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Chair’s report

Dr. Thomas F. ArnoldThomas F. Arnold, MD

The biannual production of our District VI newsletter provides district chairs with a welcome opportunity to explore new topics, dispense information, and share perspectives. It also affords the chance to recognize individuals and achievements within our district and sections.

In the past, my reports have dealt with weighty topics such as mentoring, the direction of health care, the relationship between politics and medicine, and the functional organization of ACOG. It seems appropriate that we occasionally stop, reflect, and appreciate what we do on a daily basis and how privileged we are to practice our specialty.

The specialty of ob-gyn, with its formal subspecialties and developing informal practice niches, allows a variety of practice opportunities unequaled in any other specialty. The ability for a practice to evolve with time allows adaptation to changing life demands and desires. Medicine, in general, provides adequate compensation, flexibility of work environments, and control over work schedules. Ob-gyn offers a most excellent blend of these choices.    

Just a mere decade ago, the perception of our specialty was causing young physicians to go into other branches of medicine. Often mentioned by students applying for residency was the “ROADE” to practice satisfaction: the specialties of radiology, ophthalmology, anesthesiology, dermatology, and ENT (ear, nose, and throat).

Demanding call schedules and fear of litigation were identified as reasons not to pursue ob-gyn. The resultant decrease in applicants to residency programs caused consternation at a national level and prompted a thorough response. The trend has been successfully averted by a change in the perception of the specialty, in part related to a vigorous public relations campaign and to some timely changes in the practice of ob-gyn itself.

The growing need for ob-gyn subspecialists and the popularity of focused practices have helped to rekindle interest in our young provider demographic. This demographic is increasingly attentive to work-life balance and less focused on income or long-term single practice commitment. A narrower focus allowed by the pursuit of a subspecialty is considerably more attractive professionally and personally to those interested in ideal work-life balance.

The addition of laborists and ob-gyn hospitalists further assists in reducing the sometimes undesirable features that traditionally accompanied the practice of ob-gyn. Those who choose to provide these in-house services enjoy a well-defined shift schedule of responsibilities without the challenges of outpatient clinical practice. It creates a win-win situation for all involved.

Another change to be welcomed by physicians in general, and ob-gyns specifically, relates to how we care for our patients, get compensated, and manage our practices. Medicine is evolving to a system focused on health and well-being. This system will be rewarded more for keeping people healthy and out of the hospital and less for treating those that are hospitalized. In fact, a high percentage of hospital admissions may be considered a failure in our system’s ability to keep patients healthy.

Focusing physician compensation formulas more on patient care (including quality, safety, and accessibility) and less on volume will further enhance ob-gyns’ opportunities to do what we love to do—spend time taking care of our patients. It can only enhance the already special relationships we share with our patient population.

For many, the relationships we build with our patients are the most rewarding parts of practicing ob-gyn. It is a privilege to be involved in the birth of a baby, which is one of the most important life events parents will experience. To be allowed the honor of attending to a delivery is the ultimate expression of trust in a physician. Even with a difficult patient in the middle of the night we should appreciate that fact.

We should cherish the perception that we “get to” deliver babies and suppress the feeling that we “have to.” We should never lose sight of the fact that each of the lives we bring into the world is unique, special, and truly a miracle. And for all this enjoyment we get from our practice, we receive the added reward of love and respect from our patients. How many other medical specialties can claim these benefits?   

ACOG update
On November 17, the ACOG Committee on Nominations selected the slate of national officers for May 2013 to May 2014:

  • President Elect: John C. Jennings, MD, League City, TX
  • Secretary: Ben H. Cheek, MD, Columbus, GA
  • Fellow-at-Large: Paul G. Tomich, MD, Omaha, NE
  • Young Physician-at-Large: Michelle Y. Owens, MD, Jackson, MS

The Safety Certification in Outpatient Practice Excellence for Women’s Health Program (SCOPE) has seen a robust increase in requests for evaluation. 

District VI news
District VI has nominated Tamara G. Helfer, MD, District VI young physician, for an Outstanding District Service Award this year. Dr. Helfer is the District VI webmaster and recently was instrumental in establishing the District VI mentorship program. The program offers electronic and in-person mentoring to assist medical students, residents, and young physicians in education and career decision-making. It has been submitted for consideration for a Council of District Chairs Service Recognition Award. These awards will be presented at the Annual Clinical Meeting in May.

Secretary’s report

Dr. Steven W. Remmenga

Steven W. Remmenga, MD

The District VI Advisory Council held its Annual Business Meeting at the 2012 Annual District Meeting. Council members felt many of the topics addressed would be of interest to members.

Chair’s report
Thomas F. Arnold, MD, District VI chair, began the business meeting with his report. He shared that attendance and revenue from the Annual Clinical Meeting (ACM) and ACOG publications are down. Challenges to and ways to improve ACM attendance are being examined.

Subspecialty societies are becoming more active. The American Urogynecologic Society (AUGS), Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO), Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), and Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility all have representatives on the ACOG Executive Board. Each of the societies is proposing patient registries, and other projects were shared as part of the business meeting’s agenda.

SGO is working on an endometrial cancer registry, looking specifically at outcomes, and is forming an advocacy work group to explore adequate reimbursement for gynecologic oncology. SMFM is creating a website to assist its membership with education. AUGS is forming an outcomes registry for prolapse and mesh procedures. The society also plans to release credentialing guidelines for vaginal, abdominal, and robotic sacralcolpopexy procedures. There is concern that robotic procedures are being performed with minimal to no training.

Two documents approved by the ACOG Executive Board are available on the ACOG website for review. The first document is a policy statement on global women’s health and rights issued in July 2012. The second is a Committee Opinion on professional relationships with industry released in November 2012.

Vice chair’s report
Laura A. Dean, MD, District VI vice chair, announced that the 2013 ADM will be held at the Grand Wailea Resort in Maui, HI, September 26–28. It will be a quad-district meeting with Districts V, VI, VIII, and IX in attendance. The venue is outstanding, and District VIII is in charge of the program. The room rate is $199 and should be good for three to four days before and after the meeting dates. Dr. Arnold noted that the program for this meeting on patient safety will become an ACOG postgraduate course. Districts I and III used the same course at their 2012 ADM. He congratulated Dr. Dean on her planning of the 2012 ADM.

Treasurer’s report
Denise M. Elser, MD, District VI treasurer, noted that the district has been doing well financially and that the Interim District Advisory Council Meeting in Puerto Rico came in well under budget. The 2013 budget was approved and is budget neutral this year.

Nominating Committee
ACOG Assistant Secretary Thomas M. Gellhaus, MD, immediate past District VI chair, reported the results of the District VI Nominating Committee meeting held in September. The 2013–16 election slate as nominated by the committee and approved by the District Advisory Committee is:

  • Steve W. Remmenga, MD, chair
  • Denise M. Elser, MD, vice chair
  • Thaddeus L. Anderson, MD, treasurer
  • Bridget B. Keller, MD, secretary

Legislative Committee
Thaddeus L. Anderson, MD, District VI Legislative Committee chair, reported that the district will continue to fund one Fellow and the Junior Fellow vice chair from each section to the ACOG Congressional Leadership Conference, The President’s Conference. He asked members to seek out ACOG’s Importance of Advocacy Video on the ACOG website. Read more from Dr. Anderson in this newsletter.

2012 has been a landmark year for health care in the US with the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Major revisions in the way that health care is provided and reimbursed will take place over the next several years. It is important for all members of ACOG to be up-to-date on these issues. Involvement in advocacy at local and national levels is essential for all members.

Patient Safety Committee
Joel B. Henry, MD, District VI patient safety officer, recommended the Patient Safety Committee be disbanded. He reported difficulties with implementation of projects at the district level. The district will continue to have a representative on the ACOG Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Committee. This representative, the District VI patient safety officer, will act as a liaison to the District Advisory Committee. Read more from Dr. Henry in this newsletter.

Section officers
Dr. Arnold introduced the incoming section officers at the business meeting and recognized some of the outgoing officers as well. A list of district and section officers can be found in this (and every) newsletter.

District VI has a presence on the ACOG website and on Facebook. Tamara G. Helfer, MD, District VI young physician and webmaster, has been instrumental in developing these areas, and we thank her for her efforts.

If you have any announcements or information you’d like included in our newsletter, on our website, or on our Facebook page, please contact Stephanie Williams, District VI manager, at

Junior Fellow chair’s report

Dr. Abigail A. DelaneyAbigail A. Delaney, MD

District VI Junior Fellows remain active and committed members of our community. At the 2012 Annual District Meeting, we were proud to unveil a mentorship program that will promote unity and education between Fellows and Junior Fellows within our district. We were also proud to have five medical students join us at the ADM: Lauren Gengenbach (Nebraska), Dorian Kristmanson (Saskatchewan), Adrienne Racek (North Dakota), Mary Rysavy (Iowa), and Laura Sienas (Nebraska). These students were recipients of the John Gibbons Medical Student Award, which funded their attendance.

The District VI Junior Fellow Advisory Council has divided its members into five task forces focusing on medical student recruitment, philanthropy and service, mentorship, advocacy, and Junior Fellow wellness and life balance. Junior Fellows in our sections have been active in promoting medical student recruitment, serving their communities through diaper drives, and developing advocacy campaigns for our patients and profession.

Ideally, moving forward, we’d like to dedicate portions of the District VI website to medical student recruitment and Junior Fellow wellness. The medical student portion would feature contact information for ob-gyn residency programs within the district. The Junior Fellow wellness portion would offer suggestions on how to prevent burnout and stress. We’d also like to develop section lobby days and opportunities to educate Junior Fellows on health care policy and advocacy.

The District VI Junior Fellow Annual Meeting will be held October 18–20 in conjunction with the Iowa Section Meeting at the hotelVetro & Conference Center in Iowa City. I hope to see you there!

If you are interested in becoming more involved with Junior Fellow projects, please contact me at; Amandeep S. Mahal, MD, District VI Junior Fellow vice chair, at; or any of your section Junior Fellow officers. Please also read “Opportunities for Junior Fellow involvement” by Paul G. Tomich, MD, District VI Junior Fellow advisor.

Connect with District VI on Facebook

District VI FacebookIn an effort to provide you with current information regarding women’s health, District VI has joined Facebook. We are updating our page regularly with news specifically relevant to District VI members. You can find us at

ACOG national is also on Facebook at If you’re a Facebook member, log in and click on the “Like” button on the ACOG national and District VI pages. Then, you’ll be able to comment on and share any updates posted. You’ll also get ACOG national and District VI news sent directly to your Facebook news feed.

Anyone can view Facebook pages, but only Facebook members can interact with ACOG national and District VI. To become a Facebook member, sign up at

ACOG national is also on Twitter at To follow its feed, go to and sign up as a member. You’ll be the first to hear ACOG news!

Young physician news

Dr. Tamara G. HelferTamara G. Helfer, MD, District VI young physician

The Third Annual Young Physician Luncheon was held during the 2012 Annual District Meeting. The luncheon focused on mentorship, providing opportunities for young physicians to meet with potential mentors from Districts VI, VIII, and IX. There was an excellent turnout of mentors and mentees.

The District VI mentorship program was also unveiled at this meeting. More information will be available on the District VI website. Please sign up if you would like to be a mentor or mentee. At the national level, young physicians sent out a survey recently to find out what young physicians are looking for in a mentor. We would appreciate you letting us know your thoughts.  

The Ninth Annual ACOG Young Physician Forum is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7, at the Annual Clinical Meeting in New Orleans. Save the date!

If you’d like to become more involved in young physician activities, please feel free to contact me at Also, be sure to check the young physician website for updates on opportunities.

Opportunities for Junior Fellow involvement

Dr. Paul G. TomichPaul G. Tomich, MD, District VI Junior Fellow advisor

At most residency training programs, new residents in ob-gyn are added as Junior Fellows to ACOG’s membership. Doing so allows them to take advantage of the educational materials available to them on the ACOG website. These materials include Practice Bulletins, Committee Opinions, and the latest news from ACOG’s national office.

ACOG has many opportunities for Junior Fellows to be involved at leadership levels. Within District VI, Fellows have attempted to identify at least one resident at each training program to serve as a liaison between District VI Junior Fellow leaders and their program so that all residents receive important information and news about ACOG.

The Junior Fellow organizational structure mirrors that of ACOG Fellows. Each section has section officers, and district officers are elected from that group. Those officers, of course, have district responsibilities, but they may also be involved at the national level with committees, task forces, and other opportunities for involvement. 

Junior Fellow meetings include an Annual District Meeting and an Interim Advisory Council Meeting (for officers only). There are opportunities for other educational events, including the ACOG Congressional Leadership Conference, The President’s Conference, held in late February or early March in Washington, DC, and the Annual Clinical Meeting (ACM) held each May.

There are several awards given out by the district to facilitate Junior Fellow participation in educational activities, such as the John Burch Endowment Fund. Additionally, Junior Fellows can take part in the Ob-Gyn Reporter program at the ACM.

Getting involved with ACOG at an early stage in your career is an invaluable experience. Doing so helps you meet others who are also early in their training and allows you to network with more experienced members of ACOG who may serve as mentors. District VI unveiled a mentorship program at the 2012 Annual District Meeting. More information will be available on the District VI website.

If you are interested in becoming more involved with ACOG during residency training, please contact any of your current Junior Fellow officers. Abigail A. Delaney, MD, is the District VI Junior Fellow chair and Amandeep S. Mahal, MD, is the District VI Junior Fellow vice chair. Their respective email addresses are and For more information on the opportunities mentioned in this report, contact Stephanie Williams, District VI manager, at

Legislative Committee

Dr. Thaddeus L. AndersonThaddeus L. Anderson, MD, committee chair

The reelection of Barack Obama as US president ensures that provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will continue to be rolled out. US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius gave states more flexibility in defining their essential health benefits package under ACA. States could choose a level of benefits from one of the three largest small group plans in the state, one of three largest state employee health plans, one of three largest federal employee health plan options, or the largest HMO plan offered in the state’s commercial market. States could pick a benefits package for their health exchange in 2014 consistent with the typical benefits package available in their state.

The deadline for applying to establish a state-based exchange for health insurance was December 14, 2012. The deadline for applying to establish a partnership exchange with the federal government is February 15, 2013. The third option is to default to a federally facilitated exchange. Currently, 19 states, including Minnesota, and the District of Columbia plan to establish a state-based exchange. Seven states, including Illinois and Iowa, plan to establish a partnership exchange. Twenty-five states, including Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, have declined the state-based exchange option and will default to a federally facilitated exchange.

The 27% Medicare physician payment cut scheduled for January 1, 2013, was delayed by Congress at the last minute. Medicare physician payments will remain at 2012 levels until December 31, 2013. The delay was part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which also delayed 8.2% across-the-board cuts to discretionary programs and a 2% cut to Medicare until March 31, 2013.

The cuts to discretionary spending will affect National Institutes of Health research, the Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, the Title X Family Planning Program, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Section 317 Immunization Grants Program (for childhood immunization), and the CDC National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. The Medicare cut will affect graduate medical education funding and physician reimbursement. ACOG is working to educate legislators about the effects these cuts will have on the health of women and children.

Legislative concerns and opportunities
Legislative areas of concern mentioned by District VI legislative chairs include attempts to license certified professional midwives, requirements for ultrasound prior to an abortion, funding restrictions on contraception and abortion services, and excessive requirements for facilities where abortions are performed.

ACOG’s federal political action committee, Ob-GynPAC, is now making monies available for use for Ob-GynPAC members in state elections. Members may request up to $50,000 to use in state elections, where allowed by state law. The OB-GynPAC Governing Committee will approve distributions on a first come-first served basis.

The Gellhaus Resident Advocacy Fellowship allows a senior ob-gyn resident to work in Washington, DC, for two to four weeks with the ACOG Government Relations and Outreach department. Expenses for travel, housing, and meals are covered by this fellowship. If you are interested or know someone who may be, you can contact for information.

The ACOG Congressional Leadership Conference, The President’s Conference (CLC), is scheduled for March 3–5 in Washington, DC. District- and section-sponsored individuals have already been selected. Any ACOG member who wishes to fund their own attendance may register by contacting Stacie Monroe at If you are interested in being sponsored for the 2014 CLC, please contact your section chair.

Patient Safety Committee

Dr. Joel B. HenryJoel B. Henry, MD, District VI patient safety officer

In 2007, under the leadership of Thomas M. Gellhaus, MD, as District VI chair, the District VI Advisory Council moved to form a Patient Safety Committee, appointing Kenneth L. Naylor, MD, as its first chair. Since then, the voluntary members of this committee have held ad hoc teleconferences and in-person meetings at the time of the Interim and Annual District Advisory Council meetings. 

The committee chair also serves as the District VI representative on the ACOG Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Committee. This national committee has been responsible for numerous Committee Opinions and other publications, including recent safety checklists.

Over the years, the district committee has struggled with the task of providing a usable service at the district level. Recently, it has become evident that the most important committee work is being done at the national level. With this in mind, I recommended the District VI Patient Safety Committee be disbanded. The District Advisory Council voted to do so at the 2012 Annual District Meeting.

I have had the privilege of serving as the District VI Patient Safety Committee chair for the past two-and-a-half years. I will retain my position as District VI patient safety officer, serving as a liaison between the ACOG Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Committee and the District Advisory Council. Our goal is to maintain at least one district representative on the hard-working national committee while avoiding duplication of efforts. The patient safety officer position will be up for appointment by the incoming district chair for its next three-year term.

Section reports


The Illinois Section Annual Meeting was held on September 29. The meeting’s theme was “A Day at the Office: Clinical Pearls for the Generalist.” Sessions focused on complex adnexal masses, ultrasound anomalies, menopause management, genetics, pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, infertility, robotic surgery, and labor and delivery.

Mara P. Quinlan, MD, section vice chair, traveled to Peoria on September 19 to speak on behalf of the section at a conference addressing “Payment Reform to Reward Best Practice: Eliminating Early Elective Deliveries,” hosted by Quality Quest for Health of Illinois and the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria.

The Illinois Section continues to participate in the Quality Quest for Health of Illinois Healthy Babies, Healthy Moms project. A toolkit on eliminating early elective deliveries is being prepared.

For those interested, ACOG is hosting a coding workshop in Chicago on April 12–14. The workshop consists of three modules, and the format enables physicians to choose the topic or topics of interest to them. More information is available on the ACOG website.



The 2012 Iowa Section Fall Meeting was held as part of the University of Iowa Ob-Gyn Postgraduate Conference on October 26. The meeting’s keynote speaker was Douglas W. Laube, MD, MEd, past ACOG president and University of Iowa alumnus. He spoke about CenteringPregnancy and his experiences as a Jefferson Science Fellow for the US Department of State.

The 2013 Iowa Section Fall Meeting will be held October 18 at the hotelVetro & Conference Center in Iowa City. The program will focus on controversies in the care of women with preeclampsia. Please save the date.

The Iowa Section voted to maintain its financial support of the Leopold Society (a medical student ob-gyn interest group) at the University of Iowa and resident travel to participate in international medical missions. The section will also continue to pay for residents’ ACOG dues and for four Fellows and Junior Fellows to attend the ACOG Congressional Leadership Conference, The President’s Conference.

After the success of the First Annual Iowa Section Lobby Day in February 2012, the Iowa Section is partnering with the Iowa Medical Society (IMS) for a repeat performance on February 6. Information is available on the IMS website. Marygrace Elson, MD, section vice chair and legislative chair, has emailed all section members inviting them to participate.

Legislative initiatives in Iowa include medical tort reform, licensing of lay midwives and naturopaths, scope-of-practice issues for midlevel providers, truth in advertising for midlevel providers, and model legislation preventing shackling of prisoners in labor. Kimberly K. Leslie, MD, University of Iowa ob-gyn chair, was quoted in local newspapers supporting ACOG’s position for over-the-counter sale of oral contraceptives. The Iowa Section remains active in local and national advocacy efforts while engaging Junior Fellows and medical students.

In October, Iowa Section Junior Fellows held a diaper drive for families in need during the holiday season. More than 1,000 diapers were donated along with other supplies and monetary gifts. Given the success of this year’s drive and another diaper drive held in 2011, it’s likely the service project will become an annual event



The province of Manitoba is a great place to learn, practice, and teach medicine. The challenge for its physicians is to provide equal and quality care to all Manitobans. Unfortunately, Manitoba’s population density is quite unequal, and geographic distance contributes to health care resource disparities. Physician numbers also tend to congregate in urban areas.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba is working to streamline its registration and licensure processes to allow qualified physicians to practice in the province. A top priority is to train, recruit, and repatriate high-quality Manitoba students in an attempt to improve their retention rate. A goal of 70% retention has been targeted by a review committee consisting of members from the College, Manitoba Health, and the University of Manitoba.

Manitoba Health is providing leadership and financial support to promote enhanced multimedia opportunities to improve health care equity across the province’s geographic areas.

Manitoba, like the rest of Canada, continues to struggle with an intravenous drug shortage and back order problem. Due to a partial shutdown of the Sandoz manufacturing plant in Quebec, a broad range of injectables are in short supply. Shortages are expected to continue for at least the next year.

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada has undertaken a new project to reach national consensus on medical resident duty hours. The project is funded by Health Canada. Fellows of the College were invited to contribute feedback. As expected, their views varied greatly.

Significant support does exist for achieving a national consensus through evidence-informed examination of resident duty hours, directions, and best practices. While the current project is focused on resident hours, final recommendations will shape future discussions on work hours for practicing physicians as well.

Manitoba’s population growth in the past year exceeded the national rate for the third consecutive year. The increasing number of births has created an unprecedented problem in Winnipeg. There are currently two level three institutions in the city that provide all obstetric services, excluding deliveries done at home or in the free-standing birth center run by midwives.

St. Boniface General Hospital (SBGH) is currently 122 deliveries over its year-to-date budget. The hospital is funded for the safe delivery of 5,407 babies. According to program team leaders, the hospital’s physical space is unable to handle any number greater than that. There has also been an 8% increase in the number of visits to the obstetric triage unit, further adding to workload and budgetary concerns.

To avoid having sanctions imposed on the current caregivers working at the SBGH obstetric unit, a number of solutions have been proposed, including:

  • Granting no new obstetric privileges at SBGH
  • Transferring out-of-town referrals to Health Sciences Center Winnipeg (HSC), the other level three institution in the city
  • Performing some of SBGH’s elective cesarean deliveries at HSC
  • Capping the number of prenatal patients seen by SBGH physicians
  • Sending one low-risk induction of labor patient to HSC daily, regardless of space availability at SBGH
  • Employing one attending from SBGH to represent the two call groups for SBGH patients at HSC

These solutions have not been met with a positive reaction from the practice groups involved. Further clarification of budget issues, workloads, and patient preferences for delivering hospitals is being sought.



The Mayo Clinic ob-gyn department held its second annual diaper drive in September. Residents, fellows, staff physicians, and nurses asked for donations from local businesses in Rochester and their patrons on two Saturdays. They collected nearly 15,000 diapers, which were donated to the local Women, Infants, and Children’s Program (WIC).

Congratulations to Diane Horvath-Cosper, MD, past District VI and section Junior Fellow chair, who won the 2012 ACOG Junior Fellow Essay Contest on “Advocacy and the Importance of Supporting Patients Beyond the Exam Room.” Her essay was published in the October 2012 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Bridget B. Keller, MD, section chair, spoke at an event planned by several Minnesota certified nurse-midwives on maternal morality called “Maternal Outcomes Matter” in October. The event featured a keynote address by Christy Turlington Burns and a special screening of her documentary “No Woman, No Cry.” Meeting attendees participated in an awareness walk, traveling the average distance pregnant women must walk in developing countries to receive prenatal and obstetric care.

The Minnesota Maternal Mortality Committee has met twice and is reviewing a backlog of cases. Members are working on a system that will capture more of the maternal deaths that occur postpartum and within one year of pregnancy. The multi-disciplinary committee is a collaborative project with the Minnesota Department of Health. Elizabeth P. Elfstrand, MD, presented committee data and a few interesting cases at the Minnesota Section Annual Meeting in December.



Nebraska Section Junior Fellows joined members from the Luikart Society (a medical student ob-gyn interest group at the University of Nebraska Medical Center) to form a team for a local March of Dimes March for Babies last fall. They met their fundraising goal for the event and had a great turnout. Junior Fellows also hosted their second annual diaper drive recently, and it was a great success.

The Metro Ob-Gyn Omaha Community Working Group continues to meet and work with hospitals and health systems in the area on patient safety issues. The group distributed community-wide protocols in November in conjunction with Prematurity Awareness Month. Next, it will circulate a delivery scheduling form and standards for electively scheduled deliveries.

Traditionally, the Nebraska Section Annual Meeting has been held in conjunction with the Nebraska Ob-Gyn Society Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. Due to changing times, this arrangement has become a less effective way to hold the meeting. The section is considering options to change the timing, venue, and format of its annual meeting.


North DakotaNorth Dakota

In an attempt to increase patient safety, the North Dakota Board of Pharmacy is encouraging physicians to use the North Dakota Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) to gain information about patient use of controlled substances. The PDMP was created to improve patient therapy and the state’s ability to identify and inhibit the diversion of controlled substances without impeding the appropriate use of these drugs for legitimate medical purposes.

The North Dakota Health Information Network Clinical Work Group is soliciting feedback from providers on what laboratory panels and tests should be available in the network’s virtual health record system. This is an important step in ensuring the network is a usable and valuable tool for all health care professionals.

The North Dakota Society of Ob-Gyns held its annual meeting in the breathtakingly beautiful Badlands of western North Dakota in the historic town of Medora. The meeting’s program included didactic sessions from Mark Evans, MD, on the next generation of prenatal diagnoses and Douglas W. Laube, MD, MEd, past ACOG president, on CenteringPregnancy and global disparities in women’s health care.



In September, Saskatchewan Section members participated for the third time in Ovarian Cancer Canada’s Walk of Hope as Team Gyne-o-mite. They raised $4,195, which will help support women and families who have been affected by ovarian cancer, as well as ovarian cancer awareness, education, and research programs. The weather was beautiful, and family and friends joined in the walk along the South Saskatchewan River.

Marj Lens, ob-gyn resident program administrator at the University of Saskatchewan, has become the first residency program administrator in Canada to be certified by the Canadian Administrators in Medical Education Operations. Her certification was part of a pilot project that is gaining momentum in Canada. She also plans to complete the American Training Administrators of Graduate Medical Education certification to broaden her understanding of the complexities of residency administration.

Annette M. Epp, MD, division chief of urogynecology at the University of Saskatchewan, has started working shifts at Student Wellness Initiative Toward Community Health (SWITCH)—an inner-city, interdisciplinary, student-run health clinic. Her goal is to improve the health of underprivileged women and children in Saskatoon.

SWITCH was created by students at the University of Saskatchewan to enrich educational experiences and provide services for Saskatoon’s core neighborhoods. The clinic was recently featured on a national Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio program on health care called “White Coat, Black Art.”

Use of checklists has become established in surgery and gynecology units in Saskatchewan with greater than 95% compliance. Checklists are being introduced in obstetric units with fewer uptakes so far. There is a major focus on safe medication practices within these checklists.

The number of patients waiting for surgery is decreasing and on target to reach the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative’s goal—for no one to have to wait for elective surgery for more than three months by 2014. There has been an increase in day surgeries and moderate sedation surgeries as part of this process.


South DakotaSouth Dakota

Work to establish a maternal morbidity and mortality committee in South Dakota is ongoing. The state has an informal committee at this time. An official committee will be organized as part of the Annual South Dakota Perinatal Conference.

Rural citizens of South Dakota continue to experience issues accessing care. The South Dakota Section is working to raise public awareness of the need for early prenatal care for these patients.

Currently, there are efforts within South Dakota’s two major medical systems to provide more educational opportunities. ACOG has been an excellent resource in implementing patient care initiatives and enhancing patient safety, especially in the more rural areas of South Dakota.

The section would like to involve ACOG more with local programming to show members what the organization is doing to support physicians locally. South Dakota ob-gyns are discussing the establishment of a local ob-gyn society with regular meetings to facilitate more dialogue between the state’s health systems.

An ob-gyn residency program is being developed in Sioux Falls for 2015. There will be three resident positions available each year if the program is approved.

Six new Junior Fellows have started practice in South Dakota over the past year. Previously, there has not been much activity from South Dakota Junior Fellows due to low numbers. Section leaders hope Junior Fellow involvement will increase with this infusion of members.



The 2012 Wisconsin Section Annual Meeting was held in August. The meeting had 77 attendees—32 were Junior Fellows in training and eight were from out of state. Thank you to Paul G. Tomich, MD, past District VI chair and District VI Junior Fellow advisor, and Jacques S. Abramowicz, MD, Illinois Section chair, who spoke at the meeting. The meeting was planned and orchestrated by Kathy D. Hartke, MD, Wisconsin Section vice chair and legislative chair.

The 2013 Wisconsin Section Annual Meeting will be held August 1–3 at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in the Wisconsin Dells. Everyone in District VI is welcome to attend! More information will be available on the Wisconsin Section website.

The Wisconsin Section’s Annual State Lobby Day is scheduled for April 12. It will be a joint event with the Wisconsin Medical Society. The event is an opportunity for any section member to meet with state senators and representatives to discuss legislative issues that affect the practice of ob-gyn and the provision of medical services in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Right to Life plans to propose several bills that will limit women’s access to abortion this legislative session. If passed, the bills would require women seeking abortion to view an ultrasound prior to their procedure (currently, women have the option not to view it); ban abortions at 20 weeks based on the belief that fetuses at this gestation feel pain; and ban abortions that are wanted based on the sex of the fetus. In response to these proposed bills, pro-choice Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) residents are working with faculty members and community physicians to advocate for Wisconsin women’s reproductive rights.

MCW residents participated in an adopt-a-family holiday program with the Next Door Foundation. Residents generously donated money, which was used to buy gifts for a family of three. The program provides gifts to more than 70 families in the Milwaukee area.

University of Wisconsin residents held a hands-on evening in the university’s simulation lab for the school’s medical student interest group. Additionally, residents helped fourth-year medical students applying for ob-gyn residencies with an evening of mock interviews.

The Wisconsin Section is in the process of evaluating possible funding for “Operation: Education,” a program coordinated by the Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation. The program offers students at each medical school in Wisconsin the opportunity to ask questions about the various primary and specialty care practices they may be interested in exploring. Program events are being held at each of the state’s medical schools. Ideally, each event will have practicing physician representatives from each field of expertise.

Congratulations to Anna Palatnik, MD, immediate past section Junior Fellow chair, who was accepted to the maternal-fetal medicine fellowship program at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, and Jameca R. Price, MD, who was accepted to the female medicine and reproductive surgery fellowship at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.

2013 ACM: Join ACOG in New Orleans

2013 ACM in New OrleansThe 61st Annual Clinical Meeting will be held in New Orleans, May 4–8. Attendees can expect to participate in a wide variety of hands-on courses and educational and interactive sessions related to ob-gyn practice. Visit the ACM website now for more information.

2013 ACM educational session topics include:

  • Updates in contraception
  • Noninvasive prenatal testing
  • Cervical cancer diagnosis guidelines
  • Endometrial cancer staging
  • Global health
  • Maternal mortality reduction
  • Environmental exposures to the unborn child
  • Cultural and religious perspectives on abortion

The ACM program will also feature sessions on work-life balance, family and professional relationship building, and leadership skills. The President’s Program will focus on the themes of patient safety, women’s health care advocacy, communication and technology, and practice and leadership in the 21st century. New this year will be three interactive surgical tutorials on pelvic anatomy, laparoscopic surgery, and techniques in abdominal wound closure. You won’t want to miss these outstanding presentations!

New Orleans is known for its rich history, culture, and traditions. The French Quarter (including the St. Louis Cathedral and Bourbon Street), New Orleans Botanical Garden, Audubon Zoo of New Orleans, and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas are just a few of the attractions attendees can look forward to visiting.

Save the meeting dates, and join thousands of ob-gyns and other women’s health care professionals at the ACM. It will be an experience to remember!

Calendar of events



Congressional Leadership Conference,
The President’s Conference
Washington, DC
Contact: Stacie Monroe, 202-863-2505

Wisconsin Section Annual Lobby Day
Wisconsin State Capitol
Contact: Jennifer Hallett, 

Annual Clinical Meeting
New Orleans


Wisconsin Section Annual Meeting
Kalahari Resort and Convention Center
Wisconsin Dells
Contact: Jennifer Hallett,

Annual District Meeting (with Districts V, VIII, and IX)
Grand Wailea Resort
Maui, HI
Contact: Tamera Gayden, 202-863-2542

Iowa Section Fall Meeting
hotelVetro & Conference Center
Iowa City
Contact: University of Iowa CME Division, 319-335-8599

Junior Fellow Annual District Meeting
hotelVetro & Conference Center
Iowa City
Contact: Stephanie Williams,

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188 | Mailing Address: PO Box 70620, Washington, DC 20024-9998