Ranked Best Hospital for OB/GYN in the Nation: Q&A With Nawal Nour, MD, MPH

Headshot image of Nawal Nour, MD, MPH standing in hallway smiling with arms crossed

The U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals for 2022-23 ranked Brigham and Women’s Hospital #1 for obstetrics and gynecology in the nation. This incredible achievement reflects the level of thoughtful, personalized care delivered at the Brigham’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

In this Q&A, Department Chair Nawal Nour, MD, MPH, celebrates this major accomplishment and praises the team’s continued hard work and dedication to patients at the Brigham, demonstrated in their groundbreaking research efforts and advances in clinical care.

Q: Can you reflect on the 2022-23 U.S. News and World Report ranking for the Brigham’s Obstetrics and Gynecology Program?

Dr. Nour: As a department, we were so honored and thrilled to be ranked number one in obstetrics and gynecology in the nation. This is a testament to our faculty, staff, employees, and the department. It reflects all the hard work we did and have been doing for years.

This ranking encompasses everything in our department, so it is truly recognizing the amazing, broad scope of work being done in many areas of women’s health. Our department has worked many hours, days, and nights through the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have continued to persist and provide the excellent care that our patients need.

Q: What do you think makes the Brigham’s OB/GYN team #1 in the U.S.?

Dr. Nour: We have a dedicated team that is committed to providing excellent and inclusive patient care. They are patient-centric and ensure that they address the patient’s needs, with cutting-edge research and multidisciplinary care. We really do think about diversity, equity, and inclusion when providing general OB/GYN and specialty care for our patients, so we ensure our faculty represent the diversity of the patients who come into the hospital. Our mission is to educate and mentor the next generation of OB/GYNs, and this commitment was rewarded with the #1 ranked OB/GYN Residency Program in the U.S., according to Doximity.

Q: How does the Brigham’s OB/GYN research advance patient care?

Dr. Nour: We have very important and critical clinical research that can be implemented into patient care within a year or two. For example, we’re conducting research on how to improve outcomes for patients with placenta accreta, where the placenta attaches to the uterus. Just within a few years of this research, we’ve gotten to the point where we can preserve the uterus without major surgery and ensure the patient goes home safely with their baby. A lot of the clinical research being done here is translatable and can have a quick effect on patient care.

Q: What is some of the leading research from your team that you’re most excited about?

Dr. Nour: Some of the most interesting innovative research done in our department has been on COVID-19 and pregnancy. A year and a half ago, our department was one of the pioneers in studying if the virus crosses over to the baby, how the virus might affect breastfeeding, and the importance of the vaccine and encouraging pregnant women to be vaccinated. In a way, our department’s research efforts contributed to the way COVID vaccines were administered in pregnancy.

We also have leading gynecology research in many areas. Our team is studying the parasite that causes trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection, and discovered that the pathogenicity of this parasite is actually fueled by a virus. This has transformed the common understanding of parasites and opened the door to a novel treatment program for this infection, in which both parasite and virus are targeted to prevent inflammatory complications in infected individuals.

Q: How has this department inspired you?

Dr. Nour: As a fairly new chair, it’s been humbling to watch how hard people in this department work and how impactful they are—not just with the patients, but with each other. You see the true nature of people during difficult times, and even with some very tough years due to high volume and burnout from COVID-19, our team supported one another and was able to pull through. I think our department is just outstanding and this ranking is truly an honor.

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