As President of the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology (SOAP), I have the privilege of leading a dynamic and action-oriented global community of over 2,000 physicians and health care professionals. Much of the work of our society is accomplished through our committees and their aligned subcommittees and task forces. More than 20% of SOAP members are engaged through these committees with the ongoing work of the society to advance and advocate for the health of pregnant women and their babies through research, education, and best practices in obstetric anesthesia care. At SOAP, we connect all our efforts to the core pillars of Experience, Community, and Infrastructure to ensure that we are consistently meeting the needs of our members.
I am especially proud that SOAP membership includes anesthesiologists and health care professionals in all phases of their career in obstetric anesthesia. This creates a rich environment with a range of experiences, perspectives, and areas of expertise represented. Current membership numbers can be seen in the chart to the right.
To reflect our diverse membership, SOAP has moved to providing year-round content to our members and adding more opportunities for virtual learning. This has allowed us to serve our members in more flexible ways wherever they may be located geographically.
Examples of new educational offerings for 2022-23 include the virtual Fall Forum (November 2022) and the virtual SOAP Fundamentals course (January-February 2023). The Fall Forum was hosted in conjunction with the SOAP Mentoring Academy and focused on four key areas – education, research, leadership, and quality improvement. The new SOAP Fundamentals course is designed for regions where obstetrical anesthesia care is either limited or unavailable. The focus will be to provide obstetric anesthesia training to members of the entire health care team, which may include obstetricians, midwives, and labor nurses in addition to anesthesiologists, CRNAs, and other health care professionals.
SOAP continues to provide a number of different monthly offerings:
Fellows Webinar Series primarily targets fellows in obstetric anesthesiology programs. These virtual learning opportunities are produced in partnership with OpenAnesthesia and remain available online, archived for long-term reference.
Simulation of the Month is designed for use either in your sim lab or in-situ on your labor floor. Content tested on the front lines includes pre-briefing and debriefing strategies. Convenient feedback forms are provided.
Maternal Critical Care Lecture Series, in partnership with Stanford, features experts sharing the most recent clinical information around critical care in the peripartum period.
As part of our commitment to helping interested members accelerate their careers in obstetric anesthesia, the SOAP Mentoring Academy engages participants on a number of levels. The Speaker Exchange Program, now in its second year, has provided an important opportunity for members to present at divisional grand rounds nationally and gain experience with presentation skills and feedback. The number of host institutions and speakers has expanded each year. Another initiative of the Mentoring Academy has been the Mentor/Mentee Pairing Program of our members based on project-specific goals. In this first year of the program, there are 18 mentor/mentee pairs.
SOAP was originally founded with research as its primary focus. To continue advancing that part of SOAP's mission, the Research Network launched two important programs this year:
The inaugural Research Network Symposium was held in October 2022 in conjunction with the ASA annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. This forum provided the opportunity for members to present research proposals to SOAP's network of research experts, who provided constructive feedback on rigor, relevance, methodology, ethics, feasibility, and fundability of research ideas and helped identify potential project collaborators. A second session is planned during the SOAP 2023 Annual Meeting in New Orleans in May 2023.
The General Anesthesia for Cesarean Delivery Registry launched this fall. This registry is a centralized, prospective, multicenter electronic registry to track the indications, mode of airway management, predisposing factors, and obstetric and anesthetic outcomes of patients who receive general anesthesia for cesarean delivery. We are currently accepting interested institutions via the SOAP website at soap.org.
We also look forward to the SOAP co-sponsored panel at the IARS Annual Meeting in April 2023, “Postpartum Hemorrhage: Novel Assessments to Guide Perioperative Management and Improve Outcomes.”
SOAP is pleased to partner with the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) on a joint SOAP-FAER Mentored Research Training Grant (MRTG) to develop the next generation of obstetric anesthesiology and perinatology physician-investigators. This $250,000 award, disbursed over two years, aims to support anesthesiologists interested in becoming independent investigators in obstetric anesthesiology and perinatology. The first award will occur in mid-2023.
SOAP continues its commitment with the creation of diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) modules as part of leadership training for service on the SOAP Board of Directors, committees, and subcommittees. These modules provide unique training on diversity and inclusivity within our own organization, as well as in the obstetric anesthesia health care team and institutions. We are also pleased to announce the creation of two Diversity & Inclusivity Mentored Grants that will launch in 2023. These grants are to be awarded annually to mentor/mentee pairs who submit projects related to DEI, whether through research, education, or professional development.
The Education Committee continues to create patient information resources. A variety of infographics that may be shared with patients on various topics are available on our website, and many are available in Spanish. A new public-facing website, featuring exclusive Information for Patients, is planned to allow for easier access to useful information, with an easy-to-follow “your questions answered” format.
As we seek to engage members in their specific areas of interest, our Special Interest Group (SIG) program continues to grow. Participation in SOAP SIGs is complimentary for members, with about 20% of our members participating in one or more SIGs. The eight currently offered SIGs are Fetal Surgery, Maternal Health Inequities, Maternal Mental Health and Birth Trauma, Obstetric Anesthesia Physician Wellness, Placenta Accreta Spectrum, POCUS, Private Practice, and Simulation.
The SOAP Digital Media Subcommittee has expanded outreach to members with the latest clinical content, quizzes, and polls. We continue to grow our followers on all platforms (Twitter = 5,412; Facebook =3,518; Instagram = 881; LinkedIn = 300) and enjoy average monthly impressions of more than 35,000. We encourage you to follow SOAP using the links above.
One of our most impactful and important opportunities to positively affect patient outcomes is our SOAP Annual Meeting (asamonitor.pub/3jQSpqc). Following the success of the 2022 annual meeting, which included a virtual component a few weeks after the in-person event in Chicago, we will implement this model again this year. The SOAP 2023 Annual Meeting, May 3-7 at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, will center on the theme “Building Stronger Care Systems and Teams: Pursuing Personalized Maternal Care.” It will feature cutting-edge research presentations combined with engaging clinical updates focused on developing stronger systems and teams. The collaborative environment and CME-approved education program will attract thought leaders from around the world. This classic learning and networking event for all those who practice in or adjacent to obstetric anesthesia promises to be a transformative, inclusive, and high-yield experience. We hope to see you there!