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Copywrite 2001-2004, California Science Center
Media Contact:  Shell Amega, Paula Wagner or Isela Castillo
September 12, 2003
New Knowledge Prompts First-of-its-Kind Exhibit: The Changing Face of Women’s Health Opens at the California Science Center
April 3 - June 6, 2004

Los Angeles - The Changing Face of Women’s Health, a national touring exhibit making its local debut at the California Science Center, makes a dramatic statement in terms of just how far women’s health has come in the last 50 years -- with visuals, video, art and interactive exhibits.

Why the fine-line focus on females? Because an explosion of new knowledge has changed dramatically what we know about the female sex and, therefore, her health risks and how to look for, prevent and treat disease.

The Changing Face of Women’s Health will

  • dispel misconceptions of what ranks as the #1 killer of women (it’s heart disease, not breast cancer)
  • spotlight landmark studies that changed our understanding not only of women’s health, but forged the way for new and innovative treatments for males
  • showcase the most up-to-date scientific information on women’s health
  • promote learning, prompt open discussion and impress upon visitors the role each one of us -- young and old, male or female -- can take in maximizing our health

The Changing Face of Women’s Health addresses why many American women are “conditioned” to be obsessed with body image, illuminates how the actions of our youth have a huge impact on our later years, and touches on issues universally experienced by women at every stage of life. The exhibit, which runs through the summer, is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, MetLife Foundation and Pfizer Women’s Health.

The Changing Face of Women’s Health is an immersive exhibition that encourages participants not only to see and hear the progress made in this field of modern medicine, but to touch and become actively “engaged.

  • See for yourselves “bones full of holes.” Osteoporosis is a disease that thins and weakens bones to the point that they break easily. Half of all American women over 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture. Look through magnifiers to see the proof of this debilitating disease.
  • What happens when arteries become clogged with enough fatty deposits to turn the flow of blood to a trickle? Witness for yourself how your heart works overtime to offset the effects of poor diet, smoking and stress.
  • Detect the lumps in actual breast models that doctors and nurses use in their training programs. Overlaid outlines reveal where lumps are located, as well as instructions on how to perform a breast self-exam.
  • Vote on what you would most like to change about yourself, then compare with results from other exhibit visitors.

As much as anything, though, The Changing Face of Women’s Health is about real women telling real stories, demonstrating vividly via true experience the unique challenges we encounter, the fears we all face, the decisions we must make and the strength we all possess.

  • Meet real-life women who’ve battled and beaten diseases that until just recently were considered incurable. Through video, these heroic survivors are living testaments that today’s women can speak up and take a more proactive, hands-on approach in their day-to-day health care.
  • Hear women discuss the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy, genetic testing and routine health screens and why they made the decisions they did.
  • Listen to women of all ages as they talk about menarche and menopause.

The Changing Face of Women’s Health will reveal how far we’ve come in the past 50 years -- and how far we have to go. It reinforces how much we’re learning every day -- and how much more there is to learn.

  • Science and medicine, for example, now recognize male-female differences in brain function and the ways we metabolize drugs, circulate blood and resist infection.
  • Increased spending on research into breast cancer and osteoporosis, both of which affect more men than is widely known, has given rise to new treatments that benefit men as well as women.
  • Women’s health activism has changed the American doctor-patient relationship, encouraging an attitude that takes stress and emotional state into account and reinforces a new proactive stance reiterating that the more we understand both causes and cures, the better we can make smart choices and live the healthiest lives possible.

The exhibit was developed by the National Health Sciences Consortium, which includes: the California Science Center, Los Angeles; the Exploratorium, San Francisco; the Franklin Institute Science Museum, Philadelphia; Maryland Science Center, Baltimore; Museum of Science, Boston; Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago; National Museum of Health and Medicine, Washington DC; New York Hall of Science, New York City; and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Portland.

Note to Editors: The California Science Center is located at 700 State Drive – Exposition Park, Los Angeles. Enter visitor parking at 39th & Figueroa; parking is $6 per car. Activities are on all three floors of the Science Center. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to Science Center exhibits is free; for general information, phone 323.SCIENCE (323.724-3623) or visit our website at http://www.californiasciencecenter.org/. Both the Science Center and IMAX Theater are wheelchair accessible.

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