The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Procedures for Cognate Assignment

Continuing Medical Education (CME) consists of educational activities which serve to maintain, develop, or increase the knowledge, skills, professional performance and relationships that a physician uses to provide services to patients, the public, or the profession. As the educational institution of the specialty, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is a leading participant in the support and furtherance of quality CME for its members and other physicians practicing obstetrics and gynecology.

Accredited sponsorship of CME programs is governed by procedures established by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) and is attained in one of two ways.

ACCME national accreditation may be granted to medical specialty societies, medical schools, state medical societies, and other institutions which sponsor CME activities on a regular and recurring basis and when more than 1/3 of participants are from beyond bordering states.

State Medical Society (SMS) accreditation Committees recognized by the ACCME's Committee for Review and Recognition may accredit community hospitals, state chapters of national medical societies, state and local chapters of voluntary health organizations, and other organizations who sponsor CME activities on a regular and recurring basis whose participants are from within the state or bordering states.

Accredited sponsors approve specific CME activities and confirm that a CME offering meets the criteria for a stated number of credit credits which are awarded to physicians participating in the activity.

ACOG, as a national ACCME accredited CME provider, approves credits for only those CME programs which are ACOG sponsored. ACOG does not grant credit for non-ACOG sponsored programs, but does recognize such programs as a service to its participating members. ACOG will, therefore, assign cognate credits when CME activities are sponsored in accordance with ACCME procedures.

To be recognized by ACOG for cognate assignment, the program must include subject matter in obstetrics, gynecology, or related fields and be open to registration by Fellows and Junior Fellows of ACOG. The primary faculty should be physicians, preferably in ob/gyn or related fields.

Cognate assignment is accorded for a specific program to be conducted at a specific time in a single designated location. Separate request forms for a program which is conducted more than once at the same or a different location must be submitted together with required documentation and fee.

Exceptions to the above requirement are granted for requests for cognate assignment for Grand Rounds and state or local society or volunteer organization programs conducted on a scheduled recurring basis. The applications for such exceptions must clearly state the scheduled frequency established for the program.

ACOG will not grant cognate assignment to SMS accredited sponsors for more than one independently sponsored program per year conducted outside the confines of the home state or bordering states of the sponsor unless the sponsor negotiates with and obtains SMS approval for such scheduling.

Organizations desiring ACOG cognate assignment for their CME programs must complete the ACOG form, Request for Assignment of ACOG Cognate Credits. The form submitted must be accompanied by the following documentation:

  • A complete draft of the program announcement. This must include the program title, specific identification of the ACCME or SMS sponsor, faculty, and the breakout of the instructional credits by subject matter. (Recurring programs applied for on an exception basis must include a sample announcement which presents representative faculty and subjects).
  • If the requesting organization is not the ACCME or SMS accredited sponsor, a letter from the accredited sponsor acknowledging their willingness to jointly sponsor the program must be provided. The letter must be on sponsor letterhead and originated by the sponsor's CME office or department. Letters submitted by individuals or other departments of the sponsoring organization will not be recognized.

Upon notification by ACOG of cognate assignment, a program announcement may include reference to such action. However, the wording of the reference must be limited to "The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has assigned __ cognate credits (Formal Learning) to this program". ACOG may not be identified as the accrediting agency or sponsor.

An administrative fee is charged for each application and must accompany the application.

The contact person listed on the form will be notified in writing of the cognate credits assigned. Please allow three weeks for processing of the request. Processing will be delayed if a request is incomplete or is not accompanied by the required documentation. Cognate credits will not be assigned for programs which have already been conducted or for applications which do not provide adequate processing time.

Upon separate request and payment, ACOG provides its mailing lists (names and addresses) for the purpose of marketing continuing education programs. Mailing List Policy & Request form.

Further information can be obtained from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Cognate Department, 409 12th St SW, Washington DC 20024-2188.

Phone: (202) 863-2543/2402 or cognates@acog.org