Denise de los Santos, MD
When I received the news that I was chosen to participate in the ACOG Reporter Program this year, I was excited and ready to experience my first ACOG Clinical Meeting as an OB/GYN Resident.
There were 2 things I felt that really resonated with me at this meeting:
1st—Our AM breakfast conferences were excellent. Sure, they were at 6:30 am, but they were excellent. Dr. Weiss’s lecture about emotional intelligence was a refreshing look at how we should really examine ourselves and our responses and to help those around us to realize their own emotional intelligence. I also thought that the concept of applying emotional intelligence to our inner workings as a profession were so important to realize. For so long, medicine, as a profession, has sometimes been consumed in getting the highest board scores and GPA instead of allowing for someone with great emotional intelligence to also be held in regard. Dealing with unruly attending physicians has been seen as a right-of-passage among residents, and something we all need to just “deal with.” But in fact, it is something that we need to deal with to make a more open environment that will be able to better facilitate learning and camaraderie amongst the team.
2nd—the Leadership lecture by Dr. Levy. The landscape of medicine and its administration via hospitals is changing constantly. Administrative officials are commonly not bedside-practicing physicians any longer and instead businessmen. With the recent health care reform by President Obama, certain safety protocols, like checklists for example, have been thrust into our daily administrative tasks. However, Dr. Levy noted that sometimes, the checklist administrators become the leaders in our hospital instead of those involved in daily patient care who understand more the day-to-day inner workings of actual patient care. As physicians, we are naturally leaders in our community and have that innate ability. “Doctors must take back healthcare,” she noted. So overall, this clinical meeting was a wonderful experience for me. It was great to see the juxtaposition of the different stages of our profession: the medical student interested in OB/GYN to residents, young junior attendings and finally to the seasoned OB/GYN senior attending on the cusp of a great retirement. And to see all of us engaging in something that we are all passionate about and eager to share our different experiences and knowledge levels about was reassuring that we are not stagnant—we evolve to maintain the highest level of patient care we can. Gandhi once said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
Vinay Gunnala, MD
I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve as an ob-gyn reporter for the 2013 American of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Annual Clinical Meeting. The objective of this position is that a reporter will disseminate the information learned at the conference to their respective colleagues at their home institution and community. What came as a surprise were the intellectual growth, inspiration, and unforgettable experience that I had over the past 5 days. I am truly blessed to have been given this opportunity.
I immediately understood the objective of the ob-gyn reporter at the welcome reception dinner. The feeling of creating a family of OB/GYNs both now and in the future was easily palpable. Additionally, the lecturers were very captivating and impressive. I specifically enjoyed the lecture by Dr. Montgomery on domestic violence as this is a very prevalent issue that is not spoken of much in our training. I now feel much more comfortable about approaching these topics with my patients in a much unbiased manner.
My Sunday consisted of attending a series of lectures on cervical cancer screening guidelines. This was a particularly enlightening experience as the panel of speakers consisted of the individuals who initially put forth these guidelines. In the past year, there has been moderate restructuring of these guidelines that was discussed at length during these lectures. For example, there is a push towards administering Pap smear exams every 3-5 years, opposed to the original yearly exam. This represents advancement in the screening guidelines, as it is cost effective and equally efficient at preventing the occurrence of cervical cancer. I believe that the changes that were discussed at these lectures will significantly enhance the direction that the field is moving, and are very positive.
The Monday lectures were designed to educate the residents on life after residency. A presentation was given by Stephen Kaufman, JD, on the legal and moral obligations of physicians. Importantly, he advised us on practices that will give us the tools to prevent such occurrences from arising. He also presented information on contract terms, and broke down various aspects that contribute to the drafting of contractual agreements. For instance, he alerted us to the delicate nature of word choice within these documents and warned us to be wary of “loopholes” that might exist between the lines. One example of this is that a document might state that if one member of the medical practice leaves, the remaining physicians may be legally bound to cover the exiting physician’s hours. This is a conflict as the number of hours a physician within that practice is working may already be at capacity.
Another lecture series that I attended was covering the topic of elderly women. Specifically, the speakers focused first on sexuality of the elderly woman, and subsequently, on the management of prolapse in this high-risk population. This was particularly informative, because it stressed the importance of treating every patient population with similar criteria.
Lastly, my favorite information session was during “Lunch with the Experts.” During this luncheon, I had the opportunity to listen to Dr. William Patton discuss the management of abnormal uterine bleeding. He presented very helpful algorithms that are extremely useful in assessing the etiology of abnormal uterine bleeding. I believe that these flowcharts will help optimize the way that this clinical presentation is addressed.
Overall, what I really enjoyed was the collegial atmosphere of the conference. This was particularly evident on the last night of the conference at the President’s Party. I am grateful for the opportunity to have met so many like-minded individuals, and I believe that these types of conferences foster relationships that will contribute to the advancement of the field of obstetrics and gynecology.
Jana Halfon, MD
I am thankful for the opportunity to have been an OBGYN Reporter at the ACOG Annual Conference in New Orleans. I was thankful the moment I arrived in 70 degree sunny weather whereas New York was experiencing 50 degree rain. I was thankful when I learned that I would be attending the Pearls and Pitfalls of Minimally Invasive surgery as my 8hr session, a favorite topic of mine, and even more thankful when I picked up a few tricks and tips to bring back to my own residency. I was thankful when I met amazing residents from all over the country - South Carolina, Ohio, Maryland, Colorado; people doing exciting resident research, people with different residency experiences than my own, people with stories to tell. I was thankful for the food. New Orleans has some good food. I was so very thankful for the Life after Residency course and the conversations on contracts, commitments, and fellowships. I was grateful for the opportunity to learn about Roller Derby at my Lunch with the Experts session and amused when I ran into my preceptor the next day at Cafe Du Monde. But as I rose to give Dr Malcolm Potts a standing ovation after his speech during the opening ceremonies, as I clapped my hands and exclaimed to my co-reporters “that was amazing!” again and again, as I experienced that moment of pride, possibility and passion that stirs you from your chair and makes you think, “I too will save the world!” - at that moment, I felt utterly privileged.
It was a great privilege to be a part of the OBGYN Reporter Program. I carried my stories back to Columbia with a new excitement for my field of medicine. I look forward to hearing stories from our future reporters, as well as the my own future participation at those conferences in whatever way the next decade of my career unfolds.
Ervin Rene Riano Marin, MD
ACOG Annual Clinical Meeting Report The ACOG Annual Clinical Meeting at New Orleans was a very interesting, enriching and fun experience. I feel very fortunate to have been a part of the reporter program, which brings together international residents, as well as second and third year residents, from all districts. This was my first time attending the Clinical Meeting, and I found the opportunity of meeting Junior Fellows from different countries and interacting with them a positive experience.
Even prior to attending the meeting, I was impressed with the organization of the Congress. A few months beforehand, Ms. Rhonda Green had informed me, via email, of the meeting’s schedule and the topics that would be available. This information allowed me to know which lectures and courses I would attend during the meeting. Although the schedule was very busy, it was quite interesting and engaging.
The meeting started off with a welcoming reception, during which we were supposed to meet one of the leaders of the program, Dr. Sterling Williams. Unfortunately he could not attend due to health issues, and I was deeply saddened to hear a few days ago that Dr. Williams had passed away. We also had welcoming speeches from Dr. James Breedon, the ACOG President for 2012-2013 and Dr. Newton, the JFCAC chair. This reception acted as an icebreaker among the attendees, and it allowed me to meet the rest of the Junior Fellow Residents from my district, District II, as well as those from others districts, Chile, and Argentina. The next day began with an early breakfast at 6:30 AM and a lecture from Dr. Patrice Weiss about Emotional Intelligence. Then we attended a day long course with three very prestigious MFM specialists that are also involved in research, Dr. Jerome Yankowitz, Dr. George Saade and Dr. Philip Samuels. The title of the conference was Practical Approach to Common Obstetrical Dilemmas: Art and Evidence. The conference consisted of 45 minute lectures, followed by 15 minute Q&A sessions, which were the most enriching part. The topics that we discussed encompassed cases I encounter on a daily basis at work; pre-eclampsia, preterm labor, genetic testing, and autoimmune disorders.
On the following day we discussed domestic violence in the morning lecture. This lecture was presented by Dr. Montgomery, and it helped me realize that domestic violence is an integral component of our screening process, especially as women health providers. Afterwards, we attended the President’s program, which had excellent speakers. For me the best lecture was the one presented by Dr. Malcom Potts, titled, “Sex, Ideology and Religion: How Family Planning Frees Women and Changes the World”. In addition to his great public speaking abilities, Dr. Potts was able to walk us through the worldwide women family planning history and explain how family planning will save the world. In the afternoon we had lectures that were more catered to the residents. The first one was about employment agreements, during which we received great advice on how to negotiate a contract. We were taught to be careful, because the same phrase can have different meanings on a contract, depending on who reads it. Then we had a lecture from ABOG, which informed us about better ways to prepare for the oral board examination and advised us on how to prepare the case list.
Finally, there was time set aside for residents to speak with fellows from various fellowships. I had the opportunity to meet Dr Meadow Good, JFCAC Vice Chair and fellow in uro-gynecology. This encounter was very encouraging, informative and helped me clarify my eventual journey to fellowship.
The 4th day of the conference had the event “Stump the Professors”. For this session residents throughout the country sent in interesting and challenging OB or Gyn cases to ACOG. The three best cases were chosen and the residents presented the cases in a chronological manner to 4 professors in front of the audience. The cases were very challenging and all three residents did a great job in their presentations. For lunch I scheduled to attend a session with an expert, Dr Joseph M Novi an urogynecologist from Riverside Methodist Hospital-Ohio Health, the topic was difficult vaginal hysterectomies. The “Lunch with the Expert” was good and personalized, since there were just 5 people at the table. During the night, we were invited to The President’s Party at the Mardi Gras World. After 4 days of conference and having meet great people, this was a great ending for the Congress.
The Ob Gyn reporter program was an enriching and motivating experience with a variety of lectures that included clinical, personal and leadership topics. I left the conference with a better understanding and a greater sense of respect for our College.
Ashley Schiliro, MD
My name is Ashley Schiliro and I am a 2nd-year resident at Winthrop University Hospital. I was honored to be a part of the OB/Gyn reporter program at the ACOG clinical meeting. I am the first doctor in my family. The world of medicine still feels foreign to me at times. Honestly, I didn’t think of myself as someone who would participate in the reporter program, but when my Program Director nominated me, I was so excited by the idea. Attending the meeting this year helped open my eyes to a different side of our field - one of camaraderie, learning, and friendship.
The time spent in New Orleans was not all about the jazz, beignets, and southern cooking. These things certainly enhanced the trip! Residents from all over the country came together on Saturday evening for a welcome dinner. We gave thanks to our sponsors Teva Women’s Health Research. I learned about ACOG’s international diversity as I mingled with residents from Chile, Argentina, and Japan. Sunday was spent at post-graduate sessions. I was assigned to one on menopause. I learned a lot about the challenges that physicians face in treating their patients with menopause. Again, I don’t think I would have picked this topic for myself. This reinforced the point of the reporter program. It allows residents to do things and learn about topics that we would not ordinarily choose for ourselves.
One of my favorite things was the Stump the Professors session. I sat in the large room surrounded by fellow OB/Gyns of all different experience, and watched four residents present difficult cases. The panel of professors was tough and tenacious. They were not easy to stump. As I sat in the audience, I formulated my own differential. It also made me feel comforted that I was not alone in my training. There are residents all over the country that are challenged by difficult cases. In a residency program as demanding as ours, sometimes it is hard to see outside of the day to day, and remember that practices and training vary across the country. In the evening, we attended the President’s Party at Mardi Gras World. It was a wonderful celebration of our field.
The convocation closed the meeting with hopeful words of the future. On the last day of the clinical meeting, we also attended a lecture on the burden of obesity in the pregnant population. The obese patient is at risk for preeclampsia, macrosomia, diabetes, and cesarean section. As physicians we must counsel these patients appropriately in order to avoid such problems. Both of these talks left us with the goal of changing our practices for our evolving population, technology, and healthcare system.
As I sat down to brunch on Wednesday with three new friends, we discussed our experiences from the meeting and what each one of us would take away from the week. The resources and opportunities ACOG provides to young physicians are vast and we plan to share this with our programs. The seminars we attended provided us with a wealth of information, leaving us all wanting to continue learning more. Personally, it left me wanting to get more involved. We were all excited to get home, but leaving New Orleans was bittersweet after having just begun a friendship. We all look forward to Chicago!