After being sworn in as ACOG’s 64th president on May 8, Jeanne A. Conry, MD, PhD, declared this “the year of the woman.”
Her speech came during the Presidential Inauguration and Convocation on the final day of the 61st Annual Clinical Meeting. Dr. Conry, of Granite Bay, CA, is assistant physician in chief at the Permanente Medical Group in Roseville, CA, and associate clinical professor of ob-gyn at the University of California, Davis. She has been practicing ob-gyn with the Permanente Medical Group for more than 20 years.
“For the first time in the history of the United States, we have agreed that the health of women is a priority, that by investing in this generation we have invested in the next generation, that the basic health care rights of women include well-woman health care, preconception health care, and reproductive health. Whether it is a pill, a patch, a ring, an injection, an implantable, an insertable, or a ligation, we can address reproductive health for what it represents: an investment in our future.”
Dr. Conry shared a simple health mantra: “Every Woman, Every Time.”
“This simple statement means that at every contact in our health care systems, we need to address reproductive health choices and well-woman care—for ‘Every Woman, Every Time,’” she said. “It is crucial that we, as ACOG Fellows, take the lead and focus on preconception and interconception health care and understand that, in fact, preconception health is all about well-woman care. Only by addressing chronic medical conditions, wellness, and contraception together can we hope to improve maternal outcomes.”
During her speech, Dr. Conry announced the National Maternal Health Initiative, a collaborative effort that includes ACOG, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Association of Women’s Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, American College of Nurse Midwives, Merck for Mothers, and the Maternal Child Health Branch of HRSA to improve maternal health outcomes.
“ACOG will serve a key role in this collaborative effort, particularly around two of the five goals: well-woman health care and safety and quality in maternity care,” she said. “Our goal is to reduce both maternal morbidity and mortality by improving women’s health across their reproductive years by increasing access to contraception planning and by ensuring safety in maternity care.”
Looking to her presidency, Dr. Conry said she will spend the next year promoting the message that we need to focus more on how taking care of our environment can improve reproductive health.
“As physicians, we are well-versed in what I refer to as the ‘environment of care,’ cautioning our patients about exposure to medications and health risks during pregnancy,” she said. “We are aware of the impact of mercury and DES on reproductive health and fetal development. However, as ob-gyns, we have difficulty navigating the science around reproductive health and the environment.”
The chemicals known collectively as “endocrine disruptors” are of greatest concern, she said.
“These chemicals interfere with our own body’s homeostasis and can impact this generation and generations to come,” she said. “It is my hope that ACOG will take a strong leadership role in advising ob-gyns on patient care in this area.”