August 2021: ACOG's Immunization Champions

Aug 12, 2021, 00:00 AM by American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

ACOG is proud to acknowledge the below Ob-Gyn Immunization Champions. These Immunization Champions are considered leaders in maternal and adult immunization. They have demonstrated exceptional progress in increasing immunization rates among adults and pregnant women in their communities through leadership, innovation, collaboration, and educational activities aimed at following ACOG and CDC guidance to increase immunization rates among women.

This year, ACOG recognized six Immunization Champions. The ACOG Immunization Champion Award recognizes members who have demonstrated ongoing efforts to promote routine immunizations to pregnant and non-pregnant patients in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and have done an exemplary job of educating its patients and other women’s health care practitioners.

Aaron Elkin, MD, is an OB-GYN with Florida Woman Care and currently chairs its Educational Committee. Dr. Elkin is also affiliated with Unified Women’s Healthcare OB/GYN group, an established private practice in Obstetrics and Gynecology in Broward County, South Florida. Dr. Elkin created one of the first Covid-19 Drive through vaccinations in Florida and the United States in which Healthcare practitioners and those in contact with the essential healthcare workers got vaccinated while sitting in their cars. Over 500 vaccinations were administered in collaboration Broward County Medical Association and the Florida Department with the state, paramedics, fire rescue, other associated entities, and the national guard.

Abbey BerensonAbbey B. Berenson, MD PhD, a gynecologist, promotes vaccination, including uptake of the HPV vaccine, among patients at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX. Dr. Berenson’s HPV vaccination projects have promoted collaborations among UTMB Health System, the Department of Ob/Gyn, the Department of Pediatrics, and 12 Regional Maternal Child Health clinics, as well as external partners, the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and a hospital in the Valley. The projects, funded by the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas, include provider education, patient navigators, and standing orders for the vaccine.

Anne Marie Reidy, MD, is a Board Certified OBGYN who has been practicing in Huntsville, Alabama for 17 years. She is the owner and founder of Women4Women OBGYN, a boutique group practice which offers OBGYN, midwifery and aesthetic/wellness services to the women of North Alabama. She and her practice have been active in educating and promoting COVID-19 vaccination for their patients and their staff from the beginning. Through the use of their blog, social media, reference material and patient counseling, Dr. Reidy's practice has had a high rate of vaccination among their patient population. Dr. Reidy has required all her staff to be vaccinated and the power of example in this regard cannot be understated.

Beatriz M. Folch-Hayek, MD, is Assistant Medical Director for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Family Health Centers of San Diego (FHCSD). She has worked diligently to equip providers and support staff with the most evidence-based information regarding the risk of COVID-19 infection versus the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine(s) among pregnant individuals, so they could educate and counsel patients. She has also worked to secure early and easy access to the COVID-19 vaccine(s) for all pregnant individuals who desired vaccination.

Joseph M. Gobern, MD, MBA, currently serves as the System Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Main Line Health where he oversees women’s health services. He co-chaired the COVID-19 Vaccine Ambassador Program to organize, train and educate members of the health system to share positive accurate information about the vaccine to vulnerable and hesitant populations. A retired Colonel in the U.S. Army, Dr. Gobern has also worked with community partners in the Philadelphia region, as well as local news sources to deliver addresses about vaccine efficacy and safety. As a result, the community and region continue to partner with Main Line Health System to advance health equity and the facts about COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy and reproductive health.

Marta Perez, MD, is Assistant Professor of OB-GYN at WashU in St. Louis School of Medicine. She works as an academic laborist and is passionate about advocacy, teaching, and clinical research. She has a particular interest in using social media to educate patients, explaining evidenced-based topics on perinatal health on Instagram and YouTube. She confronts antivax online trolls and counters their harmful messaging so that patients are not misled and can make decisions about vaccination based on the right information. She is performing research on vaccine hesitancy and increasing access to COVID-19 vaccination among pregnant and postpartum patients.

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Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health
John Sealy Annex, Suite 3.108
University of Texas Medical Branch
Galveston, TX 77555-0587
Office: (409) 772-2417
Email: Abbey Berenson, MD, PhD

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