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Practice Advisories

Looking Ahead – AUGS Strategies and Areas of Focus

November 20, 2020 10:00 AM
 
Holly-E-Richter
Dear Colleagues,
 
We certainly have a striking new reality from our PFD Week in Nashville, 2019 to the virtual PFD Week 2020 just past. I want to put a shout out to the PFD Week 2020 Program Committee where under the leadership of Peter Jeppson, we nimbly pivoted from an in-person meeting in Vancouver to an all virtual meeting. Although not perfect, no meeting is, there was high satisfaction overall and the science was stellar.
 
As I begin my year as AUGS President, I wanted to stress that the AUGS Board works for you and I wish to outline a few of the current agenda items for the upcoming year, as well as provide some context regarding one issue that has led to multiple enquiries. The societies’ priorities are generated under the umbrella of our yearly strategic planning meetings and as we know so well, unanticipated events often arise acutely that have to be actively managed. Currently targeted for the upcoming year are projects addressing:
  • Advocacy with increasing awareness of PFDs among public and federal agencies
  • Member Value addressing growing membership and engaging the full urogynecology community and ensuring a rich membership value for all members
  • Organization Vitality addressing financial sustainability by investment in technology to ensure and support future growth for AUGS
  • Quality Improvement with completion of the ACQUIRE launch and implementation which addresses quality patient care and outcomes.
Other important issues include Task Forces addressing increase in NIH access and funding, led by Tanaz Ferzandi, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, led by Gina Northington. If there are any questions regarding these issues or others of interest, please send to board@augs.org.
 
We have received many queries with associated concerns related to the new ABOG Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery (MIGS) Focused Practice Designation (FPD). The AUGS Board representatives had the opportunity to discuss our members’ concerns with ABOG during the process. The focused practice designation provides those with a special interest in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery a more focused, relevant, and pertinent continuous professional development, but is more limited in scope than those covered by subspecialty certification. The Blueprint and examination do not include urogynecologic or GYN ONC areas of focus. This designation essentially provides ABOG the opportunity to establish standards for MIGS and to recognize those GYN surgeons who have additional surgical expertise gained through clinical experience and dedicate a significant percentage of their practice to the care of women with benign and complex gynecologic diseases. It is important to understand that this is not a certification or the establishment of another sub-specialty that could compete with FPMRS or GYN ONC.
 
If of interest, here is the FAQs page regarding MIGS on ABOG’s website. There is also a separate dedicated page that provides an overview of MIGS information.
 
As many of you know, ABOG has provided “badges” highlighting specific subspecialty skills and for FPMRS our badge emphasizes minimally invasive surgery. The FPMRS badge allows members to demonstrate advanced skills to the public in a way that is simple, supportive and easily verified. In the upcoming year, AUGS will continue to actively disseminate to the patient community that FPMRS providers deliver high quality care that provides the full spectrum of care to the patient including evaluation, education to the patient and surgical/nonsurgical treatments for PFDs. We plan to update the “What is a Urogynecologist” patient fact sheet as a resource for your patients and refining the AUGS tagline to differentiate board certified FPMRS providers. Many have inquired, as a board certified Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgeon do I need to obtain the MIGS designation? It was clearly not the intent of ABOG to have subspecialists also obtain this designation. It is not necessary for you to complete this FPD to call yourself a minimally invasive surgeon. If you continue to have questions and concerns about the MIGS FPD, please email us at board@augs.org so that we can address your concerns.
 
I am very excited to serve you, the AUGS members, in this upcoming year and wish only the best for you and your families in the holiday season. Please mask up and stay safe!
 
Sincerely,
Holly E. Richter, PhD, MD, FACOG, FACS
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