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Learning from the Past for a Better Future in Women’s Health Care

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      William F. Rayburn, MD, MBA, Consulting Editor
      This issue of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America is a vision into the future of several issues affecting obstetricians-gynecologists. Edited by Denisse Sanchez Holcomb, MD and Gary Cunningham, MD from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, the readers become aware of the expansion in knowledge from the distant and recent past. Advancements in contraceptive technology, infertility, fetal diagnostic testing and surgery, early screening of gynecologic cancers, and robotic surgery are examples highlighted in this issue. Education is also featured in articles pertaining to simulation and the future of social media in our daily practices. Physician practices are reviewed by examining subspecialization in our field and how it affects access to women’s health care in the future.
      As I reviewed these articles, I reflected on the spirit, resilience, and creativity of the women’s health community during these past few years. Facing unprecedented challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, providers adapted rapidly and efficiently, offering critical collaboration with others to respond to the public health crisis. Many demonstrated strength and compassion despite economic losses and reductions in the number of clinic options. Undoubtedly, this increased engagement with other health care professionals will serve us well into the future.
      It was a pleasure for me to coauthor a postscript with Dr Holcomb about the effect of COVID-19 on our future delivery of women’s health care and the need to care for ourselves. Many of you suffered personal illness and grieved the loss of loved ones and colleagues, while contending with stress and change in your work environment. As we reflect on this experience, you should note your ability to rise to the challenges we will continue to face. We leveraged teamwork to endure these difficult experiences, and we will meet the upcoming challenges together with the same spirit in the future.
      As we envision the future, adjustments to changing times will be essential for women’s health care teams. I look forward to learning more about effectively addressing ongoing challenges, including medical misinformation, distrust of science, physician burnout, and health equity and disparities. Dr Holcomb, Dr Cunningham, and their team of experienced authors brought timely, thoughtful, and occasionally provocative insights about the topics mentioned above. Regardless of whether a woman’s health care is provided by an obstetrician-gynecologist alone or in conjunction with other qualified providers, it is important to clearly demonstrate the power of education and performance to make our patients healthier while living in a better place.