About Our Founder and Chief Strategist
Founder and Chief Strategist, The National Speaking of Women’s Health Foundation
Dianne Dunkelman, Founder and Chief Strategist of the National Speaking of Women’s Health Foundation (NSWHF), began the organization in 1996 as a one-day women’s health event in Cincinnati. Her leadership has been the inspiration for the expansion of Speaking of Women’s Health® to a national foundation with more than 50 conferences and events in more than 40 cities nationwide.
In December of 2008, under the guidance of Ms. Dunkelman, a number of the branded projects of the National Speaking of Women's Health Foundation were transferred to the Cleveland Clinic Center for Specialized Women's Health. Those branded projects included Speaking of Women’s Health, Universal Sisters, an outreach program dedicated to African-American women and Hablando de la Salud de la Mujer, an outreach program dedicated to Hispanic women. Other branded projects, such as Growing Together, Connecting for Life and Speaking to Men About Health, were maintained by NSWHF.
Dianne continues to inspire women to empower themselves to live the Speaking of Women’s Health motto: “Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be in Charge.” Nationwide events include the signature Speaking of Women’s Health® conferences and special programs like Universal Sisters® to celebrate health and soul for women of color and especially address the unique health concerns of African-American women, Hablando de la Salud de la Mujer® to honor culture and heritage while addressing the health issues specific to Hispanic women and Growing Together, Connecting for Life™ to engage mothers and other women of influence in conversations about health, beauty and self-esteem with their pre-teen daughters. Dianne was also responsible for the development of Speaking to Men About Health. The health of men became a strong passion for Dianne when her husband Jay died of colon cancer in 2004.
Under Dianne’s guidance, Speaking of Women’s Health secured local and national sponsors supporting its programs, publications and events.
Dianne has been a driving force of bringing information to women so they understand and recognize their health-care choices. Her foundation has caught the eye of celebrities such as Florence Henderson, Valerie Simpson, Mary Wilson and Dottie Peoples who joined Speaking of Women’s Health as volunteers to support its mission of “educating women to make informed decisions about health, well-being and personal safety for themselves and their families.”
In 2006, Dianne became increasingly aware of the prevalence of childhood obesity. This concern led to her development of Clever Crazes for Kids, a program focused on reducing the incidence of overweight and obesity in our young population. The program encompasses children kindergarten through sixth grade and also reaches their teachers, parents and caregivers. Weaving a “golden thread” throughout the daily experiences of children, this education effort includes nutrition, physical activity, self-esteem and respect for the environment.
Workbooks, placemats and many other materials have been created and distributed free of charge across the country by Clever Crazes for Kids. The reach has grown from 40,000 pieces of material in 2006 to more than 840,000 in 2009. The materials have been lauded by the educational community who ask for increasingly more to benefit their students. The program has an advisory board of outstanding academics and health-care providers who play an active role in its continuing development. Five 30-second public service announcements (PSAs) have been produced to spotlight the issues and engage children, their teachers, parents and caregivers. These PSAs are available, free of charge, to broadcast media across the country, which have within their mission the desire to educate and enhance the lives of children. Please check out the Clever Crazes for Kids website for more information.
Dianne has been recognized throughout the country for her women’s health initiatives. On October 10, 2008, she was honored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) at their 53rd annual Freedom Fund Dinner in recognition of her work to advance healthcare on behalf of women of color and their families. The March of Dimes, in 2007 honored Dianne at its “Evening in Paris” French Chefs Gourmet Dinner for her work with women and infants. In 2004, Dianne was honored with The National Conference for Community and Justice Citation Award, and in 2003, she received the Northwood University Distinguished Women Award. She received a YWCA Career Women of Achievement Award in 2001 and the Athena Award from the Partnership for Women’s Health at Columbia University in 2000. In 1999, Dianne was recognized as one of Cincinnati’s Leading Women for her advocacy in women’s health, and in 1996, she received the Charles W. Vaughan Award for her work with public television.
Dianne remains passionate for her community. She has been active in supporting the arts and civic endeavors in Cincinnati, specifically the Cincinnati Ballet Company, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center. Through local efforts, she was selected by the National Society of Fund Raising Executives for the National Philanthropy Award in 1992, was honored with a Post Corbett Award in 1991, and was named a Cincinnati Enquirer Woman of the Year in 1989. Currently, Dianne is the Chief Strategist for Speaking of Women's Health and continues to support and embrace the mission, Be Strong, Be Healthy, Be in Charge!