Connect with District VII on Facebook
In an effort to provide you with current information regarding women’s health, District VII has joined Facebook. We are updating our page regularly with news specifically relevant to District VII members. You can find us at facebook.com/ACOGDistrictVII.
ACOG national is also on Facebook at facebook.com/ACOGNational. If you’re a Facebook member, log in and click on the “Like” button on the ACOG national and District VII pages. Then, you’ll be able to comment on and share any updates posted. You’ll also get ACOG national and District VII news sent directly to your Facebook news feed.
Anyone can view Facebook pages, but only Facebook members can interact with ACOG national and District VII. To become a Facebook member, sign up at facebook.com.
ACOG national is also on Twitter at twitter.com/acognews. To follow its feed, go to twitter.com and sign up as a member. You’ll be the first to hear ACOG news!
Chair’s report: Have you been to an ACOG meeting lately?
J. Martin Tucker, MD
Those of us who trained in or prior to the 1980s remember ACOG meetings as a destination—something we looked forward to year after year. Whether it was a district meeting, an Annual Clinical Meeting, or a freestanding postgraduate course, it was always quite an event. Meetings were a chance to learn about the most up-to-date information and technology, network with old friends, and travel to interesting places. In many cases, an ACOG meeting was our first introduction to ACOG activities.
ACOG has spent a lot of time and effort at the national, district, and local levels studying meeting structure and, in general, the relevance of each meeting. Efforts continue to find the right balance for ACOG meetings. Meetings have been shortened, consolidated, and held in more convenient locations in order to stem the tide of lagging attendance.
As district chair, I wanted to get firsthand exposure to the meetings within our district. I attended the combined District VII and Tennessee Section meeting in Nashville in October; the Louisiana Section meeting in New Orleans in March; the Alabama and Mississippi joint section meeting in Miramar Beach, FL, in May; and the Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma combined section meeting in Branson, MO, in June. I also had the opportunity to spend some time with the Mexico Section and representatives of the Mexican Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics while at the Annual Clinical Meeting in New Orleans in May.
I am happy to report that meetings in District VII are doing well. The ones I attended were well organized, in convenient locations, and had just the right balance of business and leisure time. The educational programs were informative and pertinent to clinical practice, and there were plenty of activities for families and children. While attendance could always be better, it was great to see a mix of young and not-so-young physicians, Junior Fellows and Fellows, and even an increase in attendance by medical students.
During my term as district chair, I intend to spread the word about meeting opportunities within our district. Your district and section officers have done fabulous jobs organizing and presenting these meetings. I ask you to make it a priority to attend at least one district or section meeting during the coming year. You will find the experience to be time well spent. Your next opportunity is the 2013 Annual District Meeting in San Antonio September 27–29.
The next time we meet, I will probably ask, “Have you been to an ACOG meeting lately?”
2013 ADM: Join us in San Antonio
Grant R. Cox, MD, District VII secretary
The Annual District Meeting is fast approaching. I hope everyone is planning to attend this joint district meeting with District XI at the Westin La Cantera Hill Country Resort in San Antonio September 27–29. The program, “Great Debates and Updates in Ob-Gyn,” was constructed to minimize time spent away from work and to allow room for family activities.
Eugene C. Toy, MD, District XI secretary and ADM program director, has outlined debate topics relevant to practicing ob-gyns, panel discussions on issues such as physician employment vs. private practice, and other educational venues such as poster presentations and exhibits. Additionally, breakfast meetings on prioritizing and work-life fulfillment will be held.
The meeting program officially begins at 1 pm on Friday and concludes at noon on Sunday. A Friday morning four-hour coding workshop will be held for those interested, including office staff. View the preliminary program.
Attendees will be welcomed with a reception on Friday night and are invited to take in the Riverwalk and/or the Alamo on Saturday night. Bus rides to and from these locations will be provided. The meeting’s hotel is located in the scenic Texas Hill Country. Historic sites, exciting theme parks, and world-class shopping and dining are all nearby.
For convenience, the hotel will be offering activities for children during lecture times. Additionally, a children’s artwork contest with the theme “Doctors are Amazing” is being held in conjunction with the ADM. Children or grandchildren of District VII and IX members are invited to participate in the contest. Selected pieces will be sent as gifts with messages of appreciation to military ob-gyns serving overseas. Participants will receive a $50 discount on meeting registration. Register today!
Junior Fellow news
Suwan Mehra, MD, District VII Junior Fellow chair
Wasn’t the Junior Fellow Interim Advisory Council Meeting in New Orleans exceptional? We had a sizable turnout of District VII Junior Fellows and medical students. Our preparation for the upcoming Annual District Meeting in San Antonio is in full swing. We are excited to partner with District XI in hosting the joint district meeting. As with previous district meetings, we are anticipating a considerable number of Junior Fellows will attend. I request that all Junior Fellows support the service project being held at the meeting, a clothing drive for women seeking to enter the workforce. Even a few minutes spent raising awareness of this event at your program and in your section will go a long way in helping us serve the community.
The work of ACOG’s political action committee, Ob-GynPAC, is important in ensuring availability, safety, and quality of care for our patients. Opportunity knocks but once! Don’t miss the boat on the opportunity to promote awareness of Ob-GynPAC among Junior Fellows. We hope support of Ob-GynPAC continues to grow so ACOG can have even more influence on Capitol Hill. We are in the process of developing a Junior Fellow state representative who will be responsible for following all state legislative activities pertinent to the practice of ob-gyn.
We are expecting a large group of medical students at the ADM this year. J. Martin Tucker, MD, District VII chair, has been highly supportive of medical student involvement in District VII. I encourage all Junior Fellows to help spark interest in medical students and invite them to the ADM. There will be residency fairs, surgical workshops, and social outings to help engage them with mentors in ob-gyn. The John M. Gibbons Medical Student Award can help alleviate their travel costs. Contact Sophie Barry, District VII manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Sara C. Wood, MD, District VII Junior Fellow vice chair, will take over as District VII Junior Fellow chair at the conclusion of the ADM. The election season for section and district officers has begun. More information is available on the ACOG website. We have seen an increase in applications, which shows how much enthusiasm Junior Fellows have to serve within ACOG.
Please visit the Junior Fellow website for helpful resources and information for Junior Fellows in training and in practice. Contact me or any of your Junior Fellow officers with concerns or suggestions on how we can use ACOG as a venue to better serve the community.
Young physician report
Stacey L. Holman, MD, District VII young physician
I attended an interesting Young Physician Leadership Council Meeting in May as part of the Annual Clinical Meeting in New Orleans. Results of the mentorship survey were discussed. Eighty percent of respondents could identify someone they go to for advice on career advancement, work-life balance, and goal-setting for the future.
We also discussed ACOG’s involvement in the grievance process and the ethical guidelines that should be followed as an ACOG member. We talked about the need for an educational model to inform members about the grievance process and the Code of Professional Ethics. The Ninth Annual Young Physician Breakfast Forum at the ACM included a follow-up talk on mentorship and an overview of the Affordable Care Act.
The topics discussed at these meetings reiterate the importance of young physician involvement at every level of our specialty. I encourage young physicians to apply for committee and leadership positions within ACOG. Please visit the young physician website for helpful resources and information.
Christopher M. Lynch, MD, section chair
The Kansas Section participated in a combined section meeting with the Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma sections at Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, MO, in June. We are diligently trying to increase awareness of this wonderful meeting and location.
The state Legislature wrap-up session extended into early June for the first time since 1861. Budget reductions include a 3% cut to higher education, extended over two years. A stipulation specific to the University of Kansas Medical Center was added, stating that enrollment and programs could not be reduced at the campuses in Kansas City, Wichita, Lawrence, and Salina.
William D. Binder, MD, section chair
The Louisiana Section held its annual meeting on March 9. It was preceded by a Friday evening social. Bates Whiteside, CPA, gave an entertaining talk about the basics of financial planning. W. Allen Hogge, MD, presented an update on genetic screening and diagnosis, and Belinda M. Sartor, MD, presented an update on reproductive endocrinology and infertility.
The state Legislature met from April 8 to June 6. Several bills that passed will directly or indirectly affect ob-gyns. One such bill will constitutionally protect provider rates for nursing homes, pharmacies, and intermediate care facilities. Another bill will require more reporting by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals concerning five Medicaid health maintenance organizations introduced last year. Seventy percent of deliveries are paid for by Medicaid in Louisiana.
Gov. Bobby Jindal vetoed a bill that would have created a new legal and regulatory framework for surrogacy births in Louisiana. The governor said questions and concerns about surrogacy hadn’t been studied enough.
Francisco J. Ruiloba, MD, section chair
The Mexico Section Advisory Council has been meeting to come up with better ways to communicate and collaborate with District VII Fellows. Our ultimate goal is to increase academic exchanges and develop relationships with our colleagues in the US. We want to work on promoting medical research and designing social program activities. It’s important for Mexico Junior Fellows and US Junior Fellows to communicate as well. Ideally, we’d like to grow into an international model for other countries to follow.
We continue to organize two bi-national courses in Mexico, with the regular assistance of at least two speakers from within ACOG. These courses are sponsored by the Pete and Weesie Hollis Educational Endowment Fund.
The Annual District Meeting will be held in San Antonio this year. We hope more of our members will be able to attend considering the meeting’s close proximity to Mexico.
Richard “Pete” Hollis, MD, past ACOG
president and past District VII chair,
and his wife, Weesie, at the Mississippi
and Alabama joint section meeting,
where Dr. Hollis was honored with the
first-ever Mississippi Legends in
Obstetrics and Gynecology Award
Wayne A. Slocum, MD, section chair
The Mississippi Section held a joint meeting with the Alabama Section at the Hilton Sandestin in Miramar Beach, FL, in May. Once again, under the direction of the Alabama Section’s leadership, the meeting was fantastic, and everyone had a great time. James M. Shwayder, MD, chair of ob-gyn at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, addressed attendees about ultrasound evaluation of adnexal masses. Another crowd favorite was the talk C.M.A. Max Rogers IV, MD, Alabama Section chair, gave on patient safety.
During the meeting, Richard “Pete” Hollis, MD, past ACOG president and past District VII chair, was honored with the first-ever Mississippi Legends in Obstetrics and Gynecology Award. Dr. Hollis and his wife, Weesie, attended the meeting with many family members. It was wonderful to give the award to such a deserving servant leader. Dr. Hollis has done many great things for the women of Mississippi and the US. He is truly an inspiration to the rest of us.
The Mississippi Legislature called a special session to address Medicaid expansion and ultimately decided to retain the existing program. Gov. Phil Bryant was against the expansion. In the regular session, the Legislature refused to fund Medicaid at all. Nearly 650,000 Mississippians receive Medicaid coverage.
George P. Hubbell, MD, MS, section chair
The Missouri Section participated in a stimulating combined section meeting with the Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma sections at Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, MO, in June. This was the second time all four sections participated in the meeting. The weather and venue were perfect for didactics and camaraderie. For the first time, attendees enjoyed a poster session hosted by Junior Fellows from five residency programs.
The Missouri legislative session ended in late May. Many of the Missouri Section’s advocacy efforts were successful. A bill requiring pulse oximetry screening for all newborns regardless of birth location was signed into law. We worked with pediatricians in the state to bring the bill to fruition. Attempts to restore Missouri’s cap on noneconomic damages were successful in the House, but the Senate was unable to reach a vote on the proposed legislation.
The Missouri Section Legislative Committee recently met and established restoration of caps on noneconomic damages and a home birth insurance mandate as priorities for 2014. Our growing state political action committee, the Missouri Women’s Health PAC, allows your voice to be heard best in Jefferson City.
Nirupama K. DeSilva, MD, section chair
The Oklahoma Section now has an advisory board composed of members from all ob-gyn subspecialties and all parts of Oklahoma to help ensure that we are representing the needs of all women and ob-gyns in the state. The advisory board promoted access to ob-gyns in rural parts of Oklahoma, a subset of ob-gyns that has not traditionally been involved in the section to date.
In 2012, the Oklahoma Section hired its first lobbyist. The lobbyist has been a true advocate for women’s health in Oklahoma and has helped our section be more active during Oklahoma's legislative session.
The Oklahoma Section participated in a combined section meeting with the Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri sections at Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, MO, in June. It was a beautiful venue. Everyone had a wonderful time at the educational sessions and catching up with colleagues.
Mark C. Genesen, MD, Oklahoma Section vice chair;
Nirupama K. DeSilva, MD, Oklahoma Section chair;
Lydia D. Nightingale, MD, Oklahoma Section
secretary-treasurer; and Dana G. Stone, MD,
District VII legislative chair, at the Arkansas,
Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma combined section meeting
View from Big Cedar Lodge, in Branson, MO,
where the Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and
Oklahoma combined section meeting was held
Christopher T. Welsch, MD, section chair
The Tennessee Section is pleased to announce the selection of Gwinnett Ladson, MD, from Nashville, as section secretary-treasurer for the 2012–15 officer roster. Dr. Ladson is the acting chair of ob-gyn at Meharry Medical College and will be an excellent addition to the section’s leadership. Please feel free to contact section officers with questions or if you are interested in participating in section activities.
We are seeking individuals interested in serving on the Tennessee Section Advisory Council. Service requires a nominal time commitment and provides the opportunity for additional insight into district and section activities. You will also be able to provide input into planning priorities for our section. Please contact me with any questions at email@example.com.
The section is considering the value of hosting regionalized meetings in conjunction with local medical societies. We are exploring opportunities to partner with the Tennessee Medical Association for its annual meeting in Nashville in April and with local societies in Memphis and Knoxville. Please stay tuned for further developments and a meeting in your area.
Section leaders are discussing collaborative efforts with the Tennessee Initiative for Perinatal Quality Care for the benefit of ob-gyns and the patients we serve. Paul G. Stumpf, MD, from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, and Bobby C. Howard, MD, from University of Tennessee, Knoxville, are spearheading a teleconference-accessible maternal grand rounds program that will be available to all physicians in the state. Upcoming events will be announced via email.
Expect a challenge in 2013 or 2014 to Tennessee’s liability reform bills regarding caps on noneconomic damages and precertification of lawsuits. These bills are responsible for a significant decrease in liability premiums statewide over the last few years. Challenges to allow midlevel providers to practice independent of physicians are also likely to happen.
Contributions to ACOG’s federal political action committee, Ob-GynPAC, help elect and re-elect members of Congress who support our specialty. Please consider donating. (You will not be favored or disadvantaged by reason of the amount of your contribution or a decision not to contribute. Contributions from foreign nationals are not permitted.)
Legislative activities update
Mary K. Welch, MD, holds an iPad mini
she won at the Arkansas, Kansas,
Missouri, and Oklahoma combined
section meeting for her donation
to the Ob-GynPAC.
Dana G. Stone, MD, District VII legislative chair
District VII sections presented thorough and excellent reports of legislative activity in each state at the District VII Advisory Council Meeting in New Orleans in May. Scope of practice, mandatory reporting of dense breast tissue, reproductive choice, personhood legislation, and Medicaid expansion are some of the issues that have come up in many states. Section leaders will have the opportunity to attend the ACOG State Legislative Roundtable in September to further discuss current and upcoming state bills.
Ob-GynPAC, ACOG’s federal political action committee, allows ACOG to support candidates who share its interests in women’s health issues. ACOG members have been raising funds for Ob-GynPAC at meetings. At the Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma combined section meeting in June, members donated a total of $950 for a chance to win an iPad mini. Thanks to all who donated, and congratulations to Mary K. Welch, MD, of Columbia, MO, who won the prize!
Dr. Jimmy M. Sparks: An ‘Alabama Legend’ in the making
Jimmy M. Sparks, MD, was awarded an ACOG Outstanding District Service Award at the 2013 Annual Clinical Meeting in May. The award is given to individuals who have made notable contributions to their district.
Dr. Sparks has been practicing ob-gyn in Alabama for almost 40 years. He is currently in private practice in Birmingham. Dr. Sparks received his medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and completed his ob-gyn residency at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. As a military physician, he served at the 130th Station Hospital in Heidelberg, Germany, and the Eisenhower Army Medical Center, attaining the rank of major and receiving the Army Commendation Medal.
Dr. Sparks was assistant professor in the UAB ob-gyn department from 1986 to 1991. He has served as district counselor in the Medical Association of the State of Alabama for the past 13 years and is currently a life counselor. He was instrumental in forming the organization’s Medical Liability Committee and served as its chair for four years.
For District VII, Dr. Sparks has served as secretary-treasurer, vice chair, and chair of the Alabama Section. He was program chair for the annual section meeting from 2009 to 2011. During his six-year tenure on the District VII Advisory Council, Dr. Sparks worked to streamline the interim and district meetings. To elevate the voice of sections in district discussions, he organized the District VII Council of Section Chairs and served as its chair for two years. Dr. Sparks continues to serve on the Section Advisory Council and assist with section activities.
Perhaps the most prophetic demonstration of Dr. Sparks’ commitment to organized medicine is his establishment of the Alabama Legends in Obstetrics and Gynecology Award to honor those who have made historically significant contributions to women’s health care in Alabama. Four legends have been honored at the annual section meeting thus far. We look forward to him being a recipient of that award someday.
Calendar of events
Annual District Meeting (with District XI)
Westin La Cantera Hill Country Resort
Contact: Tamera Gayden, 202-863-2542
Congressional Leadership Conference, The President’s Conference
Contact: 202-863-2509 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma Section Meeting
Big Cedar Lodge
Contact: Victoria Hart, 501-526-6834 or email@example.com