Act Globally

Working in the field of global health has been a passion of mine since my wife, Melanie, and I served on a medical mission in the Dominican Republic many years ago. I saw first-hand the need to increase the quality of health care provided to women in other countries. All women require access to quality health care no matter where they live, and training and educating health workers is key to ensuring that care is available.

Mothers with babies in Vietnam by Sandy DoThe World Health Organization reports that almost all (99 percent) of the nearly 300,000 maternal deaths every year occur in developing countries. Two of the most common cancers affecting women – breast and cervical cancers – are of growing global concern. These alarming statistics are what make our partnership with Health Volunteer Overseas (HVO) so important. For nearly 30 years, HVO has empowered health care professionals in resource-scarce countries with knowledge and skills to address the health care needs of their communities.

As HVO launches a new program in obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN), ACOG will provide essential support. With the expertise of ACOG’s membership, HVO can better answer the many requests for assistance it receives from around the world to provide teaching and training in gynecologic and obstetric health topics. We are excited for the new obstetrics and gynecology committee to meet later this month where we will discuss some exciting projects.

One active project is taking place in Kathmandu, Nepal at the Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital (BCH). There, HVO volunteers will contribute to the development and implementation of a structured surgical gynecologic oncology training program. Volunteers will work with BCH staff to develop a gynecologic oncology curriculum for both didactic and clinical skills, and provide surgical and didactic training to BCH gynecologic oncologists.

Yes, ACOG is our country’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. However, it’s also imperative to engage our members and provide direct opportunities to serve, educate and advocate for women’s health on a global level.

Are you ready to volunteer with HVO? Learn more about the obstetrics and gynecology program.

This entry was posted in Women's Health and tagged , , , , by Tom Gellhaus, MD. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tom Gellhaus, MD

Tom Gellhaus, MD is ACOG President through 2017. He is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa. Dr. Gellhaus graduated from Yankton High School in Yankton, South Dakota, received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Chemistry from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and his Doctor of Medicine Degree from the University of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Following residency, he entered private practice in Davenport, Iowa and after 20 years in private practice, he returned to academic medicine at the University of Iowa. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Gellhaus has served in many ACOG positions at the local, regional, national and international levels. Dr. Gellhaus’ interests are in the areas of health care advocacy and policy. He has also been very involved and active in global healthcare. He has completed the McCain Fellowship, a month long in-depth experience in advocacy, at ACOG in Washington, D.C. in 1999. In 2001, he was a Primary Care Policy Fellow with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He has remained active in Advocacy and Policy as a member of ACOG’s Government Affairs Committee and the Ob/Gyn PAC. Dr. Gellhaus has also been very active in leading groups on short-term medical and surgical mission projects for the last 20 years. He has done numerous presentations about these short-term medical and surgical mission projects throughout the United States.

4 thoughts on “Act Globally

  1. Thanks for any other informative site. The place else could I am getting that kind of info written
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  2. Dr Wheeler,
    Thanks for your question and your interest. HVO has had a relationship for several years with the Society of Gynecogic Oncology; however, ACOG has not. We have initiated our relationship and our steering committee/task force is currently working with HVO to develop our teaching curriculum. Once this has been completed we will be paired with low resource providers and begin our in country partnership. The plan is to then open the opportunities for our members.

  3. Dear Dr. Gellhaus,

    Thank you for a great blog post. Indeed, ACOG as a women’s health leader has so much to offer globally! This initiative will go a long way to make a difference.

    There are so many levels and layers to disparity in health such as disparity between rich and low-resource countries and the disparity determined by socio-economic status of women in both rich or low resource settings. The global health goals can only be achieved when women of the last mile are reached locally and globally.

    Your commitment to global health is inspiring!

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