Newswise — HOUSTON  - (Feb. 23, 2018) – The new president of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) is Sean Blackwell, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston (UTHealth).

The organization of maternal-fetal medicine specialists made its announcement at the SMFM annual meeting earlier this month.

Blackwell officially assumed the role Feb. 3 and will oversee guidelines and policies that will be used in the care of pregnant women facing various maternal and fetal conditions across the world. His responsibilities include setting policies in obstetrical care; advocating for clinical practice, education and research in obstetrics; and directing other advocacy efforts and education initiatives. Blackwell previously served on the SMFM Board of Directors and as the chair for the SMFM Publications Committee.

“I am honored to serve this organization, which leads the way in research-based practice, advocacy and meeting the challenges of providing the very best care for high-risk moms and their babies,” said Blackwell, who has served as chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences since 2012.

Blackwell, who see patients at UT Physicians Maternal-Fetal Medicine Center-Texas Medical Center, has a strong clinical background in maternal fetal medicine. He has clinical and scientific expertise in preterm birth, medical complications of pregnancy, the role of obesity in pregnancy outcomes, pregnancy in women with physical disabilities, fetal brain injury and shoulder dystocia.

Blackwell is the director of the Larry C. Gilstrap M.D. Center for Perinatal and Women’s Health Research at UTHealth and is assistant dean for Healthcare Quality in Perinatal Medicine and Women’s Health at McGovern Medical School. He is chief of service for obstetrics and gynecology at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.

He received his undergraduate degree from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind., with an A.B. in biology and the classics and earned his medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Rockford, Ill. He completed his obstetrics and gynecology residency and maternal-fetal medicine fellowship at Wayne State University in Detroit. He joined the faculty at McGovern Medical School in 2007.

Established in 1977, the SMFM is the premiere membership organization for maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialists and represents the interests in nearly 3,000 physicians and MFM practice professionals. The organization provides in-person and online educational opportunities for physicians and MFM practice professionals, interacts with members of Congress and federal agencies to advocate for MFM specialists, and develops a variety of publications.