This year’s Hale Lecture presenter says right now offers an historic opportunity for the cause of global women’s health.
Herbert B. Peterson, MD, FACOG, the William R. Kenan, Jr. distinguished professor in the departments of obstetrics and gynecology and maternal and child health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will deliver “Health and Well-Being for All: Delivering on the Promise for Those We Serve” as part of this morning’s President’s Program created by ACOG President Thomas Gellhaus, MD, FACOG. Dr. Peterson will speak at 8:30 am in Hall D.
“We’ve never seen a moment like this before,” he said. “For the first time in human history, there’s the political will and priority to achieve health and well-being for all.”
Dr. Peterson sees the September 2015 launch of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which include health and well-being for all, as an opportunity that we cannot afford to lose for the sake of the women that ob-gyns serve around the world.
A large portion of Dr. Peterson’s talk will focus on ways ACOG members can seize this moment.
“To succeed, we will need both the will and the way—and we can be an important part of the way,” he said. “One of the major challenges is putting life-saving and life-enhancing interventions into place successfully and sustainably at scale in the low-resource settings where 99% of all maternal and newborn deaths now occur.”
Dr. Peterson wants to make it clear that the term global health includes local. A good start for many would be looking at the underserved populations in every state. Major health disparities exist in the United States, which ranks 46th in maternal mortality and 38th in infant mortality.
ACOG has volunteer activities currently underway and continues to work on more opportunities to take advantage of the trend of more members wanting to contribute in global health. Dr. Peterson has been interested in this area of medicine since a two-year stint with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Epidemic Intelligence Service program in the early 1980s. He said that many members, from Junior Fellows to Life Fellows, are looking for ways to get involved. Dr. Peterson noted that Dr. Gellhaus has been a long-time global health champion and said, “Many of our Fellows are contributing on multiple levels. Dr. Gellhaus is a wonderful example of somebody who’s led by example with his own volunteer service over the years.”