At the Hot for Your Health conference. Photo by LUXE Creative.

Why are food and nutrition so complicated these days? How do sex and fertility affect social policy? What the heck is the right thing to do when it comes to hormone replacement therapy?

These hot health questions and much more will be addressed on November 3 through 5 at the Women’s Health Conversations consumer conference at August Wilson Center in downtown Pittsburgh.

Let’s take the subject of food, for example, something that should be a pleasure. Things have gotten increasingly complicated, to the point where we don’t know what’s best to eat. Fat-free. Gluten-free. Sugar-free. What’s a girl to do? “The irony is that these ‘free’ diets don’t free us at all. They put more restrictions on us,” says orthopedic surgeon Vonda Wright, MD, medical director of the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, and founder and CEO of Women’s Health Conversations (WHC).

And then there’s the whole GMO issue, which is so pervasive now that the majority of our country’s food crops have been genetically altered. The conference will address how food is all-fried-up in politics and genetic manipulation. Leah Lizarondo, CEO of 412 Food Rescue, will talk about food policy, and sports nutritionist Jeff Lucchino, RDN, CSSD, of UPMC Sports Medicine will set us straight about what to eat.

Dr. Vonda Wright

According to research conducted by Dr. Wright and Campos Research, millennials view sex and their bodies as not merely pleasure zones but as central to wellness, work and policy. A session called “This is Your Body: Sex, Fertility, Reproductive Innovation and Social Policy” will examine leading-edge reproductive and treatment technologies, and the impact of sex and reproduction on not just women’s lives but the social and workplace policies that affect our decision-making. On the docket are researcher Kyle Orwig, PhD who will talk about reproductive technologies available to preserve fertility, gynecologist John Lipman, MD who will discuss non-surgical procedures for healthy reproduction and sex, and La’Tasha D. Mayes, Founder of New Voices for Reproductive Justice

Menopause is another murky area when it comes to women and the best things to do for their health. Let’s be honest: Estrogen is our girlfriend and she abandons us,” quips Dr. Wright. With so much controversy around hormone replacement therapy and menopausal issues, many women aren’t sure where to turn. The subject of HRT and other midlife health concerns was one of the most popular Q&A sessions at last year’s WHC conference. Speaking this year is “midlife authority” Patricia Geraghty, MSN, FNP, nutritionist Janis Jibrin, RD, and OBGYN and “midlife specialist” Mary Peterson, MD.

Dr. Wright established the nonprofit WHC in 2013 with the mission of transforming the nation’s health through today’s generation of women. “Women make up to 80% of the healthcare decisions for everyone—not just themselves but their children, spouses, parents, friends and co-workers,” she explains. “That makes us the chief medical officers for those in our lives, so we need access to real data from real clinicians.”

Dr. Wright invites you to get into the conversation and “experience the science fiction that is now your health reality.” Partnering this year with Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI), this year’s event laser-focuses attention on cutting-edge research that influences women’s health from conception to death.

“We are not uniformly destined to be victims of our genes and genetic disposition,” she argues. “My own research and the data behind the MWRI 9-90TM research initiative demonstrates that we can control our health outcomes and the health of our children throughout our lives.”

The conference rounds up about 50 robustly credentialed presenters and other forward-thinking health and wellness pros who will empower and entertain, while educating attendees on what they need to fortify their bodies, build their brains and make the best health choices. More than 700 women attended in 2015 and this year’s turnout is expected to be even . . . well, healthier.

The event kicks off with “HOT for your Health” on Thursday, November 3. This fast-paced “luxury lifestyle” networking evening will feature mini-TED talks on how “relentless health innovations” are changing lives.

WHC’s two full days of topics run the gamut from better brain health and home workout demos to de-stressing and living happier. Even the beauty segment of the event delves into science, with Nicki Zevola Benvenuti, Founder and CEO of FutureDerm, Inc., telling us what’s in the products we put on our skin. The Blushing Noir blogger Brooke Paluski will offer best beauty tips and Glam Bar Founder Tiffany Fluhme will discuss cosmetic surgery options.

A keynote will be presented by the man who convinced Congress to ban indoor smoking, the 17th US Surgeon General Richard Carmona, MD. (You can thank him in person for your lung health.)

Tickets are $150 for a single day (Friday or Saturday), $250 for both days, $1,500 for single-day tickets for groups of 10, and $2,500 for two-day tickets for groups of 10. Tickets for the November 3 networking event only are $40. Register online

Gina Mazza

Word provocateur. Creative alchemist. Journalist. Nonfiction author. Book editor. Dance enthusiast. Intuitionist. Unexpurgated spiritual diarist. Learn more @