Message from the President
Members of the College:
Thank you for affording me the privilege of representing you as President of the American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists for the next year. It is my pleasure and honor to serve you.
I would like to thank Dr. Octavia Cannon for her groundbreaking and strong leadership over the past year as our President. Dr. Cannon's commitment to our members and our patients, especially with her work on the ACOG well woman task force, will not only serve as a guide during my time as President, but it also leaves me with big shoes to fill. Octavia, the College owes you a great debt.
Though it is no secret that we as a College are facing many new – and potentially daunting – challenges, I am a very firm believer in the maxim, “with great change comes great opportunity.” As we shift to single accreditation, the college soon will not have residency oversight responsibilities – WHAT THAT DOES NOT MEAN is that we no longer have a responsibility to our residents. In fact, the polar opposite is true. It is up to EVERY SINGLE member of our college to make a case for why ACOOG is essential in the development and support of the next generation of OB-GYNs.
To the medical students and residents reading this, know that the college is STRONG. ACOOG is growing yearly and flourishing and we will continue to invest in the next generation of OB-GYNs. ACOOG's resident reporter program, the fall conference student and resident programs will continue. I pledge to ensure that ACOOG's future remains BRIGHT.
To all the new Fellows, passing your boards is a tremendous achievement and one that you should be very proud of. As ACOOG President, I guarantee that we as a College will uphold our solemn responsibility of ensuring that the letters F-A-C-O-O-G will always carry the weight and authority commensurate to the hard work you put in to attain this hallowed designation.
As we honor the next generation of ACOOG Fellows, we must also acknowledge that we cannot stop at only recruiting our young Osteopathic physicians from the new osteopathically-focused residency programs. The future of ACOOG relies on us reaching out and welcoming Osteopathic physicians that are trained in allopathic programs and even Allopathic residents that feel a connection to the Osteopathic way.
To our established ACOOG Members, we as a College also have a responsibility to ensure that we continue to meet your needs! Our membership is diverse and spans many generations. We know that ob-gyn millennials have a very different perspective than Gen Xers like me, and the baby boomer ACOOG members also have unique issues. I am a firm believer that our DIVERSITY - racial, political, and generational - is one of ACOOG’s great strengths!
For this reason, the board approved the creation of a diversity and inclusion task force chaired by our immediate past president, Dr. Octavia Cannon. It isn’t a controversial statement to say that ACOOG’s leadership should best represent all of our members. ACOOG will be an even better organization when we appreciate and celebrate our differences.
In this same vein, the Board agreed to increase the Membership and Promotions Committee by 1 position. This position will be filled by an affiliate member. All members should feel like they have a voice.
As many of you know, one of my great passions is advocacy. I sincerely believe that as health care providers, we are called to advocate for our patients within AND outside the walls of our exam rooms. Too often, decisions are being made by politicians that directly impact our patients and our specialty without the input of actual health care providers.
We have all read about the recent legislation passed in certain states. Our patients NEED us as experts in women’s health to stand up and advocate for them. It is our responsibility to address and rebut factually incorrect AND medically inaccurate statements and policies. This is not about beliefs; this is about truth. This is not a pro-choice versus pro-life discussion. This is not a Republican or a Democratic issue. This is about science and we cannot remain silent and allow untruths to be propagated and even written into law.
A friend of mine, ACOG Past President Dr. Tom Gellhaus, was the first to share with me the credo that caring for our patients does not end in the exam room. It is an unfortunate reality that as OB-GYNs., we are forced to fight political interference and intrusion into the sacred relationship we have with our patients. As ACOOG President, I am CALLING on all of you to join that fight. Both for our patients and our specialty, your voice must be heard!
We need to INCREASE our advocacy efforts at both the state level and federal level. If you are new to politics attend AOA’s DO Day on the Hill or ACOG’s Congressional Leadership Conference – both held in Washington, DC, both are an excellent introduction into physician advocacy.
If you’re already into policy-making and follow politics, then do MORE! Attend a town hall meeting, meet candidates, get involved in campaigns – remember, you are both a voter and an individual who provides important and essential health care services to hundreds of other voters. With an election right around the corner in 2020, we MUST get engaged!
And with that election in mind, I am going to ask you all to support Ob-GynPAC and the AOA OPAC. Unfortunately, in our politics, “boots on the ground” is not sufficient to make a difference - it takes money as well. Ob-GynPAC and AOA OPAC are one of our strongest tools for making real political change.
Last year at ACOG’s Congressional Leadership Conference, ACOG’s District 4 - (DC, Maryland, Carolina’s, Georgia) won the award for most money raised in support of Ob-GynPAC - $116,693. My goal as ACOOG President is to beat that number. Although we technically cannot win the award, nothing would give me more pleasure OR send a stronger message that ACOOG is an advocacy force to be reckoned with, than to out raise our counterparts. We are small, but fierce advocates for women's health. Think about it - we are 2,500 members strong. If 10% of our members pledged $50.00/ month for the year, we would easily surpass that number. The trial lawyer’s association PAC raised 7.8 million dollars and spent 7.7 million in 2018 …... we must ALWAYS remember, if we don’t have a seat at the political table, then our patients and our specialists will be on their menu.
Growing up the son of an immigrant engineer, my father has taught me many life lessons. Of all the wisdom he passed on to me, my favorite saying is the following: IT IS EASY TO BE NICE, BUT IT HARD TO BE RIGHT!
I want everyone to think about that when we take care of our patients. We need to do what’s RIGHT for them. We need to stand up for them.
Residents if you see a bad strip - do not sit back and say the attending is aware - speak up/ call an MFM or another attending that is your mentor!
Young fellows - if one of your older partners is still doing pap smears yearly or open hysterectomies - show them the ASCCP app, offer to do the LAVH or TLH with them!
My colleagues - we need to realize our deficiencies and biases and continue to push ourselves.
Because in the end - my daughters need YOU to do what is right. The future of ACOOG, the future of our specialty depends on it!
Thank you again for allowing me the honor to serve you for the next year, and I hope to make you proud!