Forsyth Medical Center’s Maya Angelou Center for Women’s Health and Wellness has wasted little time in making a name for itself.
It officially opened in June, and today is kicking off its first high-profile powwow. Experts in various health and wellness-related fields have come from around the globe to take part in the Maya Angelou International Women’s Health Summit. They will discuss the barriers that often stand between women and girls and the healthy, safe lives they deserve.
Betty Makoni is working each day in her native Zimbabwe to remove such barriers. She founded the Girl Child Network Zimbabwe to help young girls who have been victims of rape. Girls are especially vulnerable in certain parts of Africa, where AIDS/HIV rates are extremely high. There is a myth that if a man with HIV rapes a virgin, he will be cured of the virus.
Makoni deals with the aftermath of that myth. Often, the girls she rescues are not only broken and frightened, but also HIV-infected. It is believed that this remarkable woman has rescued more than 35,000 young girls, and the work of Makoni’s organization has spread to Uganda, Sierra Leone and other African nations.
Makoni will talk about her work at the Summit, and the acclaimed documentary that highlights her, “Tapestries of Hope,” will also be screened.
Other internationally-recognized summit speakers include Kathryn Bolkovac, a former UN Police Force monitor who has produced a documentary, “The Whistleblower,” about the efforts to end sex-trafficking in Bosnia; Imani Walker, the charismatic co-founder of the Rebecca Project, which advocates on behalf of “vulnerable women and girls in the United States and Africa;” and Mary E. Singletary, the president of the more than 100-year-old National Council of Women of the United States. Also, dozens of equally-respected experts will take part in the three-day (Sept. 27 – 29) summit.
We applaud Dr. Chere Gregory for organizing such a far-reaching summit. We have always known that Gregory, director of neurosciences at Forsyth Medical Center, is the kind of doctor that truly cares about this community. Though Forsyth Medical is known for its innovative stroke treatments, Gregory will be the first to tell you that she doesn’t want to see you as one of her patients.
She imparts the importance of healthy, preventive living to the church, community and seniors groups she regularly addresses.
Gregory is among the most respected in her field and an inspiration to many. This community and Forsyth Medical are lucky to have her.
Learn more about the summit, which is open to the public, at HYPERLINK “http://www.mayaangelouhealthsummit.org” www.mayaangelouhealthsummit.org.