Washington, DC — Today, John C. Jennings, MD, of League City, TX, became the 65th president of The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), based in Washington, DC. Dr. Jennings was sworn in during the presidential inauguration and convocation at the ACOG Annual Clinical Meeting, the conference of ob-gyns held this year in Chicago, IL. Dr. Jennings is professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) at the Permian Basin.
The theme of Dr. Jennings’ presidential year is collaboration and optimization of resources to improve women’s health care in America. “We are living in the most dynamic era of medicine in the history of the United States. As the exclusive physician specialists for women, we are at the forefront of change in women’s health care,” Dr. Jennings said. “I am convinced that how we respond to change will determine the way in which resources will be optimized for the continuing improvement of women’s health.”
In his speech, he added: “The key is to recognize that resources are limited, and to develop ways to increase value by focusing on outcomes. We can improve health and lower costs more than anticipated by implementing constructive reform measures to optimize care.”
As one example, he addressed more deliberate adoption and utilization of technology: “Technology has been a driving force in contemporary medicine, but not without cost. The enormous growth in health care technology during the last four decades has not been accompanied by the growth in our wisdom to control it. Discontinuing obsolete technology and inappropriate use of technology is in the best interests of all – patients, physicians and payers.”
Dr. Jennings also spoke of the importance of collaborative care models at all levels to further optimize the care provided to American women, discussing ACOG’s involvement with other national and international organizations: “Together, we will meet changing market demands, build practice infrastructure, and improve clinical and cost performance. We will pursue clinical integration and access data to measure and improve outcomes and financial viability.”
At the same time, he laid out the significant need for improved geographic distribution of ob-gyns, noting that four out of five new physicians begin practice in regions where physician supply is high. In response, he called for ACOG to promote incentives for ob-gyns to provide services in areas with need. “We must not leave behind communities with long-standing deficits in health and well-being.”
Concluding his remarks, Dr. Jennings called for three major initiatives during his tenure: a task force to revise ACOG’s 1995 analysis of collaborative care and to promote team models of practice; a working group to create models to educate ob-gyns to lead multidisciplinary women’s care teams; and a working group to address challenges facing ob-gyns in practice transitions.
A graduate of Union University in Jackson, TN, Dr. Jennings completed his medical degree at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, his internship at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, and his residency the University of Tennessee in Memphis. Dr. Jennings also served as a general medical officer for the United States Air Force Security Service Command.
Dr. Jennings was in private practice in San Angelo, TX, for 12 years before entering academic medicine. He has previously served as head of gynecology and program director of ob-gyn at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC; professor and program director of ob-gyn at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston; and chair and program director of ob-gyn at TTUHSC at Amarillo. Dr. Jennings has previously served as the chair of ACOG District XI and as president of the Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
The full text of Dr. Jennings’s inaugural speech will be published in the July 2014 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 58,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization.www.acog.org