiana. The residence of urban cities face a disproportionate amount of environmental hazards, including air pollution, secondhand smoke, trash, and population density. In 2009, 32% of people between the ages of 5-15 were hospitalized because of respiratory problems and 20% because of asthma. It is the most common chronic condition in childhood in all of the United States. In Marion County alone, there are over 15,000 children diagnosed with asthma. It is the leading cause of school absence as of 2008. A child with asthma loses 75% more school days than a child who is not affected. That is 14.4 million lost school days in the United States. As of 2009 the cost of hospital charges linked to asthma has cost $30.5 million dollars. Exercise and clean air are the best remedies for asthma.
Dr. Caine provided the group with intriguing facts about the activities of women nationwide. Women:
- purchase 80% of all consumer goods
- purchase half of all cars and personal computers
- account for nearly half of stock owners
- buy 75% of all over-the-counter drugs
- influence 80% of all health care decisions
At the end of Dr. Caine’s insightful presentation, the crowd asked some great questions about public health in Indiana. Here are some of our favorites:
Q. What is causing the increase in allergies?
A. People are now becoming autoimmune to medication because of household products. But the major problem is air pollutions.
Q. Is the overuse of sanitizer bad for you?
A. There is a slight truth behind that theory. But it is the antibodies in the food that we eat and the over use of antibiotics to cure common illnesses that create an increase in the resistance against cures.
Check out photos from the event here. Thanks again, Dr. Caine! We're looking forward to our next lunch and learn, featuring Joyce Irwin. Please join us!
--Alli Latislaw, major gifts intern, United Way of Central Indiana