ISUOG is a charitable organisation and the leading international society of experts in ultrasound for obstetrics and gynecology. Beginning in 1991 with the first issue UOG Journal and the first World Congress, ISUOG has grown delivering education to members in 140 countries.
ISUOG’s long-term vision is that every woman in the world has access to ultrasound, that every scan provider is competent and that the diagnosis of obstetric and gynecologic conditions is effective so that women’s health outcomes improve.
Our mission is to improve women’s health through the provision, advancement and dissemination of the highest quality education, standards and research information around ultrasound in obstetrics and gynecology.
In our work, research and teaching we will demonstrate excellence, integrity, respect, inclusiveness and passion.
Achieving Strategic Goals
We all know that 2021 was another difficult year to navigate because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We started the year with a fitting celebration meeting to mark ISUOG’s 30th anniversary. This was not any virtual meeting. The event ran across three time zones, had over 11,000 registrants and showcased the best science and education that the Society has to offer. The awareness of the challenges faced by clinicians in different time zones, I think, set the tone for much of what we are trying to do – which is to improve access to the educational material that ISUOG produces.
There is no doubt that virtual meetings when run well are fantastic for increasing access. However, it means for speakers this might be described as “all of the work but none of the fun”. None of our meetings happen without a faculty and I am sure I am speaking for everyone when I say how grateful we are as an organisation for the continued commitment and passion shown by so many of our speakers. Recording presentations is often hard work and dare I say rather boring, so we must always remember to look after them appropriately. This is against a background where so many clinicians have suffered from burnout and at times felt very isolated.
One thing I have tried to achieve as President has been to increase the accessibility of our Society in line with our charitable aim to improve women’s health through education around the world. I have always felt we were unrealistic in the pricing structure for many of our events – that were rendered beyond the reach of many because of the cost of registration, flights and hotels. The pandemic offered an opportunity for ISUOG to develop a range of free webinars and educational courses to support colleagues working in lower resource settings.
After much debate our World Congress was held virtually for a second year. I was delighted that the Trustees approved a substantial reduction in the pricing for colleagues from lower resource settings that resulted in a significantly increased attendance from countries that traditionally would not have attended otherwise (over 700). This new pricing philosophy has also benefited other sections of our Society, such as with educational courses. The challenge with the second virtual meeting was that the number of people attending from high income countries fell. Moving forward, in my view, we must maintain the access given by virtual events for clinicians in lower resource settings, whilst providing events that remain attractive to those who can afford to pay the level of registration fees required to maintain the Society’s finances.
Following on from this, the idea was developed to run a dedicated meeting for lower resource settings that would be free and would cover both gynecology and obstetrics and involve some key players in maternal health both to discuss maternal mortality but also the role on ultrasound in the lower resource setting. As president I had also wanted to involve the Fetal Medicine Foundation in what ISUOG was doing. So, I was really pleased that Kypros Nicolaides agreed to join us in this endeavour. Whilst this report is for 2021, I am writing this the day after the event and am delighted it went so well with over 7,800 registrants from over 90 countries and fantastic feedback. It really felt like a pivotal moment for the organisation. Overnight we have created a community of thousands of clinicians from lower resource countries, have created links with some key players in the region and provided a template for delivery.
On the theme of access and involvement in 2021, ISUOG designated the Next Generation Group as a full Committee dedicated to trainees. The NGen Committee is spearheading the engagement of trainees, a group that that grew to nearly 5,000 during the year. Perhaps more importantly it has given trainees a forum within the Society and a clear pathway to communicate with the Trustee Board.
A further aim has been to review the governance of the organisation. There has been a comprehensive review of many of the processes within the Society, an example being that Chair vacancies on Committees and Task Forces are now recruited through a competitive process rather than automatic appointment to a second term. This change also now applies to all Trustee positions. Boris Tutschek has had his work cut out as secretary to deal with many of these issues, including aligning the ISUOG Constitution with the latest law and governance best practice, which was voted through at a recent AGM. We are currently reviewing the functioning of Committees with a clear need to render them more accountable for delivery. In addition to this, there has also been an external review of outreach, the results of which will be discussed at the SPM this year.
ISUOG has also decided to pursue a regionalisation programme. The aim is to deliver content that is appropriate to the environment, in the right language and at the right time. Furthermore, it will give more people from more countries a role in the Society. We have initiated events in Latin America and there will shortly be the LATAM International Symposium. We will follow this up with more activities in APAC countries later in the year.
The White Journal has continued to thrive with a high impact factor and papers that make a difference to practice. There are ongoing discussions about future publishers and these will be resolved in the next year.
For me, 2021 was a hinge point for ISUOG, with the organisation recognising the need and moving to provide more accessible education to clinicians in low resource settings and endeavouring to fulfil its charitable purpose. It is critical this is maintained. At the same time, we need to recognise the challenges that exist in relation to providing the income required to carry out these activities. We also need to ensure that whilst improving access on the one hand, we continue to provide appropriate content for our existing membership in higher income countries as well. Looking forward, to improve women’s health we must improve our communication beyond clinicians and speak to patients and hear the patients’ voice when making our decisions. Patients drive change and it is only when armed with the knowledge of what good care looks like, that they can do this effectively.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has been working hard on ISUOG Committees and Task Forces. Nothing of course happens without the staff in the ISUOG office. The last two years have been difficult, with staff working at home for virtually all of this time due to COVID. Whilst this can have some up sides, working through “zoom” makes proper communication very difficult, makes it hard to build teams as well as working relationships, and can be very isolating. The staff have done amazing job in such difficult circumstances, and I really want them all to know that their hard work is appreciated. Finally, I also want to thank my fellow Trustees and Executive Committee members for their support over the year.
What we do
Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology (UOG): the leading peer-reviewed journal on imaging within the field of obstetrics and gynecology.
ISUOG provides education for practitioners and trainees at all levels to enhance their skills and knowledge of ultrasound in obstetrics and gynecology. Lectures and courses are accessible onsite, online, via live-streaming, and On Demand.
Join us! We are the largest global community for those working in ultrasound for obstetrics and gynecology. With a presence in over 140 countries - our network is always growing.
ISUOG delivers high quality educational events in Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology. We provide up-to-date knowledge and clinical guidance for a range of topics and professional levels. Our conferences and courses are dynamic, interactive and provide delegates with practical skills as well as excellent networking opportunities.
ISUOG Anti-harassment position statement
ISUOG is committed to ensuring a safe and respectful environment, free from harassment, in which its members may engage in academic exchange or educational activity. We promote diversity and equality as the basis for positive working relationships and expect our members, employees, volunteers and all those who come into contact with the organisation to be treated, and to treat others, fairly, with dignity and with respect.
These principles and expected behaviours are consistent with ISUOG’s values of Excellence, Integrity, Respect, Inclusiveness and Passion. Thank you for applying them in your interactions with our Society.