The Executive Desk: Critical Issues for our Times—Zika, Global Women’s Rights, Gynecological Cancer, Maternal Mortality & Team-Based Care

Hal C. Lawrence III, MD, Executive Vice President and CEO

As we begin to pull out of the throes of winter and swing towards spring, it's the perfect time to take stock of many of the critical women’s health care issues currently under review by valued ACOG members and staff and covered in this issue of ACOG Rounds.

First and foremost, ACOG has been at the leading edge of collaborating with and providing the latest information from CDC and others on combatting the Zika Virus. Our recently updated guidance information on Zika, developed in conjunction with Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), succinctly recaps what we know and don’t know at this point and refers you to the latest in CDC guidance. This information is updated on the website as new developments occur. ACOG stands ready to assist you even more as the situation unfolds.

Dr. Mark DeFrancesco, in his President's Blog, writes eloquently about International Women’s Day on March 8 and what we can all do to help women achieve global human rights parity, especially in the area of reproductive autonomy. It is no secret that women around the world lack the autonomy to decide when they will become pregnant, finish their education, and progress in their careers. This is untenable and must be addressed. You can help by signing the Pledge for Parity and joining the discussion on social media.

In a guest blog, Larry Maxwell, MD, FACOG, COL(ret) U.S. Army, Director of the Globe-athon to End Women’s Cancers, writes about strategies to prevent and combat cancers “below the belt” and the efforts of The Globe-athon to rally physicians, advocates, patients, and their families in a worldwide call to action to raise awareness regarding gynecological cancer. Be sure to watch the powerful film supported by the Globe-athon, titled “Lady Ganga”. The film documents a woman with progressive cervical cancer who travels to India to set a world record by paddle boarding down the Ganges River before returning home, where she ultimately lost her battle with this disease.

And, to keep your skills in gynecologic oncology up to date, consider purchasing the newly updated PROLOG title, Gynecologic Oncology and Critical Care, Seventh Edition. Peruse the ACOG Rounds article for a recap of this title.

In "Helping Mothers Survive", you will read about a training program held at ACOG headquarters on January 29 and 30 that taught teams of providers how to address the primary causes of maternal mortality on the day of childbirth and ensure that birth attendants and frontline health workers have the knowledge and skills they need to prevent mothers from dying on the day of birth.

In the "Meeting Patient Needs Through Team-Based Care" article, you will find an overview of the recently released presidential task force report that encourages practices, payers, hospitals, ob-gyns, and other health care providers to embrace the team-based model of care that will result in improved patient outcomes, high quality care, and a better overall experience for the patient. The report is the result of work done as part of Dr. John Jennings' presidential initiative. 

If you know of other global, national, or state-wide issues you would like to see ACOG tackle, we want to hear about them.

ACOG Rounds welcomes your feedback at

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