Bonnie Gribble reads a great deal about women’s health issues and, in doing so, often finds she has more questions than answers.
That’s one of the reasons she signed up for the Let’s Do Lunch series, beginning Thursday with gynecologist Dr. John Roberts, the first of five such informal luncheon discussions being held to bring women of all ages up to speed on issues such as pap smears and when to have them; HPV and the vaccine, menstrual disorders; menopause; and post-menopausal symptoms.
“The more you get on the Web, the more in read in newspapers and magazines, the more you ask yourself, ‘am I understanding all this,’” Gribble said. “This (series) is an open discussion, so I think we’ll be able to get pretty much all of our questions answered.”
The series is designed to fill in the gaps between what women know and what they want to know. It also, Dr. Roberts said, will update women on changes that have come along that many likely don’t know, including that pap smears aren’t required every year now and are based on a woman’s age.
“There is some eye-opening information that most women probably aren’t even aware of that I’ll be sharing,” Dr. Roberts stressed. “And, hopefully, there will be a lot of interaction, where questions that attendees want or need answers to can be answered.”
Offered by Dr. Roberts and Sampson Regional Medical Center, the series begins at noon Thursday, Feb. 2, in the private dining room at Zeng’s Palace, 411 Southeast Blvd., Clinton. Pre-registration is required and, for the first luncheon, can be made until noon Wednesday. Cost is $5, which covers the price of the family-style lunch. Everyone is invited. You don’t have to be Dr. Roberts’ patient to attend.
“We want everyone who has questions to come out and join us,” Dr. Roberts said.
Unlike a formal lecture, this series, being held bi-monthly on Thursdays through March 29, will be more one-on-one, with the group sharing lunch and discussion in a relaxed setting.
“I won’t just be standing up at a podium lecturing. I’ll share some information, but I’m also there to answer any questions that someone might have,” Dr. Roberts stressed. “I’m really excited about this because it offers a chance, in an informal setting, to answer some questions that I think many women have about a variety of health issues.”
Amber Cava, director of marketing and public relations for SRMC, said the hospital was always interested in providing educational opportunities for residents, and she stressed that this series was one she believed afforded women of any age the opportunity to have lively, informative discussions about some very important and timely topics in women’s health.
“Many times when you go to your gynecologist, you have a limited amount of time to discuss whatever you are there for, the specifics,” Cava pointed out. “It’s a little more difficult to be engaged in an extended conversation.”
The series, she said, opens up a window of time when concerns women have can be discussed informally, issues that weigh on one’s mind but might not be pertinent to whatever reason you visit a doctor’s office for.
“It’ll be more personal, where you can sit down at a table with other women and Dr. Roberts and share your concerns, with one another. Questions may come up that you hadn’t thought about, but actually want to know the answer too. It’s a different approach that we think will be beneficial to everyone who comes.”
Gribble said she believed the series would offer a fount of information she needs and wants to know.
“I’m excited about this. I’m 64, but I’ve still got a lot of questions, and I know most women do. We should be able to get the answers through this series. And there’s something for everyone. I don’t have grandchildren, but a lot of my friends do, so the discussions on HPV will be good for me to hear so I can share it with others.
“There’s something for everyone in this series. And if there’s someone there who might be a little shy to ask a question, who knows, I might just ask something someone else was embarrassed to and they’ll get the answer they need. It’s that relaxed and it’ll be that informative, I really believe.”
It’s that relaxed atmosphere that really drew Roberts to the idea, knowing that he could share with others in a setting that would provide information women need without having to merely lecture to them.
“I decided it would be nice to have such a setting, something very casual yet very informative. I want people to come feeling comfortable enough to ask about their concerns and leave each discussion feeling like they’ve had all their questions answered,” Dr. Roberts stressed.
Gribble believes that won’t be a problem. “I love Dr. Roberts; he’s an expert in his field and he’ll be able to help us resolve some of the concerns we have in our minds.”
Cava concurred. “With Dr. Roberts’ expertise, it was an obvious selection for us to have him do this women’s program.”
Offering the programs at lunch, and with the promise to be in and out during the one hour designated, both Roberts and Cava believe it offers a convenience everyone will like and appreciate.
“From those who are retired to those who are working, this opens up an opportunity that won’t take a long time but will be effective,” Cava said.
“That’s right,” Roberts interjected. “We’ll get our food, start about 12:15 and end a little before 1.”
And Georgina Zeng, Cava said, was thrilled to open her private dining area for the community-oriented event.
“She’s always great to help out when we need her. She is very much in favor of helping out the community. The private dining area gives us privacy yet still allows us that informal setting, Cava noted.
And Gribble plans to be there Thursday and every other Thursday throughout the series. “I’m really excited about this opportunity. Every woman has questions about their health, and this series will help all of us get the answers we need. I sure encourage everyone to sign up. I think they’ll be glad they did.”