Tara A. Renna, MD
This year I had the pleasure of attending my first Annual ACOG meeting as an Ob-Gyn reporter. The experience was impressive, educational and motivational.
My first impression of the meeting was the impressive vastness of the venue and the coordination of the programming. I have been to other meetings in the past and none have compared. It was as if the greatest minds in Obstetrics and Gynecology had invaded the city of Chicago, and all of them were ready and willing to share their experiences. Every session was more educational than the last and the speakers were simply amazing. I enjoyed the wide range of topics from medical to advocacy topics and new innovative techniques, and left the conference not only with new facts, but a revitalized excitement to return to my program and contribute. Sometimes in residency it can be very hard to stay motivated and keep growing. Especially at the end of second year I feel as if there comes a point where you can just continue to cruise along or can decide to branch out and do something more. I have always wanted to be a person to do more and this conference helped to reinstill this desire in me.
The focus on education and the growth of residents was very welcoming and unexpected. Some of the most well-known physicians in the field were available for questions, personal conversations and mentoring, which also offered a unique perspective on the field. I immensely enjoyed interacting with specialists from all fields including the ones that I was interested in. I was not expecting to have the ability to simply talk with these fantastic minds and get straight-forward advice on life and lessons learned. I especially enjoyed the talks that we had as a resident group because I agree that we all entered medicine for the patients and sometimes it can be easy to forget this.
The ACOG meeting in addition to being a great opportunity for meeting new people and networking also afforded me the opportunity to learn about other programs around the country. It was refreshing to have conversations with residents scattered around the country and learn that they have the same experiences. I was able to make some new friends and we already have plans to go to future meetings. Our experiences although brand new for us individually, as a collective are not, and there is something very comforting in knowing that all of the joys and fears are shared.
Overall this was a fantastic meeting and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in this. I look forward to my next annual meeting!
Tara A. Renna, M.D.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Albany Medical Center
Albany Medical College, Class of 2012
Joshua Stewart, MD
For me, one of the most impactful educational experiences of the ACOG Ob-Gyn Reporter Program occurred at the Samuel A. Cosgrove Memorial lecture entitled, "Human Rights and Women's Health in the 21st Century." During this lecture, the lecturer presented a video re-produced by the World Health Organization entitled, "Why did Mrs. X have to die?" The film depicts a generic woman in a generic underserved rural community and explores the barriers that exist for the woman to receive proper medical care. Some of the barriers include lack of transportation, literacy, facilities, medical supplies, and trained professionals. Many of the barriers include a lack of basic resources, resources that many developed communities take for granted. For example, in the video it takes several weeks for Mrs. X to obtain enough money to afford a bus ticket to the nearest medical facility in order to attend her prenatal appointments. She is only able to obtain the funds with the assistance of many other people in her community. As a result, Mrs. X is only able to attend a fraction of her recommended prenatal visits.
I considered this video as it pertains to the clinic population to which I have exposure in my residency program. I am completing my residency in New York City, a community that in many ways has many resources, however, experiences many of the same barriers to care. Many of our clinic patients do not live in New York City proper, rather they live in one of the burroughs of the city. As a result, they often must travel a significant distance/time to attend their clinic appointments. This travel often requires our patients to spend a relatively large portion of their income on public transportation, as well as incur additional expenses due to missed work or childcare. In addition, if the patient requires a prescription medication, it is often difficult for them to find adequate pharmacies in their communities, and therefore, they must travel additional distances to obtain medical necessities. This perspective has motivated me to be as efficient with my clinic visits, both in length of time that the patient must be at the clinic as well as the amount of material/services to be covered/provided at each visit. Additionally, this has encouraged me to discuss with my patients individual barriers to care and ways that our clinic can improve the services we provide.
Joshua Stewart, MD
Stephanie Sublett, MD
“What Matters Matters”
May 11, 2014
Having recently returned from Chicago as part of the Ob-Gyn Reporter Program at the ACOG Annual Clinical Meeting held April 26th-30th and thrown back into my regular sixty-hour-plus work week, I am left with a sense of empowerment and given that today is Mother’s Day it seems even more fitting to be reflective regarding women’s health.
It was an amazing experience to be part of a group of individuals all with the same common goal of improving women’s health both nationally as well as globally. The program allowed me to connect with 43 other OBGYN residents from across the country, represented by all twelve ACOG Districts, as well as those from Japan & Argentina. Through sharing tales of residency the long hours, our favorite & not-so-favorite attendings & clinical encounters, it was evident that we are all connected through similar experiences but also common emotions. Dr. Skip Granai, a gynecologic oncologist from Brown University, gave us three lectures throughout the program, emphasizing the importance of human values in medicine, termed “h-values” and the need to balance these with the science of medicine known as our “p-values” that guide our clinical decision making. The art of medicine some would say is equally as important as evidence-based medicine. Remembering to treat the whole person and taking into account the human values that are important to them cannot be discounted in the management of our patients.
The five-day conference taught me a lot about new advances in obstetrics & gynecology, empowered me to have more of a leadership role in my own residency program, but the most fundamental lesson I learned was from Dr. Granai and that was “what matters matters”. What exactly does this mean? I am not entirely sure. But I do know something inside me is forever changed and it will undoubtedly affect the future care of my patients. But for today, it makes me want to tell those around me how important they are to me and most importantly tell my mother that I love her.