Membership & Fellowship: The ACOG Leadership Institute


Membership & Fellowship: The ACOG Leadership Institute Going Strong for 10 Years 

From February 25 through March 1, the ACOG Robert C. Cefalo National Leadership Institute celebrated its 10th anniversary. You can see the thirty-five Fellows and Junior Fellows who participated in the 2015 program in the photo below, proudly wearing their green 10th Anniversary jackets at the snowy retreat center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

The ACOG Leadership Institute is targeted towards practicing ob-gyns who are active in the College and who have a strong potential to provide advocacy and leadership on women’s health policy issues. Over these 10 years, seven participants have gone on to become ACOG presidents.

Alumni have included Past President Vivian M. Dickerson, MD, FACOG, who initially conceptualized the program and participated in the inaugural year. Dr. Dickerson—along with College leaders Bob Cefalo, MD, FACOG (for whom the program is named); Herbert Peterson, MD, FACOG; and ACOG Division of Women's Health Issues Jan Chapin RN, MPH—shared a vision that leaders need more than a thorough knowledge of medicine. They also need to have the capacity to appraise, synthesize, and use best evidence regarding costs and effectiveness to advocate for and guide policy recommendations. Increasingly, physicians who are leaders are also called upon to translate complex scientific medical findings into simple understandable language for the media as well as for other physicians.

The goal of the Robert C. Cefalo ACOG National Leadership Institute is to provide the participating physicians with the perspectives, self-insight, data, and tools to help them succeed in leading this transformation. The program focuses on developing strong leadership skills through understanding self, understanding others, creating organizational culture, and capitalizing on motivation and engagement at work. The program develops practical skills through experiential-based learning.

The Leadership is popular and effective. Over the past decade, the 325 program alumni have given the experience an overall rating of 4.99—out of 5.0.  Recently, Claudia Fernandez, DrPH, UNC faculty member, studied program outcomes in a 6-month post-program follow-up survey of Cohort 8 Fellows. Her findings: 96% of respondents noted they had made changes to their communication and leadership approaches since participating, 62% had new opportunities for leadership within those 6 months that they attributed to their experience and learning in the program, and 100% would recommend the experience to their colleagues. Fellows also noted that their leadership skills had increased on the 10 competencies focused on in the program—to an extent which reached statistical significance across the board. The program strives to be the best professional development experience ever for its participants. The website is


ACOG works with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Department of Maternal and Child Health and the UNC Health System for this program. Dr. Fernandez serves as the program director at UNC and teaches the leadership components.


ACOG members interested in participating in a future cohort of the Cefalo Leadership Institute should contact their district chairs. Many districts have also participated in one-day District Leadership Program, which provides a subset of the skills focused on at the National level. District chairs should contact Jan Chapin for more information about District Leadership program opportunities associated with the ACOG Robert C. Cefalo National Leadership Institute program.

Congratulations to Cohort 10 ACOG Robert C. Cefalo National Leadership Institute graduates!


Row 1 (Left to Right):
Janie Pak, John “Pres” Parry, Chrystie Fujimoto, Virginia Rauth, Ravi Johar, Mireille Truong, Andrea Friall, Mary Rosser, Sarah Samuel, Lameck Chinula, Vashali Bhargava, Rachel Casey, Ricci Sylla, Marian Steininger, Liz Etkin-Kramer, Elisa Fernandez

Row 2 (Left to Right):
Scott Mawdsley, Simon Patton, Eilean Myer, Eileen Farwick, Susan Crowe, Ryan Cuff, Anthony Sierra, Rozalyn Farmer Love, Leanne Komorowski, Mary Holm

Row 3 (Left to Right):
Randall Gibb, R. Todd Ivey, David Lovejoy, Albert Strunk, John Fischer, Susan Raine, Scott Petersen, Lance Bruck, Kristin Lyerly

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
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Mailing Address: PO Box 96920, Washington, DC 20024-9998