This year, four residents from District V participated in the Ob-Gyn Reporter Program for the 2013 Annual Clinical Meeting in New Orleans. The program allows each ACOG district to select second- or third-year residents to take part in the program. The reporters were funded through an educational grant from Teva Women’s Health Inc that covers all reasonable expenses.
The District V 2013 reporters were: Jamie M. Bishop, MD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Roohi Jeelani, MD, Wayne State University, Detroit; Rachel G. Sinkey, MD, TriHealth, Cincinnati; and Mary E. Sterrett, MD, University of Louisville, Kentucky.
Jamie M. Bishop, MD
I arrived in New Orleans on Saturday, May 4, at the Ob-Gyn Reporters’ hotel and immediately began meeting people from all over the country who were participating in the program. It is always helpful to hear how things are done and how problems are solved at other residency programs across the country. I will be one of the administrative chiefs next year at my program, so I'm particularly interested to learn what works and what doesn't work for others.
At the Welcome Reception, then-ACOG President James T. Breeden, MD, reminded residents that we are the future of ACOG. He explained some of the challenges ACOG has in bridging the demographic gap between its young constituents and the current leadership. I never realized before how challenging it may be for a predominantly male, older leadership to stay connected and provide mentorship to an upcoming cohort of young women. It was meaningful to hear that “we are ACOG” and the future of the organization and that the ob-gyn profession will be shaped by us.
On Monday evening, I attended a networking event for Junior Fellows. While I learned a great deal from the meeting’s scientific program, I was most impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of the Junior Fellow district officers. Their selflessness in trying to further the education of and opportunities for residents in their districts while juggling their resident and faculty responsibilities is inspiring. It gave me a sense of the bigger picture of our responsibility to our patients and to each other as colleagues.
The next day, I participated in a session on mastering the tools of evidence for practice. It was a good review of basic statistical concepts, such as confidence intervals and heterogeneity in meta-analyses. It also addressed performing efficient literature searches and understanding different levels of evidence (expert opinion vs. randomized control trial vs. meta-analysis). The speakers took us through several case vignettes and asked attendees to answer clinical questions using evidence-based medicine. Overall, I think this was a well-designed, very useful session. However, I think most residents are well equipped with these skills by the time they enter residency.
The Opening Ceremonies were astoundingly good. Malcolm Potts, MD, gave the Samuel A. Cosgrove Memorial Lecture, “Sex, Ideology, and Religion: How Family Planning Frees Women and Changes the World.” This was perhaps the best lecture I have ever heard in my entire life. He was an eloquent speaker with a very thoughtful and well-researched topic. The ability for women to plan their families has a huge impact on the world at large and offers the opportunity to “save the world.”
“The Five Languages of an Apology” lecture by Gary Chapman, PhD, was also useful, not only professionally, but in life. I think we, including myself, could all be better about admitting when we’re wrong and developing the art of saying we’re sorry. As physicians, we’re only human, and we will make mistakes. We have to know how to learn and grow from these mistakes and how to apologize when we make them.
Roohi Jeelani, MD
I was honored to attend the Annual Clinical Meeting as an Ob-Gyn Reporter this year. I knew it was a rare opportunity to meet the leaders in our field. When I received my schedule a week before the meeting, I was amazed at the variety of lectures I would be attending. I am thankful that I was chosen to represent my residency program and district.
Meeting other residents and ACOG members at the Welcome Reception was one of the most memorable moments for me. I connected with so many of my peers and made friendships that will last a lifetime. After the reception, I was lucky to participate in a tour of local landmarks led by a New Orleans resident.
The breakfast forums were a great way to get the day started at the ACM. They truly exemplified how important the educational program was to everyone. I would have thought fewer people would be paying attention at 6:30 am, but as I scanned the room I could see that everyone was attentive and ready to learn.
I attended a breakfast forum on domestic violence. Learning about residency programs that screen women to help keep them safe was eye-opening. Screenings for domestic violence should be a part of every ob-gyn residency program. From the minute the session started, I felt the connection between the topic and the residents in attendance. In particular, there was an Ob-Gyn Reporter there who has been involved in starting a domestic violence screening program at her residency. It was wonderful to hear her perspective.
All the lectures I attended featured current, relevant topics and information. They covered everything from basic concepts to recent evidence-based practice. When I saw that I was going to a lecture on fetal anomaly in ultrasound, I thought “Oh, I know this information already.” However, as the lecture progressed, I was shocked to find there was much more to learn in addition to what I already practice. I brought the information I gained back to my colleagues to enlighten them as well.
My residency program is concentrated on obstetrics, so I also thought the prevention of preterm birth lecture I attended would be more of a refresher course. I was wrong again! It was great to see how other institutions handle such complications. I enjoyed learning about their protocols and listening to the great discussion with leaders in this area.
The President’s Party felt like the grand finale of the ACM. It was a fantastic event, organized in careful detail from top to bottom. The party helped solidify existing bonds between colleagues. I can’t think of a better conference than the ACM to attend in the coming years. It brought back the bounce in my step at work as it gave me new ways to look at treatment and management of everyday conditions in my patients. Most of all, it made me want to be an advocate for my patients. I hope to take part in an ACOG leadership role in the near future. I would like to thank everyone who made ACM attendance possible for many others and me.
Rachel G. Sinkey, MD
New Orleans was the perfect host city for the Annual Clinical Meeting. The great weather and famous food were wonderful accompaniments to the meeting’s esteemed speakers and camaraderie between the attendees. The quality and variety of educational sessions was exceptional.
On Sunday, I attended a postgraduate course on the management of breast health for the generalist. The speaker reviewed screening recommendations and basic management algorithms. The clinical pearl from his talk was that of all the callbacks for mammography, only 3 in 100 result in a diagnosis of breast cancer. This is an important piece of information that would be easy to include in our script when we counsel patients before their mammogram. Knowing this statistic could save patients a tremendous amount of worry.
On Monday afternoon, I attended a session on preparing for life after residency. An experienced health attorney discussed tips for negotiating contracts and the importance of knowing the specifics of medical liability policies. Additional speakers focused on preparation for written boards, the collection of cases for oral boards, and advice for the job and fellowship application process. This session ran concurrent to a medical student session. During a session break we met with medical students from our districts. The 2013 ACM had the most medical students in attendance to date, which highlights the interest and enthusiasm we have in our upcoming ob-gyn resident candidates.
The last lecture I attended on obesity was timely and informative. Several pertinent facts were discussed, but one practical point rang home: the importance of giving intravenous, not intramuscular, Rho(D) immune globulin to our obese patients. Rh sensitization in patients who have prenatal care should only be historical, which correct administration of Rho(D) immune globulin can ensure. The speaker also questioned current weight gain recommendations by presenting data from Kaiser Permanente that showed patients in each body mass index category keep additional weight on postpartum.
What does the upcoming year hold for ACOG, its members, and, most importantly, our patients? ACOG President Jeanne A. Conry, MD, PhD, answered this question in her inaugural address. She presented a new national maternal health initiative sponsored by ACOG and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine aimed at reducing maternal morbidity and mortality in the US by 50%, as well as reducing racial and ethnic maternal health disparities. The initiative emphasizes that maternal mortality in our country is too high. As Dr. Conry stressed, this is the year of the woman. And the ACM was a great start to this year.
Mary E. Sterrett, MD
The Ob-Gyn Reporter program gave me an opportunity I wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise. I got to attend the annual meeting of the most innovative, focused, and hard-working leaders in the field of ob-gyn. The program was designed to remove the financial boundaries intrinsic to most residents and allow those chosen by their district to attend the Annual Clinical Meeting to, for lack of a finer phrase (and a nod to Kentucky), get a fire lit under their horse. Needless to say, I was excited and proud to have been selected as one of District V’s reporters.
Far more stands out at the ACM than simply the location, although stellar, and the exhibitors, although intriguing, or even the flow of lectures. What I enjoyed specifically about the meeting was how it could be tailored to each level of member participation.
I found the session on preparing for life after residency to be invaluable. It began with an overview of how to negotiate our first job contracts and went on to cover selecting and formatting our case lists for oral boards. My personal highlight was the roundtable discussion with ACOG Fellows. Their insights helped give structure to the application schedule and the importance of application material for my own journey.
Tuesday began with a Junior Fellow breakfast, which was followed by a rousing “Stump the Professors” session. No matter where I went during the meeting, I was welcomed with open arms by ACOG leaders, including Executive Board members and district chairs and vice chairs. Each day was filled, from 6:30 am until 8 or 10 pm at night, with educational and networking activities.
The last, but most important, information I gleaned from the meeting was the structure and involvement of ACOG as an organization. Prior to attending, the process of becoming a Fellow and what that meant within ACOG was a mystery. I hadn’t been sure what the Junior Fellows in my district did or what their role was in the greater collective. I see now that Junior Fellows, Fellows, and members of the Executive Board compile the committees that formulate our national political stances, advance us with new practice guidelines, advocate for women’s health care across the globe, and, more specifically, lead our individual communities and populations.
Overall, my participation in the Ob-Gyn Reporter program whetted my appetite to become more involved. I had always intended to pursue fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine to gain access to an underserved and academically stimulating population on a global scale. The ACM shifted my focus through the people and information gathered there. I now feel that large-scale interventions and improvements are more pronounced from policy change and education, as well as individual empowerment and choice. I’m beginning to see ACOG as an avenue for ob-gyns to push for social change, present influential research, and congregate the medical, legal, and business minds to propagate improvements in women’s health care. As much as I enjoyed the 2013 ACM, I’m more excited about being involved with ACOG throughout my career.