As a past president of ACOG and, more recently, vice president of Practice Activities, Gerald Joseph, MD, has brought invaluable experience and knowledge from his 35 years as a practicing ob-gyn to both positions. Earlier this year, Dr. Joseph transitioned from vice president of Practice Activities to vice president of Fellowship.
ACOG Rounds recently caught up with Dr. Joseph as he wraps up his time as an ACOG executive. To honor Dr. Joseph’s time at ACOG, we share with you his musings of his proudest achievements and wish him the best of luck in the future.
ACOG Rounds: What achievements are you most proud of?
Dr. Joseph: Throughout my years as an ACOG officer, then as a national vice president, I have always tried to put the interests, considerations, and welfare of the members first and foremost. I practiced as a specialist in ob-gyn for about 35 years, so I felt I knew the needs of the practitioner. If I was able to make even a small difference in their professional lives, that would be my proudest achievement.
ACOG Rounds: What was your greatest challenge as vice president of Practice Activities? What did you learn from this challenge?
Dr. Jospeh: To be honest, the greatest challenge as vice president of Practice was creating practice bulletins that provided great value to the average practitioner. The sheer volume of knowledge and information available on most subjects made it difficult to condense the information into a document that was not too long and impractical.
ACOG Rounds: You recently headed up ACOG’s Fellowship Activities. What have you set into motion in that area that may affect members in the future?
Dr. Joseph: Hopefully, I was able to continue an openness and a friendliness with our members fostered by Al Strunk, MD, my immediate predecessor in this role. It's important that members know we are here to serve them and make their lives and work easier and more rewarding.
ACOG Rounds: What got you interested in medicine as a career and then to specialize in ob-gyn?
Dr. Joseph: My father was an ear, nose and throat specialist and my uncle was an internist/cardiologist, so I grew up with physicians and honestly never wanted to be anything else—except maybe a successful college football coach! Specializing in health care for women and being the confidant, advisor, supporter, and caregiver to so many patients has been the reward I most cherish in my career as an ob-gyn.
ACOG Rounds: What inspires you most about ob-gyn?
Dr. Joseph: It has always been the patients who inspire me. Just the privilege to be their caregiver and trusted confidant has always been an inspiration.
ACOG Rounds: Do you have a personal philosophy? What is it and how did you apply it to your position as vice president of Practice Activities and later as vice president of Fellowship Activities?
Dr. Joseph: I don’t know that I have ever thought deeply enough to have a “personal philosophy”. I have always enjoyed working hard because I love my work. I also enjoyed playing hard when the time permitted that. Also, honesty with myself and others has been an important part of life for me.
ACOG Rounds: What is something you wish more people knew or understood about ob-gyn or ACOG?
Dr. Joseph: I wish more people knew of the dedication and hard work of ACOG staff. They take pride in their daily work-related activities. Seeing this dedication firsthand here, at ACOG’s headquarters in DC, is something I wish all members could see and experience for themselves.
ACOG Rounds: What is one personal thing that colleagues may not know about you?
Dr. Joseph: Those who know me know what I am about to say, but for those who may not know me, let me say that I was lucky enough to marry the greatest spouse an ob-gyn could have. Helen has been an understanding, loving, and supportive partner for all of these 48+ years. She is an attentive mother, primarily responsible for three wonderful children. All I had to do was practice medicine. Helen took care of the rest!
ACOG Rounds: What are your future plans?
Dr. Joseph: I plan to enjoy my family and spend more time with my life-long friends in the “Sportsman’s Paradise” of Louisiana—our home. I have a passion for gardening, so perhaps flowers and vegetables are in the future.