The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology is relying on outside PR support after the group said in the face of months of criticism this week that it lifted a ban on its members treating male patients.

abogMargulies Communications Group, the 28-year-old Dallas firm of former TV journalist David Margulies, is guiding PR for ABOG.

The board said Jan. 30 that it revised its definition of an obstetrician and gynecologist, dropping November 2013 language that they treat only women. It also lowered the percentage of practice that must be devoted to OB/GYN from 75% to a majority.

The New York Times noted in November an uproar among doctors ensued last year after the board prohibited its certified members from treating men in most cases. After relaxing its stance somewhat for cancer treatment, the Dallas-based board announced its lifting of the ban this week.

 "This change recognizes that in a few rare instances board certified [OG/GYN doctors] were being called upon to treat men for certain conditions and to participate in research," executive director Dr. Larry Gilstrap said in a statement. "This issue became a distraction from our mission to ensure that women receive high quality and safe health care from certified obstetricians and gynecologists."

The non-profit ABOG offers a professional certification to OB/GYNs that is often required by hospitals and sought by patients.

The Times on Jan. 30 reported that board members refused to be interviewed after the latest decision. Margulies is handling press for the group.