Saturday, September 14, 2013

Jeanne’s Day – President of ACOG

After all of our sight-seeing, it was time for the main event, the primary reason for coming to New Orleans. Jeanne’s inauguration as the new President of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG). We were instructed by Bruce to be at the Hilton no later than 8 in the morning and we would all walk to the convention center as a family. Jeanne was going to leave much earlier, of course, with her daughter Erin who was going to help her get ready, hair, makeup, whatever. Arriving at the center, I was surprised by all of the protestors hanging around waving placards. Surprised, but I guess I shouldn’t have been, this is after all an Ob/Gyn conference and as such these doctors do perform legal surgeries like abortion and circumcision in addition to providing vital care for women in the way of preventative care, prenatal care and safe pregnancies and births. But these demonstrators seem to forget the positive to focus on the negative. In addition, it never fails to amaze me that the majority of protestors are men! What’s that about? And it is a Wednesday morning, don’t they have jobs? Oh, well to each their own. It is their legal right to protest and they should remember that the doctors are not breaking any laws either. Inside, the place was packed and this is a big place and security was ever-present. Much of it had to do with the fact that one of the star attendees was the First Lady of Zambia, Dr. Christine Kaseba-Sata. She was going to be honored with an award for her progressive policies in Africa for promoting and advancing women’s health care, not only in Zambia but throughout the region. We were seated in the front row and so had great views of the stage plus the giant monitors on each side. The current president gave an introductory speech and several awards including the one to the First Lady and then he introduced Jeanne. She entered the room flanked by her closest friends, other doctors who have helped her along the way. We were all standing and cheering as she made her way to the podium. After all the applause died down, she then very ceremoniously introduced each and every one of us, her family to the audience. By the time she got to Bruce and her children Erin and Ryan, we were all standing again clapping and cheering for her. She was so visibly moved by everyone being with her at this moment. Her speech was amazing and that is not just because I am biased! She talked about the year of the woman, preventative health care for “every woman, every time”. In fact, that was a standing mantra throughout her speech, which if anyone is interested can be accessed via YouTube, Twitter or the ACOG website. “Every Women, Every Time”. Afterwards there were the obligatory photographs both official and professional and amateur. After chatting with the Ambassador of Zambia for a while, I also had the pleasure of meeting the First Lady, Dr Christine Kaseba who was very charming and spoke excellent English. After the convention, we left for a scheduled lunch at Commanders Palace. Bruce and Jeanne had arranged this for the family and about 30 or so friends and colleagues of Jeanne. Leaving the convention center for the restaurant, we noticed that most of the protestors had dissipated, thank goodness – must have gotten paid to attend another gig! For anyone who is going to New Orleans, Commanders Palace Restaurant should be on their list of places to eat. Both Tom and I agreed that of all the restaurants we have been to, this was one of the top five in terms of well everything. The food was excellent and the service and attention to detail was just outstanding. It was a fitting climax to a remarkable day. Congratulations again to Dr. Jeanne Conry.

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