Click on the headshots below to find out more about each committee member for the FIGO 2023 World Congress.
Dr Meg Autry is a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UCSF and is the Scientific Program Chair for the 2023 FIGO Conference. She received her medical training at Wake Forest University, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, and completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at UCSF. She was the Residency Director and Director of Graduate Medical Education in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at UCSF for 17 years. Most recently she has assumed the interim Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology positions at UCSF Fresno. Since serving 3 years in the US Army, where she was stationed in Germany, she has worked in education. She served on the CREOG question writing committee, as well as the NBME question writing committee, is a board examiner and in 2016, she completed a 2-year term as President of APGO (Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics). She was the Program Chair of the Pacific Coast Obstetrical and Gynecological Society in 2015 and is past President of the San Francisco Gyn Society. She was on the editorial board of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology as the representative of the Society of Academic Specialists in Gynecology and Obstetrics (SASGOG) and was also on the board of SASGOG. She is on the ACOG presidential task force for Global Health and is the current Chair of the ACOG Scientific Committee.
Dr Autry’s research activities revolve around education and education innovations. She is interested in faculty attrition, workforce issues, and the impact of educational innovations implementation. She co-authored an article in Obstetrics and Gynecology on remote teaching of basic surgical skills with colleagues in Uganda. Dr Autry was the primary investigator on an APGO educational grant developing a curriculum for learners in underserved settings both internationally and nationally. Her residency program received Song Brown Funding from the state of California to recruit and train learners in low resource settings particularly in California and her program also had have Josiah H. Macy Jr Foundation money for interprofessional education.
Dr Rubina Sohail is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and medical educationist with special interest in and public health and is the Deputy Chair of the Scientific Programme Committee for the 2023 FIGO Conference. She received her medical training at Allama Iqbal Medical College in Lahore, Pakistan. Head of Department at Services Institute of Medical Sciences & Consultant Hameed Latif Hospital. Chief facilitator of Department of medical education at CPSP, conducting
workshops for trainees and trainers for over fifteen years. Convener of the longest standing postgraduate course of Obstetrics & Gynaecology in Pakistan from 1998 – to date. Research interests include maternal and neonatal health, contraception, sexual and reproductive health and rights. Responsible for introduction of SRH & rights in the curriculum for MCPS & FCPS training program of CPSP.
Dr Rubina has been involved with FIGO “Save the Mothers” project, FIGO “Sexual & Reproductive Rights” project. She is Pioneer of Kangaroo Mother Care in Pakistan, champion of sexual and reproductive health and rights, currently serving as Chair FIGO committee on Women Facing Crisis: Human Rights, Refugees and Violence Against Women; She is the Past President South Asian Federation of Obstetrics & Gynaecology (SAFOG), Vice President, Menopause Society of Pakistan, Member Executive, SOGP, member Board of Directors Ipas (2019 – 2021), member Board of Directors, Population innovation fund and Chair, Education Committee, SAFOMS 2021 todate.
Wide experience of working with development partners, NGOs and government organisations including UNICEF, JHPIEGO, White Ribbon Alliance, Green Star, PDSSP, Rahnuma, MAP, PAPAC, LHW program, Punjab Aids Control Program, Ipas, pathfinder and MNCH program. Organized multiple national & international conferences particularly in the SAFOG region. Widely published, including IJOG and The Lancet. Served in various capacities on the editorial board of national and international journals Author of books on “Status of Sexual & Reproductive Rights in the South Asian Region & Strategies to Achieve them,” “Skills and protocols In Obstetrics & Gynaecology” and “Clinical Handbook for Lady Health Visitors & Midwives.
Prof Rubina was awarded Young Gynaecologist award by AOFOG in 1995 and FRCOG adeuendum in 2019, for work to improve maternal & neonatal health.
Prof. Pius Okong, is the Chairperson of the Health Service Commission in Uganda. He was educated at Makerere University as a Medical Doctor in mid 1970s, graduated from the same University with a M. Med Obs and Gyn in 1987 (research on HPV and cervical cancer). He attained his Doctorate at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm in 2004 in the area of EONC quality of care, maternal mortality and near misses. He is a founder Fellow of East Central and Southern Africa College of Obstericians and Gynaecologists and Past President of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Uganda. Okong is a Hon Prof at UMU and Assoc Prof at UCU with specific interests in SRHR. Okong has published more than 46 papers in peer reviewed journals, and contributed in a number of books. Significant contributions as Chair WHO Advisory Panel on research for AFRO and EMRO Regions, in HRP on production on guidelines in the areas of postpartum care, Ebola vaccination and care in pregnancy and MPDSR. Okong has served as a reviewer for Lancet Global, BMC; and for EC, AAS and Makerere University reviewer for Scientific research grants. Prof Okong represented was a member of PMNCH representing FIGO and was past co-Chair of FIGO Committee on MNH. Currently, he is the Chair of Health Systems Strengthening and Respectful Care.
Professor Bo Jacobsson (MD, PhD) is the head of Perinatal Research Laboratory at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden and Senior researcher at Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway. He is a clinical scientist with a speciality in Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Maternal/Fetal Medicine. He is a leading expert on the mechanisms and epidemiology of preterm birth.
Professor Jacobsson is the FIGO Division Director of Maternal and Neonatal Health 2021-2023 and has led the FIGO Working Group of Preterm Birth during 2019-2021. Professor Jacobsson is also part of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, Knowledge and Evidence Working Group.
He is also on the Board of Directors of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine (EAPM) and chairs the EAPM Special Interest Group of Preterm Birth. Prof Jacobsson has more than 20 years been involved in the work of different international organizations around maternal and neonatal health like PREBIC and PREGENIA. He is presently leading the European Branch of PREBIC. He is a steering group member of Genomic Medicine Sweden and is chairing the Genomic Medicine Sweden complex diseases group. He is also a Swedish representative in the Nordic Society of Precision Medicine.
Prof. Jacobsson has published more than 300 per reviewed papers between 2002-2022. Among other journals, he has published in Nature, Science, New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Genetics, PLOS Medicine, and JAMA. In addition, he has been invited to lecture to more than 140 international scientific conferences.
Jonathan S. Berek MD, MMSc is the Laurie Kraus Lacob Professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine and past Fellow in the Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute. He helped establish and is the Director of the Stanford Women’s Cancer Center, which is one of the first programs in the nation to combine breast & gynecologic oncology with women’s cancer translational and laboratory research, genetics and supportive services programs. He serves as Senior Advisor, Stanford Cancer Institute, and was Chair of the Stanford Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology from 2005-2017.
A Stanford faculty member since 2005, he is renowned for his expertise in gynecologic oncology, surgical innovation and technique, and research in ovarian cancer, especially immunology and immunotherapy. His past laboratory research focused on fundamental mechanisms of cancer immunology, elucidating growth regulatory pathways for cytokines and their receptors. His current research focuses on clinical trials of novel therapies and immunotherapies for ovarian cancer and collaborations on new diagnostics, screening techniques, and genetics.
Professor Berek received his undergraduate degree in English literature and theatre arts, and a Master of Medical Sciences degree in biomedical sciences from Brown University. After earning his Doctor of Medicine from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, he completed an internship and residency at the Harvard Medical School, Brigham & Women’s Hospital. Before moving to Stanford, he was on the faculty at the UCLA School of Medicine for more than two decades, where he served as the Chair of the College of Applied Anatomy, Chief of Staff of the UCLA Medical Center, departmental Executive Vice Chair, and Director of Gynecologic Oncology.
An author and editor, Dr. Berek has published more than 360 peer-reviewed manuscripts in the scientific literature, and an equal number of book chapters and monographs. His books, Berek & Hacker’s Gynecologic Oncology, now in it’s 6th edition, and Berek & Novak’s Gynecology, in it’s 16th edition, are leading texts in the field. He serves as Editor-in-Chief for Current Opinion in Obstetrics & Gynecology, and immediate past Editor-in-Chief of ASCO Connection.
Professor Berek is the chair of the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology (FIGO) Women’s Cancer Committee, formerly known as the FIGO Gynecologic Oncolgy Committee, which is responsible for the staging of gynecologic malignancies.
Professor Berek is Past President of the International Gynecologic Cancer Society in 2008-2010, followed by a term as Past President. Prior to assuming the presidency, he served two terms on the IGCS Council, thus involved in leadership roles for the society 8 years. During his tenure, Professor Berek was a major force behind the expansion of IGCS programs, the substantial increase in its membership, and the facilitation of expanded fundraising programs that led to the society’s greater finanacial stability. He was the host and organizer of the very successful 2006 IGCS meeting that was held in Santa Monica, California.
On behalf of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), he is the senior author of the international resource-stratified guidelines for the management of cervical cancer, which provides direction for basic and limited levels of cancer care for women in developing countries. Over the years, he has been actively involved in numerous ASCO committees, including the ASCO International Committee.
Professor Berek has extensive involvement and many other leadership roles in national and global cancer research activities. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Gynecologic Cancer Intergroup (GCIG), the premiere international consortium of 34 cooperative clinical cancer trials groups. At Stanford, he directs the Gynecologic Oncology Clinical Research Group (CRG). While at UCLA, he served as Principal Investigator in the Gynecologic Oncology Group for more than two decades. Currently, he is the Group Chair and Principlal Investigator of the Women’s Cancer Research Network-Cooperative Oncologic Gynecology Investigators (WCRN-COGI), a member group of the GCIG. He is the past Chair of the GCIG Education Committee, Co-Chair of the GCIG Communication Committte, and a past member of the Steering Committee for the Cervical Cancer Research Network (CCRN), a group that develops programs for the treatment and clinical research on cervical cancer in limited resourced countries. He is the past Chair of the GCIG Gynecologic Cancer Research and Education Task (GREAT) Force that coordinates and harmonizes research and educational activities between GCIG, CCRN, ASCO, FIGO, IGCS, SGO, NCI, and other organizations.
Dr. Berek is the Founder and Executive Director of the Stanford Center for Health Communication in the Stanford Center for Health Education, the Stanford University School of Medicine. The center promotes educational and research programs in effective medical communication and health media that affects outcomes and public policy.
In addition to his medical career, Dr. Berek is a documentary filmmaker—creating and directing films on a variety of medical topics that are highlighted by patient stories and other health issues. As the Director of MedArts Films, he is currently producing a series of films for the Stanford Office of Medical Development, Under One Umbrella, YouTube and 2U-GetSmarter. A current project is directing and producing a documentary film about crisis-intervention task forces used to intervene in mental health situations in several US cities.
Professor Berek is Past President of the Council of University Chairs in Obstetrics & Gynecology. He is a Fellow in American Society of Clinical Oncologists (FASCO), American College of Surgeons (FACS), Society of Pelvic Surgeons (SPS), and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (FACOG).
In 2003, Profesor Berek received the very prestigious Sherman Mellinkoff Award from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA—the highest honor that a medical school faculty member can be awarded at UCLA. In 2012, he was presented the John C. Fremont Pathfinder Award, given in recognition of significant contributions to society made by a native Nebraskan. Professor Berek is the 2019 Honoree of the American Cancer Society for a lifetime of achievement and his many accomplishments in women’s cancer treatment and research.
Chiara Benedetto MD PhD FCNGOF, FEBCOG, FRCOG, FACOG is Professor of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, President of the University School of Midwifery and Obstetric Sciences and Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 1, Sant’Anna University Hospital, The City of Health and Science of Torino, Italy.
She is currently Council Member of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) and the European Board and College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (EBCOG). She is Vice Chair of the FIGO Well Woman Health Care Committee and Member of the Care4everyBody Supervisory European Board.
She was President of the EBCOG, Chair of the Surgical Group of the Union Europèen des Médecins Spécialistes, the FIGO Women’s Health and Human Rights Committee and the Subcommittee on Refugees of the FIGO Committee for Human Rights, Refugees and Violence against Women.
During her tenure as President of EBCOG, she worked on and launched at the European Parliament, the two documents “Standards of Care for Women’s Health in Europe” aimed at promoting and improving the quality of ObGyn care across Europe. She also begun the EBCOG Simulation Consortium of Hospitals and Institutions, aimed at validating simulators in training programmes and at promoting and assisting in the broad implementation of simulation-based training in the field of ObGyn.
As chair of the FIGO Women’s Health and Human Rights Committee and the Subcommittee on Refugees, she promoted worldwide Workshops, aimed at stimulating professionals towards a thinking approach where women’s health and human rights are wholly integrated as well as International Communication Campaigns, sharing health information to enhance women’s empowerment. She also organised Focus Groups with migrants to get feedback on their needs so as to tailor Educational Meetings for them.
She has published more than 800 scientific papers, 3 ObGyn textbooks, 4 monographs, and about 100 ObGyn book chapters.
Her dedication to Women’s Health has led her to set-up a non-profit organization, to improve women’s safety and wellbeing in places of care and cure, named Fondazione Medicina a Misura di Donna (Medicine Tailored to the Woman Foundation), which she presides.
Dr Mekdes is an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and a public health specialist at St Paul’s hospital millennium medical college, Ethiopia. She is currently the managing director at Center for International Reproductive Health and Training (CIRHT), Africa. She was a medical officer at WHO Geneva, Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research where she worked on her post-doctoral fellowship on Family planning.
Dr Mekdes has served at several senior managerial positions, including being the immediate past President of the Ethiopian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and former Head of School of Medicine and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Hawassa University. She gives high value to volunteerism and mentorship and is currently the chair for the Civil Society Advisory Group for UN Women Ethiopia, a member of the WHO/AFRO’s RMNCAH technical advisory group and editorial board member of the Ethiopian Journal of Reproductive Health. She is an alumni of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) National Leadership Institute and she is known for her leadership and advocacy work on reproductive health, gender equality and prevention of unsafe abortion and gender-based violence.
She has received the 2021 FIG Women’s Award for her outstanding contribution to ideas of FIGO and promotion and support of women’s health worldwide.
Professor Jacky Nizard is a surgeon who specialises in the female genitalia. As a gynecologist, he treats pathologies of the vagina, uterus, vulva, ovaries, fallopian tubes and breasts. As an obstetrician, he can take charge of pregnancy and its follow-up until delivery. He is also authorised to practice childbirth, whatever the way (natural or by cesarean section). Professor NIZARD is a teacher and researcher at the Pierre and Marie Curie Faculty of Medicine (Paris 6 University). He is the elected president of the European College of Obstetrics Gynecology (EBCOG) and a member of the National College of French Obstetrician Gynecologists. He is the author of more than a hundred articles referenced in the scientific literature related to his research and care activities. He is an expert in obstetrics and more specifically in complicated pregnancies, especially when it involves a maternal pathology.
Dr Kihara is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Nairobi, where she has worked for the past 15 years. She is currently the Division Chair of the UON- KNH Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Since 2021, Dr Kihara has been the President of the African Federation of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. She is also a past President of the Kenya Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society (2013 – 2017), providing assistance on the Beyond Zero Campaign since 2013. Additionally, she was a member of the FIGO Pregnancy and Non-Communicable Diseases Committee 2017 – 2021.
She is involved in Women’s Health advocacy nationally, regionally and internationally. She provides technical assistance in contributing to bills, policy, strategic direction and guidelines in sexual and reproductive health and rights. She is passionately engaged in adolescent health and advocates for primary actors to use various ministry lines and community empowerment to meet their objectives.
Dr Kihara holds a Fellowship from the East Central Southern African College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (2019) and a Masters in Obstetrics and Gynaecology from the University of Nairobi (1999).