William Grobman, MD, Elected to National Academy of Medicine
November 20, 2020 | 3 min. to read
Northwestern Medical Group Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist William Grobman, MD, vice chair for clinical operations and the Arthur Hale Curtis, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM).
NAM, one of three academies that make up the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, aims to improve health for all by advancing science, accelerating health equity, and providing trusted and authoritative advice.
“I am very excited to be involved in an organization that can help frame and develop, on a national and international level, evidence and policy that improves human health,” says Dr. Grobman, who is also a professor of Preventive Medicine.
Dr. Grobman’s scientific and clinical work focuses on prediction and prevention of adverse obstetric health outcomes, such as preterm birth and preeclampsia. This research includes evaluations of chronic stress and other social determinants of health. He also has focused on determining approaches to labor and delivery that can help safely reduce the chance of cesarean delivery.
In 2018, Dr. Grobman presented findings from a nationwide trial that investigated whether inducing labor at full term for those having their first delivery increased the chances of cesarean delivery. For decades, clinicians and scientists believed that elective inductions doubled the risk of a cesarean delivery, but those beliefs were based on studies that had been interpreted incorrectly, Dr. Grobman says.
His trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), showed that inducing labor at 39 weeks actually reduced the rate of cesarean deliveries and a variety of complications. The study was highlighted as one of the dozen most impactful and practice-changing papers published by NEJM over the past two decades, in a list compiled by Jeffrey Drazen, MD, editor-in-chief of NEJM.
“There’s a lot of controversy around the consequences of inducing labor. People were convinced that it increased the risk of cesarean delivery, but the reality was actually unknown,” Dr. Grobman says. “This study provided evidence that inducing labor at 39 weeks actually reduces cesarean delivery.”
The following year, Dr. Grobman and colleagues published a trial in JAMA about a decision-support tool that helped pregnant people decide whether they preferred to undergo trial-of-labor or a repeat cesarean delivery after having a previous cesarean. These recent studies provide new insights for cesarean delivery decisions, according to Serdar Bulun, MD, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and John J. Sciarra Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
“Dr. Grobman is a world-class innovator,” says Dr. Bulun, who is also a member of Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. “His paradigm-shifting research program and publications will continue to influence how we practice obstetrics in the foreseeable future.” Dr. Grobman is the third member from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology to be elected to the NAM in the past five years, a testament to the fertile scientific and clinical ground at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Dr. Bulun notes. “Feinberg provides a very collaborative and nurturing environment that supports all of our faculty, including the physician-scientists,” Dr. Bulun says. “This is the key ingredient for the increasingly powerful impact of our faculty’s research work on medicine.”