Martin Army Community Hospital to feature women's health at event

With a focus on women's health, Martin Army Community Hospital at Fort Benning is hosting a "Ladies Night Out" on the ground floor atrium of the new facility.

Terry Beckwith, chief of public affairs at the hospital, said health care providers from throughout the community will offer a free evening of pampering, fun and health information from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at 6600 Van Aalst Blvd.

"What we're trying to do is promote health awareness for women," Beckwith said. "As you know, women actually are more susceptible to heart attacks than men are, but often they aren't identified."

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, but women often identify the symptoms as less life-threatening conditions like the flu, acid reflux or normal aging, according to the American Heart Association.

In most families, women are the caretakers. "They are not only taking care of their family but taking care of elderly parents," Beckwith said.

Health information will be available to women at 39 stations. Some of the services include exercise, healthy cooking, diets, colonoscopy, mammograms, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression. Women can have PTSD from serving and how they may have handled stress with their husbands.

"Sometimes, the wife and kids suffer through that," Beckwith said. "We will give them tips and tools."

The event is open to eligible women with an identification card, all retired female veterans and any woman who is married to a retired veteran. Female dependents over age 18 also are eligible.

Beckwith said the hospital is hoping to attract at least 200 women to the event, the first since the $500 million hospital opened in November 2014.

Other than the hospital, sponsors also include the American Red Cross and Tricare, the health-care system for military retirees. Eligible women don't have to call before attending the event.