SOAP Centers of Excellence

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2022 Program Schedule

  • Application Period Begins: July 11, 2022
  • Application Period Ends: October 3, 2022
  • Designees Announced: April/May 2023

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.

View the Informational Webinar on the Centers of Excellence Cycle

View Past Center of Excellence Designees





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. Criteria are reviewed annually by the COE committee and updated as appropriate.

Application Process

New Applicant/Repeat Applicant Without Fee Waiver

Application is a two-step process:
1) Intent to Apply Form, which includes payment of the application fee (if you are a repeat applicant with a fee waiver, the payment is not required).
2) Application (online form)
For best results, review form, collect information, and then complete the form. If you need to go back and edit the form, please use the same device and web browser.

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

  • 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. 
  • PDF of sample COE application form for review.
  • Link to application form - due on or before October 3.

Recertification Applicants

  • SOAP will send recertification applicants their original application for reference, upon request.
  • Previous COE designees will have to complete the new application form. For best results, review form, collect information, and complete the form. If you need to go back and edit the form, please use the same device and web browser.
  • You do not need to complete the "Intent to Apply" form, or pay the $500 fee.
  • PDF of sample COE application form available for review.
  • Online form - due on or before October 3.
  • Previous responses can be utilized, as well as any new information noted.

Sample applications are available below. 


  • Applications for certification are accepted annually, opening July 11 and closing October 3.
  • Designees are announced in April/May annually.
  • The initial certification is valid for four years from the award date, 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/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.


  • 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.  

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. 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.