Resident Reporters 2016                              Supported by: 

SASGOG was excited to sponsor five Resident Reporters at the SASGOG Annual Meeting and ACOG Scientific Session in Washington DC in May 2016. These five young resident physicians represent the future of SASGOG as they begin their careers as academic specialists in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Through a generous grant from Holistic, the Resident Reporters attended the full day of the SASGOG Annual Meeting, where they actively participated in many interactive sessions. As part of their commitment to the program, each Reporter wrote a short essay related to the meeting’s theme of Leadership. We are pleased to post these essays on the SASGOG website, where they may spark interest in other residents who are considering careers as academic generalists and all that SASGOG has to offer them. Please take a few moments to read the reflections of the 2016 Reporters and share them.

Cynthia Arvizo, MD, Cleveland Clinic, SASGOG Resident Reporter 2016, Leadership Essay

There have been many times during this whole process of learning, studying, and working that I have wondered if it is all worth it. Is it worth feeling tired most of the time? Is it worth feeling the constant pressure to excel even when it seems like I’ve done enough? Then I hear the messages from inspiring people like Drs. McNair and Wood and I feel the same excitement that I felt four years ago when I began my residency.

At the Society for Academic Specialists in General Obstetrics and Gynecology 4th Annual Meeting I was truly inspired by the advocacy panel presentation. In this session, the panel demonstrated the wide range of opportunities that we have as general obstetrician-gynecologists to advocate for our patients. The panel members’ diverse experiences in government, education and clinical practice illustrated that the path for advocacy is not always straightforward or predictable. I was amazed at the work that each panelist had accomplished in what seems to be a short period of time. The panelists’ collective perseverance has and will continue to impact our patients’ access to health care and our daily practice in obstetrics and gynecology. As an example, Dr. Corvath-Hosper’s courage to speak up about the fundamental right of all women to obtain an abortion and support of the ability to safely provide abortion services to our patients will certainly have a lasting impact.

Ultimately, great leaders are both an inspiration to their colleagues and advocates for their patients. Each panelist did, and continues to do, just that.

Amy Hertz, DO, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, SASGOG Resident Reporter 2016, Leadership Essay

At the Society for Academic Specialists in General Obstetrics and Gynecology’s 4th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., the theme of leadership was on full display.  Several presentations focused on the importance of advocacy, which is a critical aspect of our jobs as future leaders in academic obstetrics and gynecology.

The meeting opened with a keynote address by Susan Wood, PhD entitled Women’s Health Policy and Advocacy: the Role of Science, Research, and Experts.  Her talk touched on key actions that we as generalists can do to advocate for our patients and their healthcare.  Dr. Wood also touched on the importance of teamwork and collaboration with scientists and researchers, and the impact that we can all play together in educating our leaders and lawmakers about a field that they may not be familiar with.  As experts in obstetrics and gynecology caring daily for patients, our experience and knowledge can be used to further educate these policymakers.

In the afternoon, a joint session with the Council of University Chairs of Obstetrics and Gynecology welcomed Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, to deliver ABOG’s lectureship on Planned Parenthood at 100.  Ms. Richards highlighted some of the important events in Planned Parenthood’s first 100 years, but also spoke about the hardships the organization has faced over the past year.  “No ally was stronger than the medical community to Planned Parenthood during this difficult year,” she said.  Her comment highlights the role that physicians can play in supporting organizations such as Planned Parenthood.  Reproductive services provided by Planned Parenthood are important for us to support as these clinic, much like many residency program clinics, serve as safety nets for many patients.

Leadership through advocacy is an important role that all of us can fulfill as obstetricians and gynecologists.  Academic generalists have the unique opportunity to not only advocate for causes they believe in, but also to assist residents to do the same.  Advocacy is not only a requirement of every resident’s education, but is also essential to pass on to the next generation of obstetricians and gynecologists.  The Society for Academic Specialists in General Obstetrics and Gynecology’s Annual Meeting reinforced the importance of our involvement in advocacy and making advocacy a priority in our practice of academic medicine.

Bridget Kelly, MD, Baylor College of Medicine, SASGOG Resident Reporter 2016, Leadership Essay

I feel that my success in residency and ultimately the physician that I have become are both due in large part to the excellent leaders who have guided me through the beginning of my academic journey. Now as I begin my career as an academic generalist I look forward to becoming a leader and mentor myself. Through SASGOG I have come to learn of the many different opportunities for leadership that exist in our field. I believe that my leadership niche will be in education. Specifically, at this year’s meeting I learned about SASGOG’s educational publications, both textbooks and the Pearls of Exxcellence, and I am excited to contribute to the education of my colleagues in this broad sense. Furthermore, I gained insight into what was already an area of interest for me, becoming a residency program director. During the lunch breakout session, I was able to hear perspectives from several leaders in resident education. I was impressed with their dedication and passion. I too have become passionate about education during my residency training. Some of my most fond memories in residency were born out of helping the junior residents to become capable obstetricians and gynecologists.

In addition to my planned leadership roles in medical student and residency education, I would also be very interested in gaining further experience within the leadership of SASGOG. I was so very grateful to be chosen as a resident reporter for this year’s meeting. Through my interaction with the SASGOG board members, I gained a greater appreciation for the field as a whole as well as the functions that make this organization such an asset to physicians like me. I see great potential for further contributions to the field through interactions with this organization.

Asha Talati, MD, University Hospitals, SASGOG Resident Reporter 2016, Leadership Essay

Advocacy: to change “what is” into what it “should be.” After attending the 2016 SASGOG meeting, this quote has resonated with me. Hearing the stories of physicians serving not only as clinical leaders, but also as policy makers and experts in healthcare reform was inspiring. The meeting held several opportunities for young physicians to learn more about ways they can become stronger leaders in healthcare change including an informative keynote by Dr. Susan Wood, panel discussions on advocacy, seminars on negotiation skills in leadership, and a captivating address by Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood.

As I went from session to session over the course of the conference, I found myself growing increasingly interested in a career in advocacy. I was particularly inspired by the panel discussion on advocacy titled “Making Advocacy Part of Your Career as a Specialist in Women’s Health.” During this session, panelists Atul Grover MD, PhD; Tiffany McNair MD, MPH; Diane Horvath-Cosper MD, MPH; and Susan F. Wood PhD discussed their paths to careers in advocacy and their current roles as clinicians, educators, advocates, and policy makers. Three particular points from the panel that most stirred the audience included the importance of (1) find your interest, (2) begin the conversation, and (3) remember you are the expert in women’s health care. The panel did a tremendous job of illustrating these points with their own career paths. For instance, Dr. Tiffany McNair discussed her interest in advocacy after inspiration from her mother as a child. This translated into finding advocacy opportunities during residency and has now transitioned into a career in public health and preventive medicine.

Listening to the dialogue of the panel helped me begin my own conversation about how advocacy should play a role in my career development. After the session, I began thinking about my leadership roles at my institution and projects that I could feasibly complete. I also began thinking about educational opportunities in public health and healthcare policy. Above all else, the panel and associated leadership workshops and seminars were a reminder that as an OB/GYN, I am an expert in women’s healthcare and my voice can make a difference. My role spans beyond clinician as it includes educator, leader, and advocate. It is my job to look at the bigger picture, and change the what is to the what should be.

Keenan Yanit, MD, Oregon Health and Science University, SASGOG Resident Reporter 2016, Leadership Essay

Just as Dr. Gaba did in her Presidential Address, I looked up the definition of a leader. According to Merriam­Webster, a leader is a person who has commanding authority or influence. A leader is a person who is followed by others. The list of qualities that make a great leader is long, but I would like to boil it down to the three that resonate most with me, and quality that is often missing.

#1 A great leader is a role model. They are a people others look up to because of their strong sense of morality and integrity. Their values and ethics are clearly demonstrated in their actions. It is often this strength of character which inspires confidence and trust among those around them.

#2 A great leader is a team player. A great leader fosters cooperation and willingness to work together. They are willing to take on any task but are able to see the larger picture and delegate as appropriate. They are able to see strengths in others and inspire creativity and passion.

#3 A great leader accepts responsibility. At the end of the day, a great leader accepts success and failure on behalf of the group without excuses. A great leader is willing to take reasonable risks, learn from experience and adversity, and will find a way to turn challenges into opportunities.

A great leader takes all of these qualities and uses them to become an advocate.

As a future academic generalist, I hope to embody these leadership qualities in my practice with patients as well as with the medical students and residents with whom I will work. As an administrative chief resident I have enjoyed advocating on behalf of the residents. In the future, I hope to get involved in the residency leadership team. The diversity session specifically caught my interest as our program has recently been discussing how to prioritize diversity during our resident application process.

One of the many strengths of a meeting like SASGOG is to learn from other programs and perhaps adopt and adapt the information to our own institution. I hope to bring the diversity conversation to our program. The meeting provided exposure to the different leadership roles an academic generalist can assume within their department. I was also introduced to a network of other academic generalists with whom I hope to share experiences. I look forward to learning how we can be better leaders together.