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Committee Opinion Number 676, October 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 585, February 2014)

ABSTRACT: Health literacy is defined as the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand the basic health information and services they need to make appropriate health decisions. Multiple factors affect a patient’s understanding of health information, including cultural factors, a physician’s health knowledge and communication skills, the demands of the situation, the environment in which the health information is being conveyed, and time constraints. The responsibility for recognizing and addressing the problem of limited health literacy lies with all enti...


Committee Opinion Number 666, June 2016

ABSTRACT: In the weeks after birth, postpartum care often is fragmented among maternal and pediatric health care providers, and communication between inpatient and outpatient settings is inconsistent. To optimize postpartum care, anticipatory guidance should begin during pregnancy. During antenatal care, it is recommended that the patient and her obstetrician–gynecologist or other obstetric care provider formulate a postpartum care plan and identify the health care professionals who will comprise the postpartum care team for the woman and her infant. Ideally, during the postpartum period, a s...


Committee Opinion Number 653, February 2016

ABSTRACT: Although there are many positive aspects of social media for adolescents and young adults, there are also risks. Adolescence is a time of significant developmental changes, during which adolescents exhibit a limited capacity for self-regulation and an increased risk of susceptibility to peer pressure and experimentation. Social media can be harmful, and obstetrician–gynecologists may screen their adolescent and young adult patients for high-risk sexual behaviors, especially if sexualized text communication (sexting), exposure to pornography, online dating, or other risk-taking behav...


Committee Opinion Number 649, December 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 317, October 2005)

ABSTRACT: Projections suggest that people of color will represent most of the U.S. population by 2050, and yet significant racial and ethnic disparities persist in women’s health and health care. Although socioeconomic status accounts for some of these disparities, factors at the patient, practitioner, and health care system levels contribute to existing and evolving disparities in women’s health outcomes. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is committed to the elimination of racial and ethnic disparities in the health and health care of women and encourages obstetrician–g...


Committee Opinion Number 627, March 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 425, January 2009, Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: Unauthorized (undocumented) immigrants are less likely than other residents of the United States to have health insurance. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has long supported a basic health care package for all women living within the United States without regard to their country of origin or documentation. Providing access to quality health care for unauthorized immigrants and their children, who often were born in the United States and have U.S. citizenship, is essential to improving the nation’s public health.


Committee Opinion Number 624, February 2015

Reaffirmed 2017

ABSTRACT: Cytology-based cervical cancer screening programs require a number of elements to be successful. Certain low-resource settings, like the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands, lack these elements. Implementing alternative cervical cancer screening strategies in low-resource settings can provide consistent, accessible screening opportunities.


Committee Opinion Number 599, May 2014

(Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: Confidentiality concerns are heightened during adolescence, and these concerns can be a critical barrier to adolescents in receiving appropriate health care. Health care providers caring for minors should be aware of federal and state laws that affect confidentiality. State statutes on the rights of minors to consent to health care services vary by state, and health care providers should be familiar with the regulations that apply to their practice. Parents and adolescents should be informed, both separately and together, that the information each of them shares with the health care...


Committee Opinion Number 591, March 2014

(Reaffirmed 2016. Replaces Committee Opinion Number 470, October 2010)

ABSTRACT: Overweight and obesity are epidemic in the United States. Obesity is a risk factor for numerous conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, stroke, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and arthritis. The prevalence of obesity is high, exceeding 30% in adult women and men. Many women, irrespective of demographic characteristics or income, are vulnerable to becoming overweight or obese because of limited resources for physical activity and healthy food choices, work commitments, and family demands. Clinicians and public health officials should address not only i...


Committee Opinion Number 587, February 2014

(Reaffirmed 2016. Replaces Committee Opinion Number 492, May 2011)

ABSTRACT: Physicians’ ability to effectively and compassionately communicate information is key to a successful patient–physician relationship. The current health care environment demands increasing clinical productivity and affords less time with each patient, which can impede effective patient–physician communication. The use of patient-centered interviewing, caring communication skills, and shared decision making improves patient–physician communication. Involving advanced practice nurses or physician assistants may improve the patient’s experience and understanding of her visit. Electroni...


Committee Opinion Number 586, February 2014

(Reaffirmed 2016. Replaces Committee Opinion Number 429, March 2009)

ABSTRACT: Rural women experience poorer health outcomes and have less access to health care than urban women. Many rural areas have limited numbers of health care providers, especially women’s health providers. Rural America is heterogeneous where problems vary depending on the region and state. Health care professionals should be aware of this issue and advocate for reducing health disparities in rural women.


Committee Opinion Number 576, October 2013

(Replaces No. 454, February 2010, Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: Homelessness continues to be a significant problem in the United States. Women and families represent the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. Health care for these women is a challenge but an important issue that needs to be addressed. Homeless women are at higher risk of injury and illness and are less likely to obtain needed health care than women who are not homeless. It is essential to undertake efforts to prevent homelessness, to expand community-based services for the homeless, and to provide adequate health care for this underserved population. Health care pro...


Committee Opinion Number 575, October 2013

Reaffirmed 2016

ABSTRACT: Reducing exposure to toxic environmental agents is a critical area of intervention for obstetricians, gynecologists, and other reproductive health care professionals. Patient exposure to toxic environmental chemicals and other stressors is ubiquitous, and preconception and prenatal exposure to toxic environmental agents can have a profound and lasting effect on reproductive health across the life course. Prenatal exposure to certain chemicals has been documented to increase the risk of cancer in childhood; adult male exposure to pesticides is linked to altered semen quality, sterili...


Committee Opinion Number 536, September 2012

(Replaces Committee Opinion No. 414, August 2008)

ABSTRACT: In the United States, most new cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) occur among women of color (primarily African American and Hispanic women). Most women of color acquire the disease from heterosexual contact, often from a partner who has undisclosed risk factors for HIV infection. Safe sex practices, especially consistent condom use, must be emphasized for all women, including women of color. A combination of testing, education, and brief behavioral interventions can help reduce the rate of HIV infection and its compli...


Committee Opinion Number 493, May 2011

(Reaffirmed 2013)

ABSTRACT: Communication with patients can be improved and patient care enhanced if health care providers can bridge the divide between the culture of medicine and the beliefs and practices that make up patients' value systems. These may be based on ethnic heritage, nationality of family origin, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or socioeconomic status. Every health care encounter provides an opportunity to have a positive effect on patient health. Health care providers can maximize this potential by learning more about patients' cultures.


Committee Opinion Number 466, September 2010

(Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: International humanitarian medical efforts provide essential services to patients who would not otherwise have access to specific health care services. The Committees on Ethics and Global Women's Health of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists encourage College Fellows and other health care professionals to participate in international humanitarian medical efforts for this reason. However, such programs present Fellows with a unique set of practical and ethical challenges. It is important for health care providers to consider these challenges before participating i...


Committee Opinion Number 456, March 2010

(Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: In this Committee Opinion, the Committee on Ethics of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists endorses the College's ongoing efforts to promote a just health care system, explores justifications that inform just health care, and identifies professional responsibilities to guide the College and its members in advancing the cause of health care reform.


Committee Opinion Number 437, July 2009

Reaffirmed 2016

Abstract: As professional and community leaders, obstetrician–gynecologists have unlimited opportunities to become involved in and have a positive impact on local, national, and international communities and organizations. Volunteering outside of daily work routines often revitalizes a commitment to medicine while serving as a much needed resource to the community.


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