SOAP Centers of ExcellenceCenter of Excellence logo

SOAP recognizes the presence of excellence in obstetric anesthesia care amongst many types of facilities with different delivery volumes.

We welcome applications from a wide range of institutions, low to high-volume centers, community centers, academic centers, and tertiary-referral centers, from the United States and worldwide.

Why Become a SOAP Center of Excellence?

The SOAP Center of Excellence (COE) designation was created in 2018 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. Designees are recognized by SOAP and peer organizations for their high standards of care and receive a plaque to display in a patient-facing area. Learn more about the COE program, processes, benefits, and fees here.

2023 Intent to Apply Form
2023 SOAP Center of Excellence Application
View the Recording of the Informational Webinar
Center of Excellence Designees



The COE criteria were generated by expert consensus and incorporate evidence-based recommendations. They cover all aspects of obstetric anesthesia care: 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. Criteria are reviewed annually by the COE Subcommittee and updated as appropriate.

Application Process

Application is a two-step process:
1) Intent to Apply Form, which includes payment of the $500 intent to apply fee. If you are a repeat applicant with a fee waiver, no payment is required but you must still submit the intent to apply form. Applications will be accepted only from those who complete the Intent to Apply Form
2) Application
The application was reviewed for 2023 cohort. 

  • The application requires detailed responses with the inclusion of the obstetric anesthesia lead’s CV and 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. 
  • To better understand the details required, review the sample COE application form
  • Preferred process: review the sample form, collect information, craft your responses in Word, and then cut and paste your answers directly in the online Application Form. If you need to go back and edit the form, you must use the same device and web browser. If necessary to support your institution's application, you may also upload supplemental materials.
  • If your institution was previously been designated a Center of Excellence, recertification is required every four years. SOAP will provide a copy of the original application for reference, upon request. Previous designees do not need to complete the "Intent to Apply" form or pay the $500 fee but must complete the Application Form.


  • Intent to Apply for the next cycle opens in November
  • Applications opens on August 11, 2023 and closes October 11, 2023
  • Applicants are notified of their status in March/April
  • Designee certification/recertification fees are due by May
  • Designees are honored at the SOAP Annual Meeting May 2-5th 2024 in Denver
  • Recertification is every four years. Institutions needing to recertify will be contacted during their cohort renewal cycle (listed on the COE Designees for each year) to complete an application. Intent to Apply form & fee not necessary for recertification. 

Renewal of COE Designation

  • Recertification is every four years.
  • Institutions needing to recertify will be contacted during their cohort renewal cycle (listed on the COE Designees for each year) to complete an application.
  • Intent to Apply form & fee are not necessary for recertification. 
  • If recertified, the institute will recertification fee of $1,000 USD.

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). 

Tertiary/Referral Center (transfers “in” for specialty maternal care) will receive a COE designation indicating they are a tertiary referral center.

Applications may be accepted, provisionally accepted/reconsidered, or rejected by a majority vote of the subcommittee. 
If an application is provisionally accepted/reconsidered, the applicant will be allowed one month to provide clarifications and revisions. Some rejected applications may be offered application fee waivers if the institution reapplies the following year. This application fee waiver is given to institutions that the COE Subcommittee feels are close to being COE designations and provided a strong application. 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 SOAP 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.

Research related to COE Data:

• Data gathered through the SOAP COE application process is an important source of information that may inform future SOAP initiatives and offerings related to clinical care, education, and research.
• Based on information related to obstetric anesthesia practices, resources, and staffing models, we can envision new SOAP Consensus Statements and additional research that may serve SOAP’s mission “To advance and advocate for the health of pregnant women and their babies through research, education, and best practices in obstetric anesthesia care and equitable care for women and newborns everywhere”.
• We encourage all SOAP members and SOAP COE designees to submit comments and ideas for research related to COE data.
• At the time of designation, recipients will be asked to indicate whether they are interested in contributing to research-related projects.


  • 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 $3,000 USD applies (initial certification).
  • After four years, a recertification fee of $1,000 USD will apply.
  • Institutions who are recertifying do not complete the Intent to Apply Form or pay the $500 fee. 
  • 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: A blank sample application form is available here.  This application is to be used as a reference only and criteria may change.  
  • Three tertiary-referral centers (Stanford University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and The Johns Hopkins Hospital) and two community hospitals (Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women and Newborns and Virginia Mason Medical Center) provided their Center of Excellence applications and handouts to help provide examples and expectations of what is expected to obtain designation as a COE. Please recognize that some criteria may have changed but these are examples of how to describe and document your current processes and procedures. This resource is accessible only to SOAP members in the Member Center.
  • View the recording of the Informational webinar hosted by the SOAP COE Subcommittee will host a webinar on September, 12 2023.