Focus On Females: Popular Health Symposium Returns To Tampa

Suppose you're a college graduate, working happily as a 1099 independent at a decent hourly rate but getting no benefits and thus have no insurance -- and something goes wrong with your body. Maybe you twist your ankle. Or your back hurts. Or your stomach isn't reacting well to last night's seared tuna. Or your head feels like it just might explode.

Can you relate?

In today's changing medical climate, it can be both difficult and expensive to get reliable answers on health issues.

"The world of healthcare has changed,'' says Dr. Steven Maskin, a Tampa ophthalmologist and the founder of the Focus on Females Healthcare Symposium. "It's no longer the nurturing profession that it used to be.''

So what do you do?

"It's so important to know that you have access to people that care about you and devote themselves to finding solutions to health problems,'' Maskin says. With this goal in mind, Maskin gathers medical professionals annually to answer women's health questions in plain, understandable English.

"Any issue at all --  we're there to help.''

Focus On Females’ Origins

The Focus on Females Healthcare Symposium began in an unlikely place -- Maskin's ophthalmology office.

"My specialty is dry eye and cornea diseases,'' Maskin says. Since dry eye disease is more common and severe in women, he began holding dry eye seminars in his office. A few women would gather for information, and express their frustration and disappointment that more information was not readily available about their condition.

"They weren't getting any answers,'' Maskin says. "They were having a hard time functioning at work and at home on the weekends with their families.''

Maskin created a comfortable atmosphere for these talks, making them successful and informative for his visitors. When Maskin realized the problem extended from his specialty into other fields, he decided to help make healthcare understandable to women on a larger scale.

"When a woman suffers, the whole family suffers. The woman is the nucleus.''

He decided to take his efforts toward making dry eye understandable to women and magnify it by bringing in experts from as many specialties as possible to answer questions and help solve problems. Thus, the Focus on Females Healthcare Symposium was born.

7th Annual FOFH Symposium

This year, Maskin is receiving more support than ever with 27 physicians from more than 20 fields of healthcare on hand at the March 31st event at the Tampa Convention Center. Florida Hospital Tampa will serve as the presenting sponsor.

"This is the second year that we will also have a panel discussion,'' Maskin says. This year's focus will be the future of healthcare in Florida featuring Dr. Madelyn Butler, the former president of the Florida Medical Association, and Dr. Jason Rosenburg and lawyer Alan Levine, two members of Governor Scott's Healthcare Transition Team.

"We have fitness classes, healthcare screenings and chair massages, as we always do, in addition to a sponsor and exhibit area.''

This year's symposium is expected to attract more than 1,800 attendees -- the highest attendance ever, according to Maskin.
 
"We feel that we can reach 5,000 women in a few years,'' says Maskin, who also hopes to move the event into other cities, first in Florida and then across the nation.
 
Maskin has already taken strides to reach women and their families outside of the Tampa Bay region with the Sunday afternoon Focus on Females Radio Healthcare Clinic on radio station 860 AM. Maskin brings an expert on air weekly to answer questions from callers from Tampa and from around the world, citing listeners as far away as England.

With both the symposium and the radio show, Maskin strives to not only help women and their families, but to let patients know that there are doctors willing to help them find the information they need and the understanding they seek.  He keeps a simple mission in mind -- to help women "better partner with their physicians for more effective office visits, to obtain faster results and to reduce the cost of medical and emergency care.''

The Focus on Females Healthcare Symposium will be held on March 31st. Interested participants are urged to register here.

Theresa Woods is a graduate of the University of South Florida, freelance writer and literature nerd living in Tampa. In her spare time, she writes, contemplates her place in the universe and enjoys being an all-purpose geek with her friends. Comments? Contact 83 Degrees.
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