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  September 23, 2002

Women's Health Conference
Commemorates Legacy of Caring
By Maureen McGuire

The memory of a gentle, caring woman and the generosity of her husband were honored during the dedication of the new Charlotte Johnson Hollfelder Center for Women's Health on Sept. 10 at the Health Center.

Charlotte Johnson Hollfelder was a breast cancer survivor who died of an unrelated illness in 1996. In her lifetime, she was known for her kind and caring demeanor.

Image: Peter Deckers
Peter Deckers, executive vice president of the Health Center, speaks during the dedication of the Charlotte Johnson Hollfelder Center for Women's Health September 10.

Photo by Peter Morenus

When she died, her husband, Fred Hollfelder, made many gifts to the Health Center in her memory. One such gift established the Charlotte Johnson Hollfelder Foundation, which has helped hundreds of uninsured and underinsured women receive mammograms and other vital medical services; another gift established a $1.75 million endowment through the UConn Foundation to support the new Charlotte Johnson Hollfelder Center for Women's Health.

The new women's health center was dedicated during a ceremony in the hospital lobby, attended by more than 100 people.

"Seeing Charlotte's name over this beautiful new center is a dream come true," Fred Hollfelder said during the ceremony. "After I lost Charlotte, there were two things I wanted to do: memorialize her and carry on her legacy of caring for others."

He noted that his wife was unusually kind. "If one person who walks through the doors of this women's health center is inspired to do more for others, to give more to others, because of Charlotte's example, than this is truly a success," he said.

"The creation of a women's health center, which will provide individualized care for thousands of women, is a fitting tribute to Charlotte," he added.

Dr. Kristen Zarfos, a Health Center surgeon and medical director of women's health services, said that having a center dedicated exclusively to women's health will allow care to be more coordinated. "One of the leading complaints about American health care today is fragmentation and lack of coordination," she said. "Women are yearning for specialized health care and education. Surveys reveal that women want all of this in a central, accessible and comfortable place. The Charlotte Johnson Hollfelder Center for Women's Health provides this."

The women's health center will offer a variety of women's health services, including obstetrics and gynecology, maternal-fetal medicine, care for women with osteoporosis, and new services such as integrative medicine consultations and classes.

In addition, following an abnormal mammogram, breast health specialists will see patients for their first visit in the new women's health center, rather than in the UConn Cancer Center.

The Charlotte Johnson Hollfelder Center for Women's Health will also be home to Celebrate Women, the Health Center's new, free membership program that offers access to information and educational programs about women's health services. Nearly 2,500 women have joined the program since the spring.

Some women's specialty health services, such as urogynecology and dermatology, will remain in office locations on the Farmington campus, as well as at the East Hartford and West Hartford offices of UConn Health Partners. Patients at the women's health center will be closely linked to these services, however.

The women's health center has recently been remodeled. What was once administrative space has been transformed into a 3,300 square-foot, state-of-the-art center with nine examination rooms, a procedure room, and a comfortable waiting area.

A portrait of Charlotte Johnson Hollfelder, unveiled at the end of the dedication, now hangs in the waiting area. Below her portrait are four words that describe her life and her spirit: "She cared about others."