San Francisco, CA — Today, Mark Stephen DeFrancesco, MD, of Cheshire, Connecticut, became the 66th president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), based in Washington, DC. In assuming this role, Dr. DeFrancesco also became president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Dr. DeFrancesco was sworn in during the presidential inauguration and convocation at the ACOG Annual Clinical and Scientific Meeting, the nation’s largest meeting of obstetrician-gynecologists in the U.S. and the premiere medical conference focused solely on women’s health.
During his speech, Dr. DeFrancesco discussed the role of the obstetrician-gynecologist in providing a continuity of care, from routine well-woman care to prenatal services to life-saving gynecologic surgery. He urged ob-gyns to provide more comprehensive care with specific focus on obesity and smoking, reminding attendees that better preventive care is intrinsically woven into prenatal and maternal health.
“These two problems directly affect our care: we all know that obesity increases the Cesarean delivery rate and other pregnancy-related morbidities,” he said. “Even worse perhaps, we now also know that obesity in pregnancy may be condemning the newborn to a medically complicated life.”
Dr. DeFrancesco also urged Annual Meeting attendees to take charge of the health care system — including health care delivery and decision-making — by becoming leaders outside of the exam room. He addressed the growing outside influences associated with ob-gyn practice, from regulatory pressures to technology adoption to payment issues and other financial concerns.
“Along with our patients, we, the doctors, must always be the ones making the health care decision, not administrators and certainly not politicians,” he said. “While there has been a need to come together in larger and integrated health systems in many areas, these new models should always be centered on the patient.”
He added, “No matter how large or complex the health care system grows, it doesn’t begin to approach the complexities of the human body, and we’ve spent our lives studying and understanding that.”
Dr. DeFrancesco is managing partner at Westwood Women’s Health in Waterbury, Connecticut, a division of Women’s Health Connecticut. He is a founding member of Women’s Health Connecticut, and served as its chief medical officer for many years. A graduate of Yale University, he received his medical education at the University of Connecticut, where he is currently an assistant clinical professor. Dr. DeFrancesco also earned an MBA from the University of New Haven.
Over the years, Dr. DeFrancesco has served in many ACOG positions at the local, regional, and national levels. He is a board member and a past president of the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, and is a past president of the New England Obstetrical and Gynecological Society. He has also been a longtime member of the Connecticut State Medical Society, serving on the legislative committee for many years, and is a past president of the Connecticut Society of American Board Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He was awarded the Patients’ Choice Award and was named one of America’s Top Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In 2009, Dr. DeFrancesco was inducted as an honorary member of SOCHOG, the Chilean Obstetrics and Gynecology Society.
Prior to his medical career, Dr. DeFrancesco served as a State Representative in the Connecticut Legislature.
The full text of Dr. DeFrancesco’s inaugural speech will be published in the June 2015 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of approximately 58,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization. www.acog.org