Why should you apply to become a candidate for national office?

Current and former ACOG national officers explain why becoming a national officer helped each of them grow and enabled them to impact our organization.

Dr. Tamika Auguste 
Current Fellow-at-Large 
District IV, Washington, DC

“As a national officer, I get to have an impactful role on what ACOG is doing and saying for its members and patients. To be part of that effort – in addition to my clinical work -- is very special. If you want ACOG to work on a policy or issue, then get in there and help make a difference. Being a national officer requires a commitment, but if you make the time for it, then the rewards will happen and that’s how you bring about change. 

“It’s also important for national officers of any organization to be representative of their members. As a woman and woman of color, I wanted to make sure ACOG has national officers that look like me, which in turn, shows other women, and persons of color that they too can be national officers and help lead our organization. Each member of ACOG brings their own perspective, and that perspective will be very valuable in a full range of initiatives. But we need to first have that perspective. Whether it is social justice, health equity, fair compensation, CMS regulations, or countless others, we need to hear your perspective. Now as a national officer, I’m at the table. I’m helping raise these issues for everyone to discuss and address. And that’s really important.” 

Dr. Mark DeFrancesco 
Past President & ACOG Secretary 
District I, Cheshire, CT

“I realized early in my career that ACOG is a great organization. Its mission is to educate doctors and help set professional guidelines that truly, positively impact quality of care. ACOG is a critical advocate for doctors and patients. And I wanted to get involved. Being a national officer is one of many ways to participate in ACOG. I first started as a Section officer and as I progressed through the District ranks, I continued to learn more and more about the organization and its value, which led me to devote even more time to ACOG activities, and ultimately, run for national office. 

“The impact of national officers at ACOG is significant – whether it’s having input in and approving committee opinions and technical bulletins, or directing the future of the organization as a member of the Board. It’s empowering to be involved both strategically and tactically in this great organization. Just as importantly on a personal level, you also get to work with people from many different geographical areas and from a variety of practice models – academic, private practice, subspecialists. You get to build friendships with others you most likely never would have met were it not for your ACOG activities. 

"Being a national officer is a unique opportunity to have a positive impact on the health care system that goes far beyond the good we do in our local practices. It is a way to serve not only the several thousand patients we see in practice annually, but to also serve the thousands of women's health care physicians who provide care for millions of patients. For me, that realization was one of the key drivers to get involved with ACOG."

Dr. Rajiv Gala 
Past Young Physician-at-Large 
District VII, New Orleans, LA

“As physicians, we are always advocates for patients at the bedside. But through my involvement with ACOG, I’ve also been able to work collectively with others to fight for change on a national scale. If you’re considering becoming a national officer, you too can have this kind of valuable experience if you choose to pursue it.

“ACOG is stronger with more diverse voices in national office helping lead the organization forward – including from those with experiences in academics, private practice, rural and urban settings, under-served populations, and so many more. The mentorship you receive in this role can help you grow personally and professionally, as officers want to help support younger members. You also have the opportunity to turn small conversations into large national agendas. As an officer, I realized many junior fellows wanted to get involved with advocacy but didn’t know how. I started working with other officers to create a legislative affairs primer for members which was then used at the Congressional Leadership Conference. Ultimately, I left every meetings as a national officer recharged. I no longer felt bogged down from some of my daily frustrations, but instead took collective action to do something about it. I hope more members step up as well.”

Dr. Michelle Owens
Past Young Physician-at-Large
District VII, Jackson, MS

“Serving as an ACOG national officer was one of my most rewarding professional experiences. As a member, I was generally familiar with ACOG, but didn’t fully appreciate the breadth of ACOG’s work until I got more involved with the organization and became an officer, first locally, then nationally. As I learned, national officers make decisions that impact the future of ACOG, making it stronger and helping us best meet the needs of our members and patients. As a member of the Executive Board, I found that my contribution was valued and I was embraced, encouraged, and impactful.

“At ACOG, there is a place for everyone who wants to be involved and share their voice. You don’t need prior experience, but can use the same leadership skills learned in your practices, hospitals and homes to advance ACOG's work. Serving in national office facilitates personal growth, through working side-by-side with other phenomenal leaders. You get to bring your experiences and perspectives to the table. I loved being able to represent my home state, my patients, physicians who look like me, and physicians who may not look like me but share the same values. I was able to build lasting relationships with wonderful people to help solve problems for our specialty and patients. And I was able to be an advocate for ACOG in Congress to help impact the future of our profession. I hope others step forward to run for national office. You’re in for a great ride.”

Dr. Hartaj Powell 
Past Young Physician-at-Large 
District IV, Chevy Chase, MD

“I first became involved in ACOG at a local level and then decided to get involved nationally because I found value and fulfillment in advocating for our field and for our patients – and I wanted to do more of it. I was also interested in learning how ACOG worked. As a member, I knew about the educational resources it provided, but as a national officer I learned about all the work ACOG does more broadly, from the complexities of physician payment reimbursement to the global programs that ACOG supports. Perhaps most importantly, through my involvement with ACOG over the years, I have met so many great mentors, friends and fellow advocates for our profession.

“Becoming a national officer is a great opportunity and investment in ACOG and in your professional career. The experience of contributing to moving the organization forward for our patients and members is something you won’t regret.”