From the editor

Dr. Stella M. DantasStella M. Dantas, MD, District VIII secretary

As we move into spring, District VIII continues to be active and productive. I am always so proud to be part of such an innovative and progressive group of Fellows, Juniors Fellows, young physicians, and medical students. I think you will understand and appreciate this feeling as you read through this issue of the Gazette.

One of the most energizing and inspiring events that takes place every year is the Congressional Leadership Conference (CLC). This year, District VIII had more than 60 attendees, with over 15 Junior Fellows in attendance. Our high attendance rate is in large part due to Tony Ogburn, MD, District VIII legislative chair, who organizes a legislative meeting for district members the morning before the CLC starts. The meeting encourages members to become legislatively active, covering topics such as the importance of advocacy, perinatal collaboratives, dense breast legislation, reproductive health issues, and home birth. Read more about the meeting from Dr. Ogburn and Suzanne Burlone, MD, District VIII Junior Fellow legislative chair, in their report on legislative activities.

In addition to thoughtful leaders, District VIII is grooming some outstanding actors. The Washington Section, which has been legislatively active and innovative for quite some time, decided it was time to share some of its secrets to success. Section leaders developed a humorous informational video, “Lobbying: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” Judith M. Kimelman, MD, immediate past Washington Section chair and one of the stars of the video, shares more of her thoughts on lobbying in this issue of the Gazette.

Lastly, District VIII swept the awards at the CLC with the Montana Section receiving the Accomplishment in State Legislative Advocacy Award for its successful maternal mortality review legislation and the Hawaii Section receiving the Improvement in State Legislative Advocacy Award for its work on planned home birth safety and developing interest, enthusiasm, and action in legislative activities.

Our Junior Fellows, young physicians, and medical students are also keeping District VIII in the limelight. The Junior Fellows’ Central American Education Project is in its third year of existence and continues to gain momentum. Read more about Junior Fellow activities from Laura T. Mercer, MD, District VIII chair, in this issue. Also, Junior Fellows, check out her article on opportunities to get involved in ACOG.

Nicole E. Marshall, MD, and Sarah W. Prager, MD, District VIII young physicians, actively listen to their membership and turn suggestions into action, as seen during the 2013 Annual District Meeting in Maui. In addition to trying to make meetings more family friendly, they worked with the Junior Fellow leadership to offer the first District VIII mock oral board session. The session proved successful and will be offered again at the 2014 ADM in Napa, CA. Drs. Marshall and Prager are continuing their efforts to create meeting formats that meet the needs of the changing demographics in our specialty. Read about their many ideas in their young physician report.

Medical students are an active part of our district and sections. In particular, I would like to highlight a student who attended the 2013 ADM, Michael Hsiao, from British Columbia. After attending the ADM, Michael was inspired to organize an educational advocacy event for medical students. Petra A. Selke, MD, section chair, shares Michael’s story and others in her British Columbia Section report.

In addition to all the informative section reports, please make sure to read the featured articles in this issue on dense breast notification, the Choosing Wisely campaign, and social insurance and health care (a pensive essay by Jerry Kopelman, MD, immediate past District VIII chair).

In closing, I would like to congratulate the Utah Section on winning a Council of District Chairs Service Recognition Award for its outreach initiative to rural hospitals. The award is a well-deserved recognition of the tremendous efforts of W. Lawrence Warner, MD, Utah Section chair.

Please contact me at maddogcoutu@yahoo.com if you have feedback, article suggestions, or questions on how to become more involved in the district or your section. I would love to hear your opinions and experience. Best wishes for a joyous spring and summer.