2011 Nurse Conference - Lunch & Learn with Padma Lakshmi


What you don't know about Endometriosis

and why you should

Hosted by EFA Co-Founder

Emmy-nominated "Top Chef" Host, Supermodel, Designer, Food Expert,
Award-Winning Author & Successful Entrepreneur

Presented in Collaboration with

October 29, 2011



Our Foundation was extremely pleased to have a full event, despite the unexpected weather!  Nurses from the tristate region schools, clinics, universities, private practices and associations joined us for a seated luncheon, networking and dialogue with panelists and presentations by
EFA President, Tamer Seckin, MD, FACOG
New York Center for Endometriosis Surgery
Wendy Winer, RN, BSN, CNOR
The Center for Endometriosis Care
"Dear Donna" Cardillo, RN, MA, "The Career Guru for Nurses"
Nursing Spectrum, NurseWeek, &
with introductory remarks by
Phyllis Yezzo, RN, MS, CPHQ, Chief Nurse Executive
Lenox Hill Hospital
and a very special Guest Appearance by
Vijaya Lakshmi, RN, MPH


176 million women and girls suffer from endometriosis, an enigmatic disease that often presents early on in a girl's life yet continues to be subject to nearly a decade or more in delay of diagnosis. Indeed, studies have shown that nearly 70% of teens with pelvic pain were ultimately later diagnosed with endometriosis; by then, the disease may have become severely advanced and caused years of chronic pain, infertility, sexual dysfunction, bowel or bladder issues and poor quality of life. By conferring diagnosis and effective treatment early on in a young woman's life, however, it is entirely possible to live well in spite of endometriosis.

It is the mission of the Foundation to provide today's healthcare professionals with the education they need to make a positive difference in the lives of their patients. Symptom recognition; dispelling of myths and taboos associated with menstruation - particularly in the adolescent setting; understanding disease pathophysiology, progression and impact on a girl's life from her academic aspirations to her relationships with friends and family to her social interactions; gold standard treatment; referral and education resources for the younger constituency; embracing the nurse leader's role as the true public health expert and so much more were presented by the day's expert keynotes.  Nearly 100 nurse professionals from the school, university, clinic and other adolescent settings joined us to collaborate towards progress in endometriosis intervention.

After welcoming remarks by the EFA's Director of Education and event facilitator Heather Guidone, lectures began with Phyllis Yezzo, the Chief Nurse Executive of Lenox Hill Hospital and a leader in the nursing community.  Phyllis set the tone for the day's agenda by reiterating the important role nurses hold in reaching young women and teens.  She then introduced the day's host and event sponsor, EFA Co-Founder Padma Lakshmi, who bravely shared her personal perspective of endometriosis to lend a face and a name to the disease. Speaking openly, Ms. Lakshmi offered delegates in attendance a poignant and little-known look into her years of misdiagnosis and the painful symptoms that plagued her for decades.  She went on to encourage the nurses to advocate for the young women in their lives, looking for hallmark signs of endometriosis and to intervene for early diagnosis and proper treatment so that the daughters of tomorrow are not made to suffer in silence as so many women of today have been.

Very special guest Vijaya Lakshmi, RN, MPH was then introduced by her daughter Padma.  A leader in nursing care and education, Vijaya related her experiences as a health professional and the mother of an endometriosis survivor. In keeping with the theme of the day, she shared personal anecdotes and experiences in order to illustrate the importance of endometriosis as a priority women's health issue across all ages.

A seated lucheon was accompanied by remarks from John McEuen, the partner of a woman who battled endometriosis for years.  A world-renowned entertainer with over 40 years in the music industry, John gave insight to the couple's experience and offered an interesting analogy to sleep apnea - specifically, "you don't know you have it until someone tells you that you should get tested".

Moving on to the day's academic lectures, the world's best known RN Surgical Expert, Wendy Winer, RN, BSN, CNOR, RNFA of the Center for Endometriosis Care took the floor to give an in-depth review of the disease from pathophysiology to societal impact. Her "Endometriosis 101" lecture reviewed the origins and theories surrounding the disease and segued into the personal and societal toll endometriosis takes not only on those affected, but all of those around them as well.  Ending with a review of surgical excision as the gold-standard treatment, Wendy turned the floor over to EFA's Founder & President, Dr. Tamer Seckin, who continued the review of surgical excision from the practitioner's perspective.

A world leader in advanced gynecologic surgery, Dr. Seckin's unique 3D models were a highlight of the day.  Sharing live animation to take attendees through the process  - and importance - of surgical excision, Dr. Seckin also reviewed the EFA's cornerstone of research interests; stem cells and promotion of improved, quality surgery.  As introduced by his Foundation's Director of Education, Dr. Seckin is a visionary; his passion to heal women and unlock the mysteries of this disease have taken him around the world where he trains the next generation of surgeons and advocates for global progress on the illness.

The day's presentations were tied up by The Nurse Guru, "Dear Donna" Cardillo.  Known internationally as a three time best-selling author, keynote speaker, nursing leader, expert blogger for Dr. Oz, columnist for, NurseWeek and Nursing Spectrum, Donna speaks from the heart with humor, inspiration and a dynamic ability to empower nurses to embrace their roles as true community health experts.  She encouraged all those in attendance to grab the reins and elevate endometriosis among their young constituency while simultaneously reaching their own professional potential.

A lively and robust Q&A/dialogue session followed, facilitated by EFA Nurse Friends Jennifer Grossman, RN, Panel Chair and Melanie Reyes, RN of Caregiver Select. Discussions ranged from in-depth symptoms to prevalence of endometriosis after menopause; how to adapt diet and nutrition/lifestyle measures to help with symptomology; use of medical suppression; optimal timing to perform excision surgery; and much more.

A high note of the day was the unveiling of the EFA's new awareness poster, conceived by Padma and designed by creative genius Serin Seckin.  Designed to hang on the walls of offices, locker rooms, gymnasiums, clinics, community centers and other common areas with the intent of raising awareness about symptoms and how to reach out to the EFA for help and additional resources, the posters were overwhelmingly received - and cleaned out!  We are in the process of doing another print run to meet the outstanding demands of those who want additional copies for their colleagues; should you like to obtain your copy of the poster or the young woman's education kit, contact us today at  Help spread the word!

Virtually all the nurses in attendance were galvanized to become further involved, requesting additional symposia of this kind and information on ways to become a part of the EFA.  We are so honored and encouraged by the interest and plan on pursuing additional nurse-specific activities - stay tuned!

Thank you again to all those who braved the weather to join us at this novel, groundbreaking event. We are grateful to all who attended as well as our speakers, panelists, organizers, all those who supported us through donations and efforts including Danskin, and our event partner, Lenox Hill Hospital.  We couldn't have done it without you!

Members of Press ONLY, please direct all media inquiries to:

Mary Kaye Daniels, B|W|R Public Relations
P: 212-901-3938 |

Upon successful completion of this CE activity 2.75 hours of Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) was awarded. The North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the New York State Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. It has been assigned code 7VFPND-PRV-09-193.