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Ob-Gyn Reporter Program

2015 ACM 
The Ob-Gyn Reporter Program, funded by an educational grant from Teva Pharmaceuticals, promotes connections between ACOG Junior Fellow residents from around the country. The program affords residents the opportunity to develop leadership skills and provides exposure to current topics in OB/GYN.

Please read and enjoy the following reports submitted by District II Junior Fellows who attended the 2015 Annual Clinical & Scientific Meeting as Ob-Gyn Reporters.

 
2015 District II Reporters

Selma Amrane, MD
 
Olga T. Filippova, MD
 
Mengyang Sun, MD
 


REPORTS 

 
Selma Amrane, MD

When I discovered that I was nominated ACOG Resident Reporter for my program, I felt honored and excited. I had heard that the program was wonderful, but was not quite sure what it would entail. As it turns out, the program was in fact wonderful, although it was slightly different from what I imagined. It was less about science and late-breaking research, and more about patient and physician advocacy. These less expected aspects were a delight to discover, as they are quite relevant today, in the face of substantial change in the medical world. In some ways, these changes have been beneficial, such as improvement in surgical techniques and patient safety measures, but in many ways, these changes have affected the autonomy and quality of life of physicians, who are the very people with patients’ best interest at heart. Oftentimes, the interests of other groups, such as hospital administration, investors in the healthcare field, and insurance companies, conflict with the interests of physicians and patient care. If physicians are not available or willing to advocate for the rights of themselves, their peers, and their patients, the other parties’ interests will likely prevail, likely with an impact on patient care. Being reminded of the importance of advocacy was one of my favorite aspects of this meeting. The roles of ACOG and the AMA are ones I appreciate and will continue to support throughout my life as an OB/GYN.

An additional surprise of this conference was the longitudinal lecture series by Dr Granai. Initially, I was not certain about how I felt about his abstract, philosophical lectures. However, they quickly grew on me, and I feel truly privileged I was able to attend his three lectures. I am amazed at how much thought he has given to his career choice, his patients, and what this means in the context of the world and life. He has incredible perspective; as a GYN Oncologist, he deals with diseases with bleak outcomes and death on a daily basis, so I can imagine that much of his perspective has come from this unique viewpoint. However, it is obvious he has an exceptionally deep understanding of our roles and frustrations as OB/GYNs. He has realized, after all of his years of practicing GYN Oncology, that being a physician is in fact one of the most privileged careers that exists because it is by definition “good.” I agree with his idea that our job is extremely privileged; our daily grind, our day-to-day struggles, are all in order to ensure or improve the health of our patients. There are few jobs that are as “intrinsically good” as ours. This series of lectures resonated with me especially because, as a second year resident in New York City, the hours are long and the frustrations are numerous. This is a time in my residency where burnout has been high historically, and it is easy to let the accumulated fatigue be overwhelming, which in turn leads to focusing on frustration. Dr Granai reminded me that everyday I practice OB/GYN is a privilege. I will try my hardest to keep this in the forefront of my mind, and not the frustrations.

Another surprise was the goal of the conference to bring the latest, evidence-based recommendations of practice to all practitioners, but especially private practitioners in the community. With all of the advances in technology and research in the last 10-20 years, it can be difficult for a private practitioner to be knowledgeable of the most current resources and recommendations. As a resident in a large academic center, I felt familiar with most of the recommendations, but found the review of literature very helpful in solidifying and confirming what I already knew. As a potential private practitioner in the future, I hope to attend the ACOG Annual Clinical Meeting yearly to help me remain up to date with the latest practices and recommendations.

In addition to the above, I learned a great deal at my assigned lectures and roundtable talks, many of which were not topics I was likely to choose on my own. I also met a number of residents from around the entire United States, which helped foster a sense of comradery amongst us, as we will all be future colleagues. Overall, being an Ob-Gyn Reporter was a delightful experience, which I would recommend wholeheartedly.

Selma Amrane, M.D.
Resident, PGY2
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
Weill Cornell Medical Center Campus


 

Olga T. Filippova, MD

I have to be honest, I did not know what to expect before arriving as an Ob-Gyn Reporter at the 2015 ACOG Annual Clinical and Scientific Meeting. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am well aware of the structure and function of a scientific conference. However, upon walking into the convention center on the first day, I was immediately blown away by something that at times isn’t as apparent - passion. Passion for teaching, learning, research, communication, leadership, advocacy, discovery, and most importantly, women’s health. I was instantaneously surrounded by experts in their fields with absolute willingness to answer questions and share their personal experiences, and at the same time openness to say “I do not know” and inspire research ideas. In this setting, no topic was too controversial for scholarly discussion.

It was also very clear that there was a strong focus on OB/GYN physicians as a whole, not just on teaching us the latest scientific facts. There were plenty of opportunities to explore topics that are just as important as the latest science - effective communication and leadership, giving bad news, disclosing suboptimal outcomes, coding and the changes coming with ICD-10, and physician burnout and demoralization. Nothing demonstrates this focus on the physician as a whole person better than the Jim and Midge Breeden Lecture, given this year by Dr. C. O. Granai, entitled “The Good Fight.”

I was also impressed by the clear focus on the next generation of OB/GYNs. I still remember my own struggles in choosing a carrier path in medical school, and there were certainly opportunities for medical students to become fully immersed in the field of OB/GYN. There were also opportunities for us residents, from written and oral board preparation, contract negotiation, and financial planning, to a career fair (new for 2015!), CV review and a chance to go head to head with our mentors in friendly competition, with the crowd favorite “Stump the Professors,” and new for 2015, “Are You Smarter than a Junior Fellow?”.

Even after spending five packed days at the conference, I could not help but be amazed by everything else that was being offered. Walking by the signage hanging on the doors of adjacent rooms, I could not help but think “I have to make it to everything!” Who would think to miss Drs. Camran, Farr and Ceana Nezhat performing live laparoscopic and hysteroscopic telesurgery, or hear the latest on universal cervical length screening and prophylactic salpingectomy?

It was a great honor and privilege to attend the 2015 ACOG Annual Clinical and Scientific meeting as an Ob-Gyn Reporter. The event was truly grandiose, but also felt intimate and united on delivering exceptional care to women in all stages of their lives. Because, after all, that is why we became obstetrician-gynecologists.

Olga T. Filippova, MD
Resident, PGY2
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Albany Medical Center


 

Mengyang Sun, MD

The Good Fight

What is the good fight? That is a question Dr. Granai asked his audience during one of the opening lectures at the ACOG conference this year. He gave us an answer, or rather, a hint at a semblance of an answer, but left even more questions lingering in its wake.

In order to fight the good fight, we need to not be demoralized. But we often are demoralized. How can we not be? When day in and day out, we are overworked, overstressed, overwhelmed by the minutiae involved in our day-to-day routines. This is especially true for OBGYN residents, who often bear the brunt of the frontline workload, especially on the inpatient services. Before too long, most of us have forgotten why we chose this career, why we wanted to be OBGYNs, why we are doing what we are doing. We no longer remember how to fight the good fight, or even what we’re fighting for. We’re just fighting, with ourselves, with our colleagues, with our patients, for no reason, or none that we can remember anyways.

So how can we snap out of our demoralization? Working together with true friends, Dr. Granai tells us. True friends that we make over the course of our careers; true friends that we make, perhaps, during the ACOG reporter program, over friendly conversation, or a few drinks. We can keep each other motivated, remind each other of our passion for women’s health, our dedication to patient care, our love of surgery, of the unique privilege of our profession, to be a part of the most intimate moments of a woman’s life, both marvelously joyous and profoundly sad – the moment she becomes a mother, the moment she loses her unborn child, the moment she finds out she has cancer, the moment she realizes that she is cured. We are rejuvenated by those reminders, by the memories of those shared moments.

And when we snap out of our demoralization, we can then resume the good fight. But how do we actually go about fighting the good fight? By combining the p-values and the h-values, the science and the humanity, Dr. Granai tells us. We have to know the science to be good doctors, to prescribe the best treatments for our patients. But we have to be familiar with the heart, the humanity, the things that truly matter to our patients, to become great doctors. We have to keep our patients front and center in every decision. We have to focus on our patients, on their thoughts, their goals, their hopes and dreams. If we can relate to our patients on a personal level, we can make the best clinical decisions for them.

So what did I learn at the ACOG annual meeting? I learned a lot about the p-values, and a little about the h-values. I learned how to fight the good fight, or at least some idea of where to start. And I can’t wait to return to the next ACOG annual meeting to learn more lessons, to help me continue to fight the good fight.

Mengyang Sun, MD
Resident, PGY-2
Department of Obstetrics and Gyencology
Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center

 


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