For more than 40 years, the International Women's Forum (IWF) has cultivated strong leadership around the globe. The invite-only organization has nearly 7,000 members spread across 33 countries and six continents, with decision-makers from Fortune 500 companies, government, the non-profit sector, the arts, and science among the network.
That includes decision-makers in Pittsburgh, where Karen Feinstein and several dozen fellow women leaders founded a chapter of IWF in 1996. In October, representatives of the Pittsburgh chapter traveled to Miami, FL to attend the three-day 2018 IWF World Leadership Conference and discuss the possibility of creating a women's health-focused interest group among IWF members.
The Pittsburgh contingent included Dr. Feinstein, who served as president of the IWF Pittsburgh chapter from 1997-1999; Kenya Boswell, president of the BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania; IWF Pittsburgh Vice President Debra L. Caplan; Betty Lamb, a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley; and IWF Pittsburgh President Aradhna Oliphant, who is also the president and CEO of Leadership Pittsburgh, Inc.
On October 24, Dr. Feinstein organized a pre-conference women leaders in health care luncheon along with Caplan and Fleur Sack, MD, a member of the Florida chapter of IWF. More than 40 IWF members with backgrounds in women's health, mental health, pediatrics, and social services attended the luncheon.
Dr. Feinstein provided an overview of WHAMglobal, JHF's supporting organization that is committed to improving maternal and infant health outcomes, as an example of what a strong women's group can accomplish when focused on a health-related goal. She explained that during a study tour of Australia's maternal and infant health system in the spring of 2018, members of the WHAMglobal team attended the IWF Cornerstone Conference in Melbourne and started the conversation about creating a health interest group within IWF. During the luncheon, attendees discussed ways to share the inspiring personal stories and accomplishments of IWF members and identified some common areas of interest, including issues related to end-of-life care, mental health, and adolescent health.
While in town, the IWF Pittsburgh contingent also went on a site visit to the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies Simulation Hospital. The state-of-the-art building features training environments that focus on emergency care, obstetrics, and home health care, among other specialties. IWF Florida member Emily Berlin accompanied the Pittsburgh members on the tour, which was organized by Dr. Sack.
The trip to Miami concluded with the World Leadership Conference and an enthusiastic endorsement from IWF leadership to create a special interest group for women working in health care, led by Dr. Feinstein, Caplan, and Dr. Sack.