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Providing Every Woman, Everywhere, High-Quality Health Care

ACOG's Office of Global Women’s Health (OGWH) is driven by a commitment to increasing women’s access to quality health care at every stage of their lives. The OGWH focuses on building provider skills, supporting implementation of high-impact interventions, and scaling up proven solutions to decrease maternal mortality and morbidity and improve women’s health. The OGWH draws on the expertise of ACOG Fellows, specialist societies, evidence-based guidelines on the practice of obstetrics and gynecology, and the latest educational and training methods to strengthen health systems to deliver the highest-quality care to women.

Our vision is a world in which all women have access to quality health care throughout their lives.

Our Unique Model for Sustainable Change

As the specialty's premier professional membership organization dedicated to the improvement of women’s health throughout their lives, ACOG leverages our unique expertise and the commitment of our members to work in partnership with colleagues in low-resource settings to address the barriers to high-quality health care for women everywhere at every stage of their lives.

Due to the breadth of the expertise of our Fellows, ACOG provides technical assistance on a wide range of clinical areas and supports innovative preservice and in-service training and continuing medical education. OGWH provides program management, clinical guidelines and educational materials, capacity building, and expert technical advisers both for short-term technical assistance and long-term mentoring.

Our Goal

The goal of our work is to end preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and to ensure that all women have access to high-quality health care throughout their lives. While this goal is ambitious, we believe that it is achievable and essential to eliminate the shameful inequity in health care and outcomes for women in low-resource settings.

Our Strategic Priorities

The OGWH focuses its programs and partnerships on the convergence of our unique strengths, globally identified women’s health needs, and priorities of partners. ACOG offers technical expertise and program management to support locally led development and implementation of proven interventions. ACOG leverages its unique expertise through:

  • Knowledge sharing, mentoring, and supportive supervision
  • Locally tailored cascade training with master trainers, mentorship, and supervision of skills to ensure competence
  • Provision of continuing medical education using in-person and distance learning platforms
  • Strengthening preservice education with consultation on curricula review and development, pedagogy training, and standardization of education and training
  • Professional association strengthening to build capacity of health care professionals to lead on medical education, provision of health care, and advocacy for women’s health and rights

2019–21 Program Priority Objectives and Activities

1. Promote Safe Obstetric Surgery

Increase the number of skilled providers, improve quality of surgical obstetric care, and strengthen the surgical ecosystem to reduce maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity and prevent iatrogenic morbidities.

Teach surgical skills and comprehensive emergency obstetric care in workshop and preservice training programs; catalyze locally led curriculum development to meet local needs; build capacity through master trainer instruction and supervised training to competency in cesarean delivery; and train on surgical decision-making, leadership of surgical teams, and strengthening surgical ecosystems. Support development of national surgical, obstetric, and anesthesia plans.

2. Implement Quality Improvement Programs

Improve skills of health care professionals to ensure consistent quality and respectful care and improve access to advanced care.

Use technology and proven implementation approaches for data-driven, multidisciplinary team training to advance rapid-cycle assessment, improve preparedness for and management of obstetric emergencies, strengthen referral systems, and create a team-driven patient safety culture in health facilities.

3. Support Capacity Building and Peer Assisting

Increase the capacity of professional associations to lead on women’s health care.

Use various models of professional association strengthening and ongoing mentoring to support development of strong professional associations of obstetrician–gynecologists and other clinicians; support their capacity to scale or implement effective programs; engage in effective interdisciplinary collaboration; provide continuing medical education to members or other medical cadres; advocate for quality standards and national investments in women’s health; assist in holding obstetrician–gynecologists accountable for quality care and ethical practice; and ensure quality, equity, and dignity in health care for women.

4. Ensure Access to Contraception and Safe Abortion

Increase provider skills and knowledge to provide high-quality reproductive health care and family planning.

Address training deficiencies, consult on strategies to integrate into other health programs, and advocate for policy improvements.

5. Enhance Health Workforce and Clinical Education and Maintenance of Skills

Strengthen medical education and training to ensure quality while increasing number of clinicians.

Provide technical expertise to government ministries and academic institutions to standardize curricula, strengthen medical education and residency training, enhance research capacity, develop certification exams for providers, and accreditation reviews of training programs. Technical expertise in integration of guidelines into national plans, facility-specific protocols, and medical education.

6. Address Noncommunicable Diseases (Chronic Diseases) and Effects of Climate Change

Improve prevention of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and integration of care for women with chronic diseases and address the effects of environmental toxins and climate change.

Provide technical expertise on a life-cycle approach to the management and prevention of various NCDs. Address the link between women’s health and NCDs, especially focusing on management of pregnancy to prevent and manage NCDs for mother and child. Focus specifically on immediate and long-term effects of preeclampsia, diabetes in pregnancy, obesity, and cervical and breast cancers, highlighting innovations and evidenced-based prevention and treatments. Explore global measures to address the effects of climate change and the environment on women’s health.

OGWH Implementation Plan

  1. Leverage the unique assets and expertise of ACOG including the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines, educational materials, training methodologies. Collaborate with specialist societies including gynecologic oncology, reproductive endocrinology, and maternal–fetal medicine.
  2. Collaborate in meaningful partnerships supporting programs that improve care for women around the world. Build community, collaboration, and cooperation among clinicians, professional societies, implementing organizations, government stakeholders, and universities. Promote locally driven implementation science approaches to health systems strengthening.
  3. Leverage ACOG Fellows’ commitment and expertise. Pair specialists with skills specific to each program and ensure that Fellows provide culturally-appropriate support and capacity building to their global colleagues. Provide predeployment preparation, cultural awareness training, and safety education to optimize the effectiveness of Fellows to build capacity of their peers. Train a broad cadre of ACOG members in the delivery of global health interventions in settings that present implementation challenges.
  4. Offer technical expertise and implementation science to support locally led development and implementation of evidence-based clinical interventions, health care workforce development and health system strengthening.
  5. Contribute to the alignment of global health programming to optimize impact in maternal and women’s health care. Maximize collaboration and convening to engage university partners, obstetrician–gynecologist specialties, peer professional associations, and implementing organizations to share best practices, research and guidelines and to align interventions with global, national, and local efforts to reach global and national health goals.
  6. Include professional association strengthening and peer mentoring in all programs to ensure transfer of knowledge, skills, and leadership to local stakeholders and to ensure sustainability and local ownership.

The Global Operations Advisory Group

The Global Operations Advisory Group is the team of physicians with expertise in a range of health care specialties and with extensive experience in training, health care delivery, and education in low-resource settings who advise the OGWH. The Global Operations Advisory Group meets regularly and provides technical assistance and expert guidance on the OGWH's activities and programs.

Our Values and Commitment

  • We will do no harm.
  • We will embrace the complexity of practice of medicine and respect differing cultural perspectives and pace of change.
  • We will promote health equity, quality, and dignity for all women.
  • We will promote reproductive health and rights, access to services, and freedom of women to make informed, autonomous choices.
  • We will catalyze systems change and health systems strengthening and refrain from one-time interventions.
  • We will endeavor to provide training and educational materials and guidelines in appropriate local languages.
  • We will prioritize science and evidence in decision-making and program implementation.
  • We will foster interdisciplinary partnerships with other health professionals to advance multidisciplinary team care for women and newborns.
  • Our work will be driven by the national priorities of the country in which we work, not our own.
  • Our activities will align with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals 3, 4, 5, and 17.

Anticipated Results by 2021

  • Trained more than 500 health care providers in safe surgery practices using our Essential Training in Operative Obstetrics program.
  • Worked with six professional associations to strengthen their capacity to advocate for health care, develop programs, and provide support to local obstetrician–gynecologists and other health care professionals.
  • Provided evidence-based eModules and webinars on obstetrics and gynecology in four to five countries.
  • Engaged 140 Fellows in service with the OGWH in programming throughout the world.
  • Achieved funding stability and gained new program contracts and grants to continue global partnerships and activities.
  • Participated in four global conferences a year providing expertise in key women’s health issues.
  • Convened the Global Council and recruited and retained 20 organizations.

Twenty Years of Global Collaboration

For 20 years, ACOG’s Latin America Initiative has worked with partners to develop and support critical infrastructure for the accreditation of residency programs and the administration of certification examinations in Central and South America. In 2011, the OGWH expanded its activities to contribute to global programs aimed at reducing maternal mortality and morbidity, develop partnerships with obstetrics and gynecology societies in low-resource countries, create training and global service opportunities for ACOG Fellows, and promote the collaboration of U.S. university global obstetrics and gynecology programs to enable shared learning and improved effectiveness.

ACOG was a founding partner of the Saving Mothers, Giving Life and Survive and Thrive Global Development Alliance, public-private partnerships that implemented innovative programs to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity and to improve newborn survival while building capacities of professional associations to implement programs and drive change.

Our Relationship with FIGO and International Societies of Obstetrician–Gynecologists

ACOG is an active partner with FIGO and other obstetrics and gynecology societies and colleges to align programs, engage experts with appropriate experience, avoid duplication of efforts, and accelerate collective impact. Together, we recognize the value of partnerships within and among our colleagues and are dedicated to building the capacity of peer professionals and advancing the effects of dynamic and motivated champions for women’s health all over the world.

ACOG is grateful to our collaborating partners and donors, including:

Abt Associates
American Academy of Pediatrics
America College of Nurse Midwives
Baylor College of Medicine
Center for International Reproductive Health Training at the University of Michigan
Drexel University School of Medicine
GE Healthcare
John Snow Incorporated
Johnson and Johnson
Laerdal Global Health
Maternal Child Survival Program
Management Sciences for Health Saving Mothers Giving Life
Survive and Thrive Global
Development Alliance
University Research Co.