Pam Harrison

April 28, 2017

SAN DIEGO — The health problems of women around the world will be addressed at the upcoming American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) meeting, as experts debate outcomes and global access to care.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will cohost the maternal mortality and safety sessions, during which the latest numbers and strategies to improve treatment will be discussed.

Herbert Peterson, MD, who is an advocate for women's global health, will kick off the President's Program with a lecture entitled Health and Well-Being for All: Delivering on the Promise for Those We Serve.

During the second lecture, The Challenge of Too Much Medicine, Neel Shah, MD, will talk about the complexities of the American healthcare system and ways to improve the safety, affordability, and experience for patients receiving care.

Dr Thomas Gellhaus

The final lecture in that series will delve into declining physician satisfaction, ACOG President Thomas Gellhaus, MD, told Medscape Medical News. The Science of Heal Thy 'Self' — delivered by Guy Winch, PhD — "will examine what we as physicians can do to take better care of ourselves as we strive to take care of our patients."

Award-Winning Talks

The cost of genetic testing will also be in the limelight at the meeting, after winning first prize for the best of the oral sessions.

Extending endocrine strategies for patients with breast cancer beyond the usual 5 years will be another prize-winning talk.

Dr Richard Hansell

During the session on late-breaking news, "we are going to talk about the Zika virus and update people on what's been happening in the United States with that virus," Richard Hansell, MD, chair of the scientific program for the meeting, told Medscape Medical News.

Nine debates will be held, which will "give our members what they want and feed on that energy," said Dr Hansell.

Debates will cover whether robots or laparoscopes are better for pelvic surgery and whether routine cystoscopy should be performed during hysterectomy, will discuss whether the "maverick" techniques of cosmetic gynecology should be part of gynecologic practice, and will examine whether freezing eggs to extend reproductive choice is ethical.

Live Telesurgery

The third annual Nezhat Live Telesurgery 3-hour forum — which will broadcast surgeries from two different locations — will provide best-practice examples of safe hysteroscopic and laparoscopic techniques.

And again this year, videos of various procedures and advances in the field will be showcased during the Film Festival.

Insights into how to improve patient care will be presented in a variety of ways, including traditional oral sessions and ePosters, which are posters displayed digitally that can be viewed online any time.

"We also have one-to-one luncheon tables where small groups can talk with a professor and have lunch," Sandra Carson, MD, ACOG vice-president for education, told Medscape Medical News.

Dr Sandra Carson

Those looking for a break from the more serious aspects of the meeting can go to the ACOG Education Arcade, where delegates can participate in trivia and multiple-choice games to test their knowledge. And there will be entertaining sessions called Cases to Stump You: What's the Diagnosis and Are you Smarter than a Junior Fellow, which is modeled on the Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader TV show.

Flip classroom sessions will use a new style of learning that greatly enhances adult retention; participants do their homework first before reviewing cases, not the other way around, according to Dr Carson.

"I think the excitement of the meeting is that it truly covers the entire spectrum of obstetrics and gynecology. We have over 300 speakers and we're presenting the meeting in a variety of formats," she said.

"But overall, I think our most important issue is to make sure that women have access to the total spectrum of reproductive health," Dr Carson pointed out. "This year, in particular, we are reminding our members that it's especially important to support their patients and try to help them gain access to care."

"We're obviously all at the meeting to be educated," Dr Hansell pointed out. "But having the opportunity to see and meet people you haven't seen for years is special to me," he said.

Dr Gellhaus, Dr Hansell, and Dr Carson have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

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