Washington, DC – Today, Thomas Gellhaus, MD of Iowa City, Iowa, became the 67th president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), based in Washington, DC. In assuming this role, Dr. Gellhaus also became president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Dr. Gellhaus 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 premier medical conference focused solely on women’s health.
During his speech, Dr. Gellhaus posed the question, "What is the next generation of health care?" He challenged that next generation of ob-gyns to be stronger, more unified and more empowered to make a difference in health care.
"We will do it together through three initiatives,” he stated. “Global health, advocacy, and new resident education models.”
Dr. Gellhaus’s desire to work with global health was inspired long ago when he and his wife, Melanie, served on a medical mission in the Dominican Republic. He detailed his first initiative with a 6-point plan to improve the health care of women and children around the world. Through global partnerships and collaborations, like the ones he initiated with Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) and the Ethiopian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Dr. Gellhaus envisioned a future of working together to increase the quality of health care provided to women in other countries.
He also looked to the future of the specialty, stating, "Let’s encourage, enable and empower more residents to receive this incredible learning experience and hopefully become lifelong advocates for global health care."
Dr. Gellhaus also urged Annual Meeting attendees to get involved with ACOG’s legislative and political work and announced his second presidential initiative: All In For Advocacy, a program launched by ACOG’s government affairs team in 2015. He stressed that caring for patients does not end in the exam room or the surgical suite. He added, "Every ACOG member should care for your patients, your practices, your specialty by being an ACOG Advocate."
Finally, Dr. Gellhaus vowed to continue the work on collaborative care models and efforts to improve physician satisfaction started by ACOG past presidents, Dr. John Jennings and Dr. Mark DeFrancesco, by addressing current resident education programs. By researching, studying and developing alternative training and education models, ACOG will be better prepared to meet the needs of future ob-gyns.
Dr. Gellhaus is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa. He graduated from Yankton High School in Yankton, South Dakota, received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Chemistry from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and his Doctor of Medicine Degree from the University of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Following residency, he entered private practice in Davenport, Iowa, and after 20 years in private practice, he returned to academic medicine at the University of Iowa.
Over the past 20 years, Dr. Gellhaus has served in many ACOG positions at the local, regional, national and international levels. He has completed the McCain Fellowship, a month-long, in-depth experience in advocacy, at ACOG in Washington, D.C., in 1999. In 2001, he was a Primary Care Policy Fellow with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Gellhaus has also been very active in leading groups on short-term medical and surgical mission projects for the last 20 years. He has done numerous presentations about these short-term medical and surgical mission projects throughout the United States.
The full text of Dr. Gellhaus’s inaugural speech will be published in the June 2016 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 more than 57,000 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