APGO’s Academic Scholars and Leaders Program: A Change in Leadership

For the last seventeen years, William N. P.  Herbert, MD, has led the esteemed APGO Academic Scholars and Leaders Program as the Advisory Committee Chair. In March of 2014, he will shake the hands of the program graduates for his last time as chair. It will be the 16th class of the program, which has graduated more than 325 scholars.

In the early 1990’s, under the leadership of APGO president Frank W. Ling, MD, the Board felt it was important to develop a community of educational scholars through a more formal curriculum. At the time, the only other faculty development programs available were limited to individual departments or to multi-disciplinary activities within single institutions. In 1996, the APGO Board appointed a six-member Advisory Committee, composed of five experienced clinician educators and one educational consultant, Frank T. Stritter, PhD, who is still actively serving as the Program Director. And so, a specialty-specific faculty development program was established to define education as a scholarly pursuit, improve the quality of education in obstetrics and gynecology, promote educational research and enhance academic advancement for participating faculty members. Their plan was subsequently approved by the APGO Board and initial funding was secured by Doctor Ling from Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

The Academic Scholars and Leaders Program (ASL) is one of four APGO Capstone Programs. Its purpose is to improve education in the field of obstetrics and gynecology by providing motivated physician faculty with the skills and expertise to enhance all aspects of educational scholarship and leadership.

Doctor Herbert and his committee planned a 15-month course of study based on specific competencies organized into four general areas: curriculum and instruction, measurement and evaluation, educational research and professional development. More specifically, skills and knowledge proposed for the curriculum included curricular design; instructional format and theory; clinical, large and small group instruction; feedback and assessment of performance and knowledge; education research design; statistics, management and leadership skills; and, organizational change.

While creating a legacy within APGO, Doctor Herbert was also fulfilling his duties as a faculty member in the ob-gyn/maternal-fetal medicine department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. From Chapel Hill, he made his way to Durham and served as the F. Bayard Carter Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Duke University. While at Duke, Doctor Herbert received both the APGO and CREOG awards for teaching excellence. Doctor Herbert later assumed the position of William Norman Thornton Professor and Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Virginia. In 2012, he became Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia.

Within APGO, Doctor Herbert served as APGO president from 1998-1999 and as president of the APGO Medical Education Foundation in 2006 and 2007. Doctor Herbert has been actively involved in other ob-gyn organizations, including CREOG and ACOG. He was an ABOG oral board examiner for over 20 years, serving both the general boards and MFM sub-specialty boards. With a long-term interest in medical education, he has served as student clerkship director, residency program director, and fellowship director during his career.

It is no surprise that under Doctor Herbert’s guidance, the ASL program has achieved one of the highest levels of regard within women’s health education. Therefore, it is with confidence that Lee A. Learman, MD, PhD, will begin the role of Advisory Chair beginning in March 2014. Doctor Learman is a 2001 program graduate and joined the ASL Program Advisory Committee as a faculty advisor in 2007. He received his MD and PhD (social psychology) at Harvard University in a program supported by the MacArthur Foundation to establish physician-scientists in the social science disciplines. He completed his ob-gyn residency at University of California, Los Angeles, and served for 14 years on the faculty at University of California, San Francisco, where he was Professor of Ob-Gyn & Reproductive Sciences, Professor of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Director of Curricular Affairs for GME, and Chair of the Scholarship Committee for UCSF’s Academy of Medical Educators.

In 2008 Doctor Learman became the ob-gyn department chair and Clarence E. Ehrlich Professor at Indiana University. His national roles include ABOG oral examiner and MOC item-writing member, incoming membership on the Ob-Gyn Residency Review Committee and 10 years of service to multiple USMLE committees (National Board of Medical Examiners). Doctor Learman serves ACOG as a member of the Editorial Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology. He is the current CREOG Council Chair. Doctor Learman’s research interests include hysterectomy and alternative treatments, studies of patient preference and clinical decision-making and data-driven educational research. His collaborative work on assessing reflective practice in ob-gyn residents received the 2008 Best Paper by an Established Investigator Award from Division I of the American Educational Research Association. His clinical niche is the comprehensive assessment of women with chronic pelvic pain.

On behalf of APGO, we thank Doctor Herbert for his continued leadership and dedication to APGO, the ASL Program and all of the program’s graduates, and we welcome Doctor Learman as the new ASL Advisory Committee Chair!