West Vancouver doctor creates conference focusing on women’s health

A few years ago, Dr. Maryam Zeineddin had an idea.

She felt there was a need to address the broad subject of women’s preventative health with a specific plan.

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“I felt like I was ‘Band-Aiding’ a lot,” she says of her work as a family physician in West Vancouver. With four other doctors at her clinic and a roster of 5,000 patients, Zeineddin says too many times she has felt rushed and unable to spend the time she would like to spend with her patients.

Part of the problem can be found in a variety of issues related to the health-care system at large, but Zeineddin feels part of the solution can come from family physicians taking on an advocacy role for their patients.

“If anybody can be the health advocates for a lot of patients, it’s really the family doctor,” she says. “They’re the ones who see the patients frequently and know the details of their lives.”

Although the seed was planted, it took a couple of years before the time was right. A combination of events late last year, including having to diagnose two patients with metastatic cancer, and the election of Donald Trump prompting concerns about the protection of women’s rights, urged Zeineddin to form her idea into a plan.

So she created the Women’s Preventative Health Conference, which is scheduled for Saturday, June 3, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

The one-day conference will feature a Ted Talk-like format and a variety of health specialists from the Lower Mainland, including a cardiologist, psychiatrist, gynecologist, physical therapist and more. All the speakers will provide information about preventative health with a nod to what Zeineddin calls the six pillars of health: staying active, nourishing the body with healthy food, being mindful, connecting to community, setting intention, and focusing on prevention.

“This is a way for women to come together in one room and get evidence-based preventative health information without feeling like they are buying a product or being influenced by a product,” explains Zeineddin.

She is hoping this inaugural conference will be the first of many and serve as a source of information and discussion about preventative health care.  

As more electronic health records and test results become accessible, Zeineddin says it’s an opportunity for patients to become more involved in their care. She is also working on an app post-conference that she hopes will simplify the system for patients to track their own tests, doctor visits, results, referrals and prescriptions to create their own medical file of sorts.

“At the end of the day I want patients to own their own health,” she says.

For more information about the conference and to purchase tickets visit zillihealth.com.

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