From the chair

Dr. Susan M. LemagieSusan M. Lemagie, MD

Lazy MountainHappy holidays from Alaska! Here is the sun setting on Lazy Mountain, where I raised my daughters. Of course, we get daylight in Alaska this time of year—just not as much! This picture was taken around 4 pm. Solstice will be here soon.

District VIII had a successful Annual District Meeting in Maui, HI, with Districts V, VI, and IX. Everyone had a great time! The Grand Wailea is a wonderful venue for large meetings. It feels intimate nestled among the lush tropical landscape.

Thanks to Tod C. Aeby, MD, and Chrystie K. Fujimoto, MD, for putting together a wonderful scientific program. We are all more tech savvy now after learning about Flipgrid and using Ning at the meeting. Attendees also used iPads to access patient education information about contraception and cervical cancer screening from the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, of course, we now all have our Green Journal app and ACOG app up and running.  

J. Joshua Kopelman, MD, immediate past District VIII chair, and Raydeen M. Busse, MD, immediate past Hawaii Section chair, did a great job supporting our exhibitors. District VIII Junior Fellows, led by Stacy Tsai, MD, immediate past District VIII Junior Fellow chair, practiced their oral exams, enhanced their leadership skills, and mentored medical students with Stella M. Dantas, MD, District VIII secretary, and her recruitment program.

We all had a blast at the Dancing with the Docs competition. District VIII Junior Fellows claimed the mirror ball trophy for the second year in a row with their tribute to Michael Jackson, complete with moonwalking and zombie lurching.

Next year’s ADM will be held in Napa, CA, September 5–7, with Districts VI and IX at the Silverado Resort. Mark your calendars now! John S. Wachtel, MD, District IX vice chair, is scientific chair, so we can expect an excellent program.

Domestic violence and sexual assault
October has been designated Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This issue has special resonance for me, living in the state with the highest rates of violence against women and children. I have served on the board of my local domestic violence shelter since 1997 and was still shocked by the recent findings of the Alaska Victimization Survey for my borough.   

Alaska Victimization Survey

Women and children need our advocacy on this important issue. The best book I have read on domestic violence is Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft. It is a great read for patients as well as physicians. 

Another book that comes to mind is The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout, PhD, who says 1 in 25 Americans is a sociopath. I lived in Seattle during the years Ted Bundy was on the loose and took self-defense classes. Elizabeth Smart, who was abducted from her home at age 14, said in a recent interview in the New Yorker that knowing how to stand up for herself might have prevented her abduction and delayed release. Her abductors held her for nine months.

Ms. Smart has become an ardent advocate against a culture that forgives or fails to prosecute boys and men who rape. Abstinence-only education programs devalue and shame women who have had sex and teach women to blame themselves if they are attacked. Overwhelming fear prevented Ms. Smart’s escape and even her sister’s identification of the culprit. When we leave our daughters ignorant of their bodies, sexuality, and ability to defend themselves, we create victims. 

When my daughters went off to college, I gave them The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us from Violence by Gavin de Becker, along with the standard advice I give my patients on sexual assault and safe sex. Like any self-respecting teenager, they rolled their eyes at me. Now, years later, I hear my words coming out of their mouths and see our family values reflected in their behaviors. Don’t be shy to talk with young women and men about sex. They may be embarrassed by you and by the topic, but they hear what you’re saying. Hidden messages stay hidden. 

Get involved
If you’re interested in getting involved in ACOG, there is no better way to start than by attending the ACOG Congressional Leadership Conference, The President’s Conference (CLC). The 2014 CLC is scheduled for March 2–4 in Washington, DC.

Contact your section officers for information on attending as a sponsored advocate, though everyone is invited to attend. It is exciting to learn about the issues of the day for women’s health and see hundreds of ob-gyns on Capitol Hill visiting their representatives. 

Registration is now open for the 2014 Annual Clinical Meeting, April 26–30, in Chicago. Sandra A. Carson, MD, ACOG vice president of education, promises lots of attractions, including curbside consults; certifications in basic life support and advanced cardiac life support; board preparation for Junior Fellows; and hands-on courses in cystoscopy, hysteroscopy, medical apps, and obstetric ultrasound. View the preliminary program for more information. Chicago is always a great city to visit, with world-class dining, shopping, museums, theatre, and comedy. Hope to see you there!

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188 | Mailing Address: PO Box 70620, Washington, DC 20024-9998