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Statement Regarding Racism and Disparities in OB GYN Specialty
ABOG Expands on Actions Toward Eliminating Racial Bias and Discrimination
DALLAS – August 27, 2020 – The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) will work in collaboration with other OB GYN organizations and societies to address eradicating racism and health disparities within the specialty. A part of this effort will develop and offer education to its stakeholders regarding the specialty’s history. This history includes injustices against women of color, such as gynecologic procedures performed on enslaved Black women without consent. ABOG is committed to doing its part to help eliminate racial and ethnic disparities, including acknowledging this aspect of the specialty’s history, and taking progressive and actionable steps toward equitable and accessible health care for all women.
ABOG is forming an internal task force made up of leadership and staff members whose purpose will be to create an action plan intended to:
- Facilitate public acknowledgement and awareness among ABOG stakeholders of the role that racism played in the specialty’s history
- Determine and operationalize specific actions that will further facilitate tangible and positive progress toward equity throughout the initial and continuing certification processes
- Collaborate with OB GYN specialty organizations and societies to address racism and biases across women’s healthcare and help to facilitate concrete change and equitable patient outcomes
Additionally, ABOG will form an ad hoc committee made up of Board of Directors members and other stakeholders who will oversee, guide, and approve the internal group’s plan and activities.
“ABOG’s mission is to facilitate board certification and advance knowledge, practice, and professionalism in women’s health. The work that we do going forward as part of this initiative fully supports our mission and will help augment the practice that dedicated and compassionate trainees and OB GYNs provide every day,” said Dr. Andrew J. Satin, ABOG President.
ABOG began work a few years ago to impart awareness of racial disparities in women’s health by offering topical articles to its diplomates through its continuing certification program. ABOG will provide two additional relevant articles next year that will be mandatory reading for all diplomates in the 2021 MOC process. It is likely more will be added over time, guided by research and selection by ABOG committees (made up of physician peers).
ABOG’s initial certification program began work in 2018 with research to study unconscious bias in the Certifying Examination (CE) process. Initially, 50% of specialty examiners were trained on identifying and managing unconscious bias. In 2019, all specialty and subspecialty examiners were trained on unconscious bias. This training is now a standard requirement for all new examiners and all returning examiners on a yearly basis. This process helps assure the fairness of the examination and grading process for all candidates seeking certification.
Furthermore, prior to the annual selection of examiners for the specialty and subspecialty CEs, the race/ethnicity and gender of all examiners is reviewed to ensure diversity and inclusion in the examiner pool. ABOG also utilizes volunteers who serve on committees to facilitate the certification process. These volunteers serve as subject matter experts, and their contributions are critical. Prior to the selection of these volunteers, the race/ethnicity and gender composition of each committee is reviewed to ensure diversity and inclusion.
Going forward, all test items and cases used on OB GYN and subspecialty Qualifying and Certifying Examinations will be reviewed specifically for possible racial bias.
The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) is an independent, non-profit organization that certifies obstetricians and gynecologists in the United States. Founded in 1927, ABOG is one of 24 specialty Boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Based in Dallas, ABOG serves candidates and diplomates in the United States and Canada in the specialty of obstetrics and gynecology, plus several subspecialties, including Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility; Maternal-Fetal Medicine; Gynecologic Oncology; Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery; and Complex Family Planning.