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Hadassah Co-Sponsors Workshop at United Nations for 52nd Session of Commission on the Status of Women

Genever McBain

(New York, NY -- March 06, 2008) -- Hadassah’s Department of Women’s Health, in collaboration with the United Nations Non Governmental Organizations’ Committee on Health, Soroptimist International, and the International Humanist and Ethical Union, presented What You Should Know about Cervical Cancer and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) at the 52nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, held at the United Nations in New York City on March 4th.

Over 70 people filled the room for the session, in which participants from all over the world, and many from African nations, heard presentations by Dr. Thomas Wright of Columbia Presbyterian in New York and Dr. Ruanne Barnabas of The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, Washington.

The workshop informed delegates to the CSW meetings about the economic and social impact of HPV and cervical cancer, particularly in the developing world, and discussed the potential of the HPV vaccine to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer. Dr. Wright highlighted the importance of the HPV DNA test as a screening tool for women over 30. The session also addressed how widespread use of the HPV vaccine and the HPV DNA test could reduce a large cancer burden in less developed countries and, in more developed countries, could reduce the incidence of pre-cancers and other frequent genital HPV lesions.

The program was opened by Dr. Jose Pietro Aparicio, Chair, NGO Health Committee, who welcomed the delegates. Janice Greenwald, Hadassah’s UN Chairperson, also gave opening remarks and spoke about Hadassah’s role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, which were created by the UN to combat poverty, hunger, and disease. She provided participants with a comprehensive look at Hadassah’s work in both Israel and developing countries to use medicine as a bridge to peace. Norma S. Gindes, Hadassah’s National Chair of Women’s Health, moderated the session, and Dale L. Mintz, National Director of Women’s Health, closed the meeting by offering the session’s attendees access to Hadassah’s program materials for use in their home countries to educate their communities.

It was an extraordinary opportunity to promote the work of Hadassah and the Women’s Health Department to more than 70 people who may never have come into contact with Hadassah and were unaware of the global impact Hadassah has on health care and education. The success of the session was reflected in the delegates’ response: as Ms. Gindes indicated, “Many of the attendees approached us after the program asking for more information about the HPV program and how they can bring it to the women of their native countries.”

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