Photos by: Thomas Neerken Photography
Nearly 400 guests gathered at the UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center on May 2, 2018, to attend the inaugural #WOW The Wonder of Women Summit, which brought together thought leaders and trailblazers in science, health and culture for a day of learning and connection.
Presented by The Friends of the Semel Institute and the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital Board of Advisors, the event was kicked off by co-chairs Cece Feiler and Terry Hyman Hamermesh. Resnick board member Lisa Kudrow of Friends fame served as emcee. Speakers and panelists focused on topics related to women’s mental and physical health in a global environment, and proceeds from the event benefited mental health education, research and clinical care programs at UCLA. During the morning program, Johnese Spisso, MPA, president of UCLA Health, CEO of the UCLA Hospital System and associate vice chancellor for UCLA Health Sciences, delivered welcoming remarks, and media entrepreneur and global speaker Mallika Chopra led a group meditation. British entrepreneur and TV host Poppy Jamie, one of Forbes’ “30 under 30,” addressed the theme of social well-being and introduced Happy Not Perfect, her app designed as a “mind refresh” to help build inner fulfillment.
Panels included a discussion moderated by Kudrow about the influence of media on social change, featuring actress Candice Bergen, star of Murphy Brown, and the show’s creator, writer and producer Diane English. Dr. Robin Berman, associate professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences and Resnick board member, moderated another panel about women’s health, featuring Dr. Sheryl Ross, an award-winning OB/GYN and author; Dr. Ava Shamban, board-certified dermatologist, author and researcher; and Dr. Gail Wyatt (PhD ’73), director of the UCLA Sexual Health Program and of the Center for Culture, Trauma, and Mental Health Disparities.
Dr. Karol E. Watson (RES ’92, FEL ’97, PhD ’98), director of the UCLA Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Health Program and a national leader in the field, spoke about the role of external factors in heart health, such as stress and sleep disruption. “You cannot take care of your heart unless your mind, spirit and soul are well,” she said. Amanda Daniels, who co-founded the first peer-led support group in Los Angeles for women living with heart disease, also shared her personal and inspirational story.
The summit concluded with a heartfelt discussion between Dr. Edythe London, a leading researcher at the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, and special guests Talinda Bennington, champion for 320 Changes Direction, named in memory of her husband, singer Chester Bennington of Linkin Park; Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, president of the nonprofit she founded, Give An Hour, that provides free mental health services to the military and veteran community; and Anna Shinoda, author, mental health advocate and passionate supporter of 320 Changes Direction. Bennington shared insights from her deeply personal experience of love and loss, and the panel addressed the meaning of resilience and the need for a shift in culture to support people who are suffering emotionally. “It’s an extremely exciting time to be in brain research and a great time for activism to change the conversation and reduce the stigma,” Dr. London said.
For more information, contact Karen Colimore at: 310-267-0496