From the editor

Dr. Stella M. DantasStella M. Dantas, MD, District VIII secretary

I hope you have all had a healthy and happy 2013. As we move into winter, I’d like to reflect on the various accomplishments of District VIII and our amazing members. In this issue of the Gazette, you will be inspired by the experiences of our Fellows, Junior Fellows, and medical students.

District VIII is hugely supportive of medical students as they are the future of our specialty. Our successful medical student recruitment program continues to sponsor medical students to attend Annual Clinical Meetings and Annual District Meetings to show how outstanding our specialty is and offer networking opportunities. 

Fifteen medical students from District VIII attended the ADM in October. In “2013 Annual District Meeting: Medical student perspective,” Meisje Burton, MBA, a second-year medical student at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix, describes how attending an ADM can leave a lifelong impression. I again want to express my gratitude to the district and sections for continuing to support medical student activities and involvement in ACOG. If you have a student you would like to nominate for a scholarship to attend an ACOG meeting, please send me his or her information at

In our sections, numerous volunteer faculty members host medical students in their practices—an undertaking that takes time, effort, and patience. Viksa Mendiratta, MD, medical student clerkship director at the University of Washington School of Medicine, submitted an essay written by fourth-year student Diana Xiaojie Zhou to this issue of the Gazette. Diana had the opportunity to work with Roger Rowles, MD, in Yakima, WA, and was so affected by the experience that she is now seriously considering becoming an ob-gyn. Her essay, “Medical student learns life lessons from ob-gyn rotation,” highlights the Northwest community of Washington and the inspired mentorship and teaching by the ob-gyn educators in WWAMI (a partnership between the University of Washington School of Medicine and the states of Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho).

Given the challenges of implementation of the Affordable Care Act, many of us are facing changes to our practices. The variable climate of medicine can be difficult to navigate. For a perspective on the health care road ahead, please read the thoughtful article by J. Joshua Kopelman, MD, immediate past District VIII chair, “Health care reform and maintenance of private practice.”

Many practices in District VIII already collaborate with certified nurse-midwives, especially given our workforce and demographic challenges. Recognizing the relationship between ACOG and the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) is an important one. The District VIII Advisory Council added an ACNM representative, Lynne Himmelreich, CNM, MPH, FACNM, clinical associate professor of ob-gyn at the University of Iowa, to its members. She attended the ADM and shared some ideas on how to improve collaboration. For more background and information on this effort, please read her article, “The American College of Nurse-Midwives and ACOG: Partners in women’s health.”

Lastly, while we are all bracing for change, no matter what practice we are in or where we are in our career, we continue to prioritize the patient and enjoy providing care for women. Service is a common quality among care providers, but only a few have the opportunity to serve outside their community. A number of Fellows, Junior Fellows, and medical students travel far distances to help other communities and make an impact away from their familiar, everyday world. W. Lawrence Warner, MD, Utah Section chair, tells his story and describes his memorable experiences in “Utah Section Fellow reflects on decade of international service.” Also, read “Hawaii Section Fellows aid typhoon victims in the Philippines” to learn more about the medical mission Thomas Shieh, MD, Guam Medical Association president, and John Lee, MD, Hawaii Section vice chair, carried out in November.

These highlights just begin to touch on all the activities in our district. Each article and section report shares impressive updates and opportunities, so be sure to read them all.

As always feel free to contact me at if you have feedback, article suggestions, or questions on how to become more involved in the district or your section. Your opinions and experiences are welcome. I wish everyone a happy holiday season and a healthy new year.

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