Diversity and Inclusion and Strength in Numbers
It is my privilege to write this introductory piece for NewsScope. The honor and responsibility of serving as President of the AAGL has always been a career aspiration.
AAGL is unique and at the forefront of societies in the Obstetrics and Gynecologic community. We are truly the only international society in our field with close to 7000 members from over 100 countries. Our international members and sister societies provide unparalleled collaboration, insight, and perspective. This year, in addition to our own Global Congress, we are participating in international partner meetings, including ESGE/APAGE in Clermont-Ferrand, France, and COGA in Beijing, China. Each meeting’s unique theme allows for invaluable learning opportunities and rich cultural exposures. You can find these and all our educational meetings on the AAGL website (www.aagl.org). Visit today to investigate the meeting(s) that interest you, review the scientific programs, and register.
We continue to offer our Advanced Gynecologic Laparoscopy Workshop in Louisville, Kentucky, now in its 21st year, and are also hosting a Global Hysteroscopy Summit in Toronto, Canada, our 3rd in the “Global Summit” series. We remain committed and passionate about training the next generation of MIGS surgeons with our Fellowships and are planning a robotics workshop and the 4th annual “Bootcamp” this year for our Fellows.
Our accomplishments and stature reflect both standing on the shoulders of those before us as well as representing the future of our field. For example, the Advanced Gynecologic Laparoscopy Workshop noted above has 7 AAGL Past Presidents participating in your education. AAGL represents all the facets of Minimally Invasive Gynecology. Our current presidential chain and executive board consists of 4 fellowship trained physicians, all full Professors in their highly respected institutions, one each from MIGS, REI, FPRMS (Urogynecology), and Gynecologic Oncology. I believe this is a first for both us and any society in the world.
Our efforts at diversity and inclusion have yielded a comprehensive and transparent Anti-Harassment Policy, a Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and a commitment to ensuring that our leadership reflects our membership. These efforts have been embraced and passionately pursued, and our policies have become models for other organizations. Over the past three years (2015-2017), we have increased female leadership as well. AAGL Executive Board participation rose from 20% to 50%; chairs of AAGL committees rose from 24% to 50%; and invited faculty to the AAGL Global Congress rose from 35% to 42%.
We acknowledge that there is more work to be done and are committed to ensuring that AAGL is at the forefront of its field with our constant vigilance for transparency, inclusion, and leadership development.
In addition to education and collaboration, our talented and passionate volunteers and staff continue their efforts towards a myriad of other activities designed to support you, your practice, and the patients we are privileged to serve. Our participation in the Choosing Wisely Campaign (ChoosingWisely.org) has resulted in over 128,000 hits on searches for more information on MIS procedures and the surgeons capable of performing these surgeries.
The EMIG Steering Committee confirmed that it is on schedule to begin validation of the skills testing models in June 2018. We are pleased to announce that the process of validation will be in conjunction with 10 ACOG Simulation Committee sites. An additional task force has been charged with completing the curriculum and the cognitive test has been updated and is ready for use. The complete test will be ready for distribution in early 2019.
The AAGL and Fellowship Board of Directors have worked collaboratively to bring the FMIGS under the AAGL as a Special Interest Partner. Both Boards felt this was an important partnership representing the integral role that FMIGS fulfills in educating the next generation of surgeons and leaders. As you may know, the FMIGS program normally receives close to 100 applications for its 44 total FMIGS sites, making it one of the most competitive fellowships in Ob/Gyn. We encourage our members to participate in lifelong learning and teaching by offering a Fellowship site. For more information go to the AAGL website site at www.aagl.org and tap the Fellowship tab.
I look forward to an active and productive year, relying on our incredible membership to fully realize our potential and our future.