This is a photo of a massive gilded statue of Athena Parthenos (Parthenos means 'virgin' in Greek) in a full-scale replica of the Athenian Parthenon, built in the US (where else could they afford to do that?).
The serpent is a symbol of wisdom and healing, often associated with the Goddess in the ancient world, but the association between serpents and healing is found even in the patriarchal Judeo-Christian tradition. Moses healed the sick with a brazen serpent, here depicted by Michelangelo on the Sistine Chapel ceiling:
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi has explained that the healing Kundalini energy, which ascends the spine during the experience of Self-realisation, is a serpent-like energy but not literally a serpent. The innate healing force of the body has been symbolised in humanity's collective unconscious by the serpent, because it lies dormant in the sacrum bone at the base of the spine as a coiled energy and, when awakened, moves in a serpentine manner. Also, snakes were once thought to have regenerative powers because they shed their skins. This echoes the rebirth experienced by the yogi through Kundalini awakening. These, however, are simply symbolic associations. Similarly, the Holy Spirit may have dove-like qualities but is not a bird.
The Kundalini is also considered to be a feminine divine force, a reflection of the Adi Shakti, the primordial creative manifestation of the supreme Self. Adi Shakti is the wife of Sadashiva, who is the embodiment of the Self in Hindu mythology. Hence the connection between the Goddess and the serpent.
The Caduceus - entwined serpents symbolising western medicine.
Read more about the realtionship between the Goddess, the serpent and healing here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hygieia
Medicine, Gustav Klimt