This issue of O&G Magazine discusses the clinical enigma that is endometriosis. In the 13th century, pain during menses was described as ‘strangulation or suffocation of the womb’.1 Like many perceptions about women’s illnesses, the pain and suffering was attributed to a woman’s failure to fulfil her biological destiny, that is, become pregnant and bear children. It’s interesting, and important, to reflect on the impact of social mores and expectations and how they influence doctors and scientists and our assessment and management of patients. In far more modern parlance, our authors in O&G Magazine discuss the pathophysiology, clinical assessment, investigation and management of this complex disease. RANZCOG is taking a leading role in Australia, having received a Commonwealth grant to develop country-specific guidelines for endometriosis management. New Zealand has recently released their guidelines, and this will provide a useful reference point. I am pleased that internationally recognised endometriosis expert, Prof Jason Abbott, has agreed to Chair the committee.
Your RANZCOG Board will be attending the New Zealand ASM in Hamilton in May. We’re looking forward to spending time with our colleagues in New Zealand, reflecting on the events in Christchurch and learning from an interesting and varied scientific program. We will be joined by newly appointed RANZCOG Board observer, Julie Hamblin. Julie is a lawyer with considerable expertise in the corporate sector and was the consumer representative on the Obstetrics and Gynaecology MBS Review Committees. I am sure that she will bring a fresh and insightful perspective to our discussions.
Your RANZCOG CEO, Vase Jovanoska, has already made a very positive impact at the College. She’s hit the ground running and the consistent feedback from staff and RANZCOG members is that Vase is willing to listen. Vase has made a huge effort to spend time with each Board member and has sought advice and feedback from staff and members. I feel very confident that, in Vase, we have strong, competent, respectful and reflective leadership.
One of the special duties of the President is to attend international scientific meetings and I am writing this on the long flight home from Nashville, Tennessee, having attended the 2019 ACOG ASM. The conference dinner included line dancing at the Wild Horse Saloon, but I also concentrated on meeting former ACOG Presidents, Mark De Francesca (Honorary FRANZCOG) and Tom Gelhaus (to receive Honorary FRANZCOG at the Melbourne ASM), outgoing President Lisa Hollier, incoming President Ted L Anderson and President-elect Lisa Chalas. The Americans were, as always, warm and welcoming and there were many insights to be learned discussing their governance and processes. I attended the Fellowship Ceremony and was proud to hear the citations for RANZCOG Immediate Past-President Prof Steve Robson, who received the prestigious ACOG Distinguished Service Award, and Prof Suzanne Garland, from the Royal Women’s Hospital Melbourne, who received an ACOG Honorary Fellowship for her pioneering work in human papilloma virus research.
After too many years of inertia, the College announced our Gender Equity and Diversity Working Group, led by Chair, Dr Gillian Gibson. Recognising the need for broader representation at a leadership level at RANZCOG, we have set ourselves some ambitious targets. At the time of writing, we have sought feedback from the RANZCOG membership that will be collated and discussed. With awareness of our lack of experience in this area, we have sought advice, and RANZCOG is the first medical college to engage with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). I am particularly grateful to Libby Lyons and Kate Lee from WGEA for their support and sage advice.
In honour of International Day of the Midwife, 5 May, a message from RANZCOG to the Australian College of Midwives and New Zealand College of Midwives was warmly received. The College is progressing a Joint Committee to bring together the many entities that contribute to maternity care in Australia and New Zealand. Collaboration and our common purpose will underpin the work of this multidisciplinary group.
Finally, in line with the Board’s determination to proactively address issues relevant to the College, we want your feedback and suggestions. We want to know what you think is important and we invite constructive criticism. The world is changing and expectations of communication from the College are higher than ever before. We recognise this and are endeavouring to do more to keep you informed through various media. RANZCOG is your College.