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  September 30, 2002

Conference to Examine Women's Moods
By Janice Palmer

What causes women's moods? The topic, often the source of misunderstand ing and ridicule, will be the theme of the 16th Women's Health Update on Thursday, October 10.

The conference, sponsored by the School of Nursing, the UConn Women's Center and CIGNA HealthCare of Connecticut, will be held at La Renaissance in East Windsor from 3:30-7:30 p.m.

"We hope this event will provide answers and reassurances at a time when most women's lives and moods are being pushed to new extremes," says Laura Dzurec, dean of the School of Nursing. "Scientific progress has enhanced our understanding of hormones, brain function and the effects of some medicines on mood, and we feel it is important to share these latest advances with our community."

Lt. Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who recently chaired the governor's task force on maternal depression, will be among the speakers. Another task force member will join her on the podium. Cheryl Beck is a professor of nursing at UConn who has received international recognition for work on postpartum mood disorders and the development of the Postpartum Depression Screening Scale. Beck's presentation will focus on a variety of disorders including postpartum depression, psychosis, panic disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Jeanne Watson Driscoll, a certified adult psychiatric-mental health clinical nurse specialist in private practice, will present "Hormones, Stress, and the Brain." She will explain why a woman's unique brain chemistry makes her vulnerable to mood and anxiety problems and will emphasize the importance of self-care. Driscoll is author of a book, Women's Moods. She is co-founder and a principle of the Hestia Institute: Center for Women and Families, in Wellesley, Mass., which focuses on the psychiatric assessment, intervention, treatment, consultation and research regarding women's emotional well being and mental health.

Nancy Valentine is CIGNA HealthCare's national nurse executive in medical and health policy. In her presentation, "Moods, Blues and Depression Across the Life Spectrum," Valentine will discuss the opportunities women have to set the managed care agenda.

The conference will be capped-off by Regina Barreca, a renowned author and humorist who will present her views on how a mother's triumphs, struggles and laughter shapes her daughter's life and destiny.

Barreca is a professor of English and feminist theory at UConn and the author of seven books. The conference's first 300 registrants will receive a free copy of Barreca's newest book, Don't Tell Mama: The Penguin Book of Italian American Writing.

The cost of the event is $50. To reserve a seat, please contact the UConn School of Nursing (860) 486-3716 or the Women's Center (860) 486-4738.

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