SOAP Centers of Excellence

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2021 Program Schedule

  • Application Period Begins: August 2021
  • Application Period Ends: October 2021
  • Designees Announced: March 2022

The SOAP Center of Excellence (COE) designation was created to recognize institutions and programs that demonstrate excellence in obstetric anesthesia care and to set a benchmark of expected care to improve standards nationally and internationally. It is an annual program, with new designees announced each spring. Read on to learn more about the COE program, processes, benefits and fees.

Note: Watch for 2020 COE designees to be announced in March 2021.


The criteria were generated by expert consensus and incorporate evidence-based recommendations. They cover all aspects of obstetric anesthesia care and include: personnel and staffing; equipment, protocols, and policies; simulation and team training; obstetric emergency management; cesarean delivery and labor analgesia care; recommendations and guidelines implementation; and quality assurance and patient follow-up systems. 

Application Process

Application is a two-step process, 1) Intent to Apply Form, which includes payment of the application fee, 2) Application (a fillable PDF that is emailed to SOAP headquarters). If necessary to support your institution's application, you may also provide supplemental materials. Applications will be accepted only from those who complete the Intent to Apply Form.

The COE application requires detailed responses with the inclusion of relevant policies and procedures as appropriate. Applicants must provide evidence that they offer all essential criteria and the majority of the important criteria, as described in the application. No on-site visit is required. 


Applications for certification are accepted annually, opening in August and closing in October (specific dates to be announced). Designees are announced in March. The initial certification is valid for four years, after which time a center must reapply to maintain the certification.

Vetting Process

Each application is reviewed and graded by the COE Subcommittee. The subcommittee will consider criteria within the context of the care setting (as defined by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s obstetric care consensus on levels of maternal care; Obstet Gynecol. 2015;125:502–15). 

Applications may be accepted, provisionally accepted, or rejected by a majority vote of the subcommittee. If an application is provisionally accepted, the applicant will be allowed one month to provide clarifications and revisions. If an application is rejected, the institution may reapply the following year (application fee waived). Awards are on a conditional approval basis; inaccurate reporting is grounds for revocation of the COE designation.

Recognition and Benefits

Designees will be highlighted in a SOAP news release and receive a plaque and certificate recognizing the achievement of Center of Excellence status. Additional recognition will be provided during the SOAP Annual Meeting and on the Society's website. Recipients will be entitled to use the COE logo and the tagline "Center of Excellence" in media, communication and correspondence during the period the certification is valid. In addition, select individuals from COE designated centers may be invited to serve on the subcommittee.


The application fee, which covers costs related to reviewing and certifying applications, is $500 USD and is paid by submission of the Intent to Apply Form. If your institution is selected to be a COE, the certification fee of $2,000 USD applies (initial certification). After four years, a recertification fee of $1,000 USD will apply. Fees are not refundable.

Helpful Resources

Overview: Centers of Excellence for Anesthesia Care of Obstetric Patients, an editorial published in Anesthesia & Analgesia, authored by Brendan Carvalho, M.B., B.Ch., FRCA and Jill M. Mhyre, M.D.

Consultation: By request, consultation will be offered to help institutions navigate and attain COE designation. Support may be provided by phone or in-person as available.

Sample applications: Stanford University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and The Johns Hopkins Hospital provided their Center of Excellence applications and handouts to help provide examples and expectations of what is expected to obtain designation as a COE. This resource is accessible only to SOAP members in the Member Center.