Update November 2013


ACOG District II eNewsletter
 Volume 28 No. 4


From the Chair
Eva Chalas, MD, FACOG, FACS

ADM Pictures: Were YOU Seen?

2014 Legislative Program

Advisory Council Report

Safe Motherhood Initiative


Fun Facts About:

Eva Chalas, MD - DII Chair

Paul Kastell, MD, JD, MBA, FACOG - New Chair, Section 2 (Brooklyn/Staten Island)

Dhruv Agneshwar, MD, FACOG - New Chair, Section 5 (Syracuse/Utica)

Erika Banks, MD, FACOG - New Chair, Section 8 (Bronx)

Lawrence Perl, MD, FACOG - New Chair, Section 9 (Albany)


From the Chair - Eva Chalas, MD, FACOG, FACS
Thank you to everyone who attended our Annual District II Meeting (ADM) in October. This edition of the newsletter features plenty of wonderful photos from the ADM. You will also notice we have launched a new feature called “Chair Chat” - where our new section chairs share fun facts about themselves. (I’ve also answered the questions). But first, there is new research on home births - and a study that links a healthy diet to healthy aging…

Home Birth Outcomes: Two Studies
The safety of planned home births continues to be controversial. Now, a study in the
American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology Volume 209, Issue 4 finds that babies born at home were roughly 10 times as likely to be stillborn and almost four times as likely to have neonatal seizures or serious neurologic dysfunction when compared to babies born in hospitals.

Researchers at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical Center analyzed data on more than 13 million births in the US. The study found that the risk of stillbirth is even greater in first-born babies – 14 times the risk of hospital births. The study results were confirmed by analyzing birth certificate files from the CDC National Center for Health Statistics to assess deliveries by physicians and midwives in and out of the hospital from 2007 to 2010. The researchers looked at 5-minute Apgar scores of zero, neonatal seizures and serious neurologic dysfunction.

Another study shows that when compared with hospital births, planned home births were associated with more neonatal complications - and fewer obstetric interventions. This research appeared in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology Vol. 203, Issue 3.

In the retrospective study of babies born in 2008, researchers compared more than 12,000 planned home births with some 2 million hospital births. They found that homebirth nearly doubled the relative risk of an Apgar score of four or lower on the 10-point scale. Babies born at home were also more than three times likely to experience neonatal seizure. In addition, the study found that women with planned home birth had fewer interventions, including operative vaginal delivery and labor induction/augmentation.

ACOG issued a Committee Opinion (Number 476, February 2011) that stated “Women inquiring about planned home birth should be informed of its risks and benefits based on recent evidence. Specifically, they should be informed that although the absolute risk may be low, planned home birth is associated with a twofold to threefold increased risk of neonatal death when compared with planned hospital birth.”

Healthy Aging in Women - The Healthy Diet Link
A new study suggests that middle-aged women who follow a healthy diet may live a healthy, longer life. This analysis of the Nurses' Health Study was published in the
Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers calculated how closely some 11,000 middle-aged women followed a healthy diet (high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and nuts; low in red and processed meat and sweetened beverages; moderate alcohol intake). They also estimated how closely they followed the Mediterranean diet, which also included fish intake.

Roughly 15 years later, researchers gauged the women’s physical and mental well-being. They found that women who follow the Mediterranean diet’s guidelines were 40 percent more likely to live past 70. They were also less likely to develop chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

ADM Pictures: Were YOU Seen? Click here
This year’s Annual District Meeting (ADM) - held last month at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan - was a huge success! Special thanks to Abraham Lichtmacher, MD, FACOG and Camille Clare, MD, MPH, FACOG, this year’s Scientific Program Co-Chairs, for putting together an exceptional program showcasing faculty from across the country. Click here for photographs from the ADM.

2014 Legislative Program
On October 24th, District II's Legislative Committee held its annual in person meeting in Manhattan. The gathering included a thorough review of 2013 legislative activity and a discussion of next year’s priorities.

The 2014 Legislative Agenda will focus on the following:

  • Public Health - Ensuring women receive the best possible health care without unnecessary legislative interference. This will include proposed amendments to the Dense Breast Notification law.
  • Family Planning - Guaranteeing that all women maintain access to reproductive health services, including Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) and expedited partner therapy as recommended by the CDC.
  • Practice Management - Monitoring harmful changes to Certificate of Need (CON) and expansion of scope of practice for allied health professionals, and securing collective bargaining for healthcare providers.
  • Medical Liability Reform – Monitoring any statute of limitations changes and enhancing Peer Review protections.

Additional legislative items will be monitored and addressed as needed.

Safe Motherhood Initiative
Nearly 60 representatives in the field of ob/gyn, nursing, midwifery, and family practice from the state’s leading academic and clinical institutions, along with HANYS and NYSDOH, gathered on October 24th in New York City to finalize the clinical content of three maternal safety bundles. These bundles in obstetric hemorrhage, severe hypertension in pregnancy, and venous thromboembolism will serve as educational tools that will be rolled out to 131 OB hospitals throughout the state in 2014 as part of the Safe Motherhood Initiative (SMI). The SMI seeks to standardize practice for these leading causes of maternal mortality.

Look for ACOG District II’s media campaign and hospital outreach tools in early 2014. If your hospital is interested in being part of the SMI, or if you would like further information, please contact the District II office at 518-436-3461.

Fun Facts About:

Eva Chalas, MD, FACOG, FACS - ACOG District II Chair
Where do you practice? (hospital/location): Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, NY  
Favorite quotation: Lead, follow or get out of the way 
Hobbies & interests: Alpine skiing, travel, spending time with family, cooking family get-together meals 
Favorite sports team: Giants 
Pets: None - had dogs, all gone now. We watch our grandpets now. 
Favorite vacation destination: Europe - especially Italy  
Favorite movie(s) of all time: Don’t have one 
Favorite food(s): Dessert - especially if it contains milk or white chocolate  
Why did you choose ob/gyn as your specialty? Sounds corny, but I love the combination of medicine and surgery. I also love that we can be quite comprehensive in our care.

Paul Kastell, MD, JD, MBA, FACOG - Section 2 Chair (Brooklyn/Staten Island) 
Where do you practice? (hospital/location): Woodhull Hospital, Brooklyn, NY  
Favorite quotation: People who accept mediocrity aspire to it  
Hobbies & interests: Skiing and travel  
Favorite sports team: Islanders  
Pets: 2 cats - Iggy and Playful  
Favorite vacation destination: Italy  
Favorite movie(s) of all time: Casablanca  
Favorite food(s): Pizza  
Why did you choose ob/gyn as your specialty? Best of all worlds - care and surgery.

Dhruv Agneshwar, MD, FACOG - Section 5 Chair (Syracuse/Utica) 
Where do you practice? (hospital/location): Johnson City, NY - Solo practice  
Favorite quotation: Illegitimi non carborundum  
Hobbies & interests: Golf, skiing, wine collecting  
Favorite sports team: NY Giants (too bad)  
Pets: Bentley (5 mos.) - English springer spaniel   
Favorite vacation destination: Paris 
Favorite movie(s) of all time: The Godfather  
Favorite food(s): Anything French or Italian  
Why did you choose ob/gyn as your specialty? Who can beat delivering babies!

Erika Banks, MD, FACOG - Section 8 Chair (Bronx) 
Where do you practice? (hospital/location): Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY   
Favorite vacation destination: Europe  
Favorite movie(s) of all time: Wizard of Oz  
Favorite food(s): Sushi  
Why did you choose ob/gyn as your specialty? Love for primary care of women, education.

Lawrence Perl, MD, FACOG - Section 9 Chair (Albany) 
Where do you practice? (hospital/location): Columbia Memorial Hospital, Hudson, NY  
Favorite quotation: Know what you know and know what you don’t know  
Hobbies & interests: Kayaking, cooking, hanging out with my grandchildren  
Favorite sports team: Yankees  
Pets: Kitty  
Favorite vacation destination: Guatemala  
Favorite movie(s) of all time: El Norte  
Favorite food(s): Eggplant Parmesan  
Why did you choose ob/gyn as your specialty? Excellent mixture of medicine and surgery.

New in 2014 District II will provide emailed updates as needed for the 2014 legislative session. If you wish to receive periodic emails about New York State legislative activities, click here.

Save the Date – ACOG DII’s Annual Lobby Day will be held on Tuesday, June 3, 2014

For more DII news, visit



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