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You are here: Home Candidates for the 2021 AAGL Board of Directors
 

Candidates for the 2021 AAGL Board of Directors

 

Candidate for Secretary-Treasurer Candidate for Director from the General Membership Candidate for Director from Europe /Middle East/Africa Candidate for Director from North America (CANADA/USA)
Michael Hibner, MD Mark Hoffman, MD Sven Becker, MD Fariba Mohtashami, MD
Andrew Sokol, MD Kate O’Hanlan, MD Mario Malzoni, MD Sukhbir “Sony” Singh, MD
Elizabeth Pritts, MD

 



Dr. Michael Hibner
Candidate for Secretary-Treasurer

It would be my great honor to serve as your Secretary-Treasurer.  My involvement with the AAGL, over the last 20 years, has been extremely gratifying as a large part of my professional life has been dedicated to minimally invasive gynecology.   My experience with the AAGL and other professional organizations includes serving on the AAGL Board of Directors; Foundation of the AAGL Board of Directors; AAGL FMIGS Program Director; PG Chair and Co-Chair of multiple courses, including development and chairmanship of two Pelvic Pain anatomy workshops; published multiple chapters and articles in peer reviewed journals; ad hoc reviewer for five Ob/Gyn journals; and participated in over 100 lectures on MIGS and pelvic pain for various medical associations.

I became an Ob/Gyn physician because of the mentorship of two very accomplished female physicians, my mom, an ENT surgeon, and my aunt a reproductive endocrinologist.  However, it was Dr. Javier Magrina, my Fellowship Director, who introduced me to gynecologic surgery. During my Fellowship at the Mayo Clinic, I became very interested in pelvic pain and after its completion, I traveled to Europe to learn about pudendal neuralgia. When I returned to the United States, I founded the AAGL Pelvic Pain Special Interest Group and was encouraged to learn that there were many other colleagues who had the same passion for this area of study.

Because of my mentorship, I wanted to pay it forward, and started one of the first FMIGS Fellowships in the western United States at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona.  There, we proudly trained 14 talented fellows who have become successful surgeons at the finest academic institutions across the country.

Professionally, I have been involved with three medical schools rising to the rank of Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Creighton University School of Medicine in Phoenix, Arizona. Now, after 17 years in my academic position, I decided to start a private practice dedicated to pelvic pain but will continue to teach and mentor at the medical school.

The AAGL is a fully global society with members from over 100 countries.  It is my hope that with my distinct experience of being raised in Africa, educated in Europe, and spending the last 30 years practicing medicine in the United States, I will have the ability to help our organization continue its international expansion.  This year, while challenging, has made us consider many new ways to teach in a virtual world and I look forward to helping the AAGL develop new educational offerings that will help our members and the patients that they serve.

In summary, as I seek your support for the Secretary-Treasurer of AAGL, my vision is:

  • Provide equal opportunities for all members allowing them to serve as faculty, mentors and leaders of the AAGL
  • Elevate the scope of research, publications, presentations and other types of programming
  • Begin change to recognize the transformative work that needs to be done within the profession and the broader health community. Partner with advocates, activists, scholars and leaders to lead work to achieve racial justice, reproductive justice and equity in women’s health
  • Continue to support the Focused Practice Designation, fighting for further recognition of our sub-specialty, by insurance companies, employers, credentialing committees and other physicians
  • Collaborate with other organizations to make positive change and increase our international expansion

I am committed to working tirelessly on your behalf.  My leadership, practice, fellowship, international education and research experience have provided me the skills required to accomplish my vision.   I welcome the opportunity to lead the AAGL and would be grateful for your vote.

Michael Hibner, MD, PhD



Dr. Andrew Sokol
Candidate for Secretary-Treasurer

Dr. Andrew Sokol is a board-certified Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgeon and Professor of OB/GYN and Urology at Georgetown University Medical School in Washington, DC. He is an internationally recognized expert in vaginal and laparoscopic pelvic floor surgery and in the treatment of pelvic floor disorders. Dr. Sokol served on the AAGL Board of Directors from 2012 – 2014 and has been a member of the JMIG editorial board since 2012. He was also a founding member of the urogynecology special interest group and has served as its chair. He was a member of the scientific program committee for the 42nd and 45th annual meetings and has served on or chaired numerous other AAGL committees. He has also held numerous leadership positions in the prestigious Society of Gynecologic Surgeons as well as the American Urogynecologic Society.

Dr. Sokol graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors from the University of Michigan and earned his medical degree with Alpha Omega Alpha honors from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit in 1998. He completed his OB/GYN residency at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL in 2002. In 2005, he completed a combined fellowship in Minimally Invasive Surgery and Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation under the tutelage of Drs. Marie Fidela Paraiso, Tommaso Falcone, and Mark Walters.

Dr. Sokol is the Editor of a gynecology textbook entitled The Requisites in Obstetrics and Gynecology: General Gynecology (Elsevier, 2007) and has authored over 50 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters. He is a winner of the Golden Laparoscope and Robotic Technology awards at the AAGL annual meeting and has won numerous awards for his teaching and research.

Dr. Sokol’s research interests include surgical management of pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence, biomaterials (e.g., mesh) and pelvic reconstructive surgery. He is actively involved in clinical research trials that focus on surgical therapy for pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.


Dr. Mark Hoffman

Candidate for Director from the General Membership

My name is Mark Hoffman, and I am honored to be considered for a position on the AAGL Board of Directors. I have been a member of AAGL since my first Annual Congress in 2008, and as a member of the Board, my focus will be on the same challenges I’ve worked on throughout my clinical career: improving patients’ access to high-quality gynecologic care.

I graduated medical school from the University of Kentucky, and after completing residency at the University of Chicago and MIGS fellowship at the University of Michigan, I returned home. I am currently a clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Kentucky, and I serve as director of the Gynecologic Subspecialties Division and medical director the operating rooms at UK Good Samaritan Hospital.

I am proud of the work we’ve done.  As the only fellowship-trained MIGS provider at my institution for the past eight years, I created patient-centered, multidisciplinary programs for managing fibroids, endometriosis and pelvic pain, focusing on increasing access to underserved communities.

However, the challenges that our patients face are bigger than just one hospital system. Thanks to the support of AAGL, I was able to join, and then chair ACOG’s committee on health economics and coding. I also represented ACOG at CPT and RUC meetings, and I learned more than I ever imagined about how our healthcare system works. I know that the changes our patients need must come through changes in how the healthcare system values the work that we do.

As the world leader in providing a platform for research, education and training for managing the most challenging benign disorders of the female reproductive system like chronic pelvic pain, endometriosis, and fibroids, AAGL is uniquely positioned to drive those changes.

As a member of the board of directors, I will work to improve patients’ access to high quality care and high-volume surgeons by showing our value to the healthcare system. I appreciate your consideration of my nomination, and I hope you are all staying healthy and safe.


Dr. Kate O’Hanlan
Candidate for Director from the General Membership

Dr. Kate O’Hanlan, in practice for 34 years, is a “laparoscopic oncologist”, having documented and reported outcomes from over 2300 laparoscopic hysterectomies, with most of her 62 journal publications focused on advanced laparoscopic surgery. She revised and advanced the retroperitoneal approach to the comprehensive pelvic and high aortic lymphadenectomy, and has advocated that surgeons, including oncologists, do more to address level one prolapse at hysterectomy.

In 2006, Dr. O’Hanlan founded the Laparoscopic Institute for Gynecology and Oncology (LIGO), and with the superb LIGO faculty,

provided 19 annual intensive, comprehensive trainings for over 2,500 oncologists and generalists worldwide in advanced laparoscopic surgery. LIGO is considered the boot camp for both skill building and advancing MIS skills.

Today, Dr. O’Hanlan continues to teach MIS every chance she gets. She advocates monitoring rates our rates of open versus MIS approaches to hysterectomy as is currently done for C-sections, aware that the minimalist approach to both obstetrics and gynecology is best for women.

Dr. Elizabeth Pritts
Candidate for Director from the General Membership

My name is Elizabeth Pritts, MD. I am a member in good standing of the AAGL and am interested in applying for a position with the Board of Directors. I completed my Obstetrics and Gynecologic Residency in 1998 and surgical fellowship in 1999 at Yale University and my Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Fellowship at UCSF in 2002. I am Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.

I have been a member of the AAGL since my residency, and have watched the organization change the standard of medical and surgical care for women throughout the world. I am most interested in becoming a part of that change with a leadership position.

I completed one of the earliest minimally invasive gynecologic surgical fellowships operating on over 350 women during this time. I worked under the guidance of my surgical mentors including Dr.’s David Olive, Steven Palter, Anthony Duleba and Aydin Arici at Yale University in the Minimally Invasive Surgical Division.  This was just preceding the creation of the MIGS fellowship sanctioned by the AAGL and SRS in 2001.

I have long been a champion for evidence-based medicine, publishing my work on the subject during my residency and fellowship. After my training was completed, I began utilizing meta-analytic techniques to resolve rare and complicated clinical queries. I performed and published the original meta-analyses for several medical questions, including;  the identification of the most effective route for progesterone administration during the luteal phase of invitro fertilization cycles;  the place of surgical removal of fibroids for women with infertility issues; and recently, the prevalence of leiomyosarcoma in women undergoing surgery for presumed benign fibroids and outcomes after morcellation of these tumors.

I am most interested in joining the Board of Directors of the AAGL. When we acknowledge the necessity of collaboration between surgeons of the world; women, men, minorities, young, old, newly trained or seasoned in their careers, we can affect transformation. My mission is to continue the legacy of the AAGL; improving women’s health worldwide in a meaningful, evidence-based manner. Thank you for your kind consideration.

Dr. Sven Becker
Candidate for Director from Europe/Middle East/Africa

The clinical focus of Prof. Becker is advanced laparoscopy and minimally invasive surgery, surgical oncology and gynecological oncology.  His academic and scientific focus is teaching gynecologic surgery, exploration of new surgical techniques and researching pathway-adapted therapy of advanced oncologic disease.

Prof. Becker studied medicine in Mainz (Germany), Paris, Madrid and Tokyo. After training in pathology at Munich Technical University he completed an OB/GYN residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, USA. He went on to receive both MFM and Gyn-Oncology subspecialisation at Tübingen University Hospital, Germany, where he also received his PhD in Oncology.

Since 2012, Prof. Becker has been the Director of the Frankfurt University Women’s Hospital as well as Division Head of Gynecologic Oncology and Advanced Gynecologic Surgery.

2017 Prof. Becker was offered to become Professor/Chairman at Rotterdam/Leiden Universities (Gyn-Oncology). He opted to stay in Frankfurt, where he has continued to expand his clinical and research team in the areas of advanced laparoscopy, endometriosis treatment, gynecologic oncology and laparoscopic oncology.

A particular focus of Prof. Becker has been surgical teaching and the advancement of surgical training all over the world. He has lectured in over 20 countries and performed live-surgery in Germany, the United States, Greece, Belgium, Norway, Finland, Russia, Egypt, Sudan, India and the Phillipines.

Prof. Becker has served on many national and international boards, including as Chairman of a FIGO working group, as member of the AAGL guidelines committee, the ESGE-executive board and the advisory board of the Germany society of endoscopy as well as the Board of Directors of the Frankfurt Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Mario Malzoni
Candidate for Director from Europe/Middle East/Africa

The AAGL is the world’s leading organization in MIGS, founded on the principles of collaboration, education, and exciting progress. Since its formation in 1971, it has consistently increased its membership to include both experienced masters and enthusiastic beginners, expanded its presence on all continents, and continued to bring together international expertise at all of its global congresses.

While technology has united the world, many of our goals in global cooperation remain to be explored fully, and new directions in international collaboration can be realized in the near future.

My experience of operating and teaching in over 50 countries during the past 20 years has confirmed my perception regarding the crucial need for deep knowledge of diseases and surgical anatomy, the standardization of procedures, and the systematization of approaches to pelvic spaces in order to make even the hardest surgery easier and more reproducible in both economically advanced and low-resource settings.

Sustainable excellence in surgical care is a need and desire of every surgeon, and it has been and remains at the core of my personal and organizational mission for my entire career.

Europe, Asia, and Africa include many countries with vast and various histories, resources, current infrastructure, and goals. The global platform established by the AAGL promotes the progress and diversity necessary for productive global educational exchange.

Over the past 20 years, we have conducted and participated in hundreds of scientific meetings, residential courses, and lectures and live surgeries, bringing young surgeons into contact with the global surgical community and initiating mentorship and collaboration with representatives of leading scientific societies in Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery around the world.

I would like to promote both reconnections and new connections among established and young, culturally diverse communities via the global AAGL platform—focusing on Western Europe, Russia and Eastern European countries, North and South Africa, Turkey, the Middle East, and India for the purpose of advancing in 2 clear and essential aims: to reach the highest standards in surgery and to advance education. I look forward to expanding my efforts to achieve these goals of the AAGL and to enhance its vibrant and diverse membership.

Mario Malzoni, MD

Dr. Fariba Mohtashami
Candidate for Director from North America (CANADA/USA)

Dr. Fariba Mohtashami is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada, where she is Head, Division of General OBGYN and residency training program Site Director at St. Paul’s Hospital. She practiced as a consultant OBGYN for 5 years before immigrating to Canada in 2002. At UBC she gained her Canadian credentials after repeating 5 years of residency. She then completed a formal Fellowship in Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery in 2012.

Dr. Mohtashami is a FLS Certified Proctor by the Society of the American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES). Her approach to surgical education is by emphasis on the Fundamentals of Surgery including anatomy, dissection techniques, practical use of electrosurgery and efficient suturing. She is actively involved in surgical education: at the residency training level—because gynecologists do not graduate from birthing units; at the MIGS fellowship level—because the specialty needs bold leaders and strong role models; and at the CME level—because every surgeon needs mentorship and coaching.

Since 2013, she has been a regular Faculty or Chair at AAGL PG courses including Laparoscopic Suturing and Advanced Cadaveric Anatomy workshops. In 2017 she organized the first “AAGL-style” cadaveric workshop in Canada which has become a recurring event. Nationally, she lectures for the Association of Academic Professionals in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (APOG), the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC), and Canadian Society for the Advancement of Gynecologic Excellence (CanSAGE). She is invited Faculty for the Dutch and South African Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In AAGL she is a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and was on the 2019 Scientific Program Committee of the Global Congress in Vancouver.

Her passion for surgical education has been recognized by several awards including: in 2019 by the UBC Clinical Faculty Award for Excellence in Community Practice Teaching; the Dr. Mike Turko Surgical Teaching Award for outstanding surgical teaching in the UBC Residency Program (2018); and in 2016 by both the APOG Carl Nimrod Award for Surgical Mentorship and the APOG Best Preceptor Award at the Annual APOG MIGS Workshop.



Dr. Sukhbir “Sony” Singh
Candidate for Director from North America (CANADA/USA)

The most important and influential professional society in my own career has been the AAGL.  As a member for almost 20 years, this organization sparked my interest in gynecologic surgery, led me to pursue fellowships in the field and to establish a practice in MIG surgery.   Over the past 12 years I have made it a goal to  “pay it forward”.  I have done this by training the next generation of MIG surgeons as a Fellowship Director and by actively participating in the annual meetings and several committees including the inaugural EMIG collaborative.

My vision for the AAGL is to focus on the common values that bring together a diverse international membership.  I truly feel that the AAGL is a worldwide family of health care providers who share the same common goals.  We are all working to better ourselves, our teams and the system we work in to provide the best possible care for our patients.

There are NO barriers, walls  or ceilings within this wonderful organization.  We have to celebrate the diversity of backgrounds, cultures, languages and experiences that the AAGL has brought together over the years.   No matter whether you are a trainee or a surgeon in practice for 30 years, you are welcome.   Regardless of whether you work in a country in political chaos or in a private hospital with all the latest equipment, at the AAGL you are equals.   Furthermore, we will learn from each other and help “elevate” our understanding of what it means to care for every patient.

The mission to elevate the quality and safety of health care for women through excellence in clinical practice, education, research, innovation, and advocacy is possible as long as we work together.    My vision is to celebrate and focus on the diversity of the membership and  their needs.  By focusing on the common values of improving ourselves, our teams and our systems, we will ultimately achieve the goal of better care for the patient.

Sincerely,

Sukhbir (Sony) Singh MD, FRCSC, FACOG
Professor
Fellowship Director, AAGL FMIGS
E. Jolly Research Chair in Gynecologic Surgery
The Ottawa Hospital, University of Ottawa
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Ottawa, Canada

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