The State Theatre in downtown Modesto is adding a speakers series to its usual lineup of classic movies and musical events.
The nonprofit venue is aiming to bring professional speakers to Modesto two or three times a year.
Dr. Holly Atkinson, an award-winning medical journalist, will lead off the series Feb. 25 with a women's health presentation titled an "Evening of Wellness for Women."
Atkinson often discusses health issues on NBC, CBS and PBS news programs and is an author, editor-in-chief of EverydayHealth.com and co-director of the Advancing Idealism in Medicine Program at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
She is known for charismatic talks encouraging women to make informed decisions about their health, including how to reduce the risk of heart disease, boost energy and minimize stress.
She's among a growing number of experts concerned that heart disease education has mostly focused on men. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular diseases claim the lives of far more women than do the different forms of cancer.
Atkinson also talks about fatigue, a health condition in women that she feels is not taken seriously. She wrote what's considered a definitive book, "Women and Fatigue," more than 20 years ago.
The physician is described as a no-nonsense speaker who peppers her talks with humor and encouragement. Doctors Medical Center of Modesto is underwriting the event.
"She has the ability to communicate with women in a straightforward manner," said Carin Sarkis, director of physician relations and marketing for Doctors. "What we are hoping is that women will come out of the event empowered to take their health into their own hands and to navigate through the health system."
Organizers said the 571-seat theater is ideal for holding a speakers series.
Board member Patty Halvorson is working to line up speakers and looking for organizations to sponsor presentations. The board envisions talks on current affairs and relevant issues, with subjects appealing to different age groups.
An event she is trying to schedule for the fall should appeal to high school students, Halvorson said.
"The goal is community enrichment," she said. "We feel Modesto is a sophisticated community with a broad range of interests."
Dr. Holly Atkinson will speak at 7 p.m. Feb. 25 at the State Theatre, 1307 J St. in Modesto. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is $20. Tickets are available in advance at the box office from noon to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday or at www.thestate.org.