Rigor and Opportunity in Tracking Residency Program

Postgraduate training is a top priority for the Ob/Gyn & Women’s Health Institute

In addition to receiving core training in the fundamentals of obstetrics and gynecology, residents at Cleveland Clinic tailor seven blocks of curriculum during the four-year program to meet their individual needs.  “Our program allows people to choose what they would like to focus on in their careers, find ways to get individualized experiences and graduate with a special skill set,” says Vicki Reed, MD, Vice Chair for Education in the Department of Ob/Gyn and Program Director of the residency.

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The residency program, which is the only tracking Ob/Gyn program in the country, and the WHI’s six fellowship programs, help make Cleveland Clinic a sought-after destination for postgraduate education and training.

Residency program is one-of-a-kind

“The overarching goal of all of our training programs is to put forth into the medical community physicians who are really well trained for both specialty (general) or subspecialty practice,” says Dr. Reed. “We have a high surgical volume, compassionate clinicians and a strong research program — all of which foster the development of skilled surgeons and compassionate clinicians.”

Last year, Cleveland Clinic received approximately 700 applications for seven residency spots in its Ob/Gyn program, which was launched in 2012. The tracking program allows residents to gain significant exposure and a deeper understanding of numerous specialties and subspecialties, which are highlighted in the October 2019 issue of the Obstetrics & Gynecology journal supplement.

“Our residents get to operate with nationally recognized subspecialty surgeons and more than 100 physicians in the region doing specialty or general cases,” says Dr. Reed. “That’s a huge opportunity for them to get diverse experience. They also have their continuity clinic at Westown, providing care in a needed community and gaining outpatient experience. When residents complete the program, they move into competitive fellowship programs, specialty practice and academic specialty medicine.

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The residency program is well-regarded by physicians nationwide. In a survey of more than 72,500 physicians conducted by Doximity, an online networking service for medical professionals, Cleveland Clinic’s Ob/Gyn Residency Program ranked No. 11 in the country, No. 3 in the Midwest and No. 1 in Ohio.

New fellowships added to postgraduate offerings

The WHI currently offers six fellowship programs:

  • Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS)
  • Gynecologic Oncology (GYN ONC)
  • Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI)
  • Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery (MIGS)
  • Specialized Women’s Health
  • Transgender Medicine and Surgery

The first fellow in Transgender Medicine and Surgery joined Cleveland Clinic in early October. “It takes years of hard work to build this kind of program,” says Cecile Ferrando, MD, MPH, Director of the Cleveland Clinic Transgender Surgery & Medicine Program and Fellowship Director for Transgender Medicine and Surgery. “Being in a position to be able to apply for this fellowship means that we have reached a level in our program where we have the resources and patient volume to educate someone properly in the care of transgender patients.”

A team of multidisciplinary providers care for approximately 1,700 transgender patients at Cleveland Clinic. During the year-long program designed for surgical providers, the Transgender Medicine and Surgery fellow will gain comprehensive experience in all gender-affirming care, including medical and mental healthcare for both adult and pediatric/adolescent patients.

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In addition to the six fellowships, Cleveland Clinic completed a site review and is awaiting approval for a Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) fellowship. The three-year fellowship would include research work, as well as training in core MFM/ultrasound, labor and delivery, genetics, surgical intensive care, obstetric anesthesia and fetal surgery.

“The addition of the fellowship, as well as the growth of our division, will enhance our maternal-fetal medicine division,” says Uma Perni, MD, a physician in the Department of Subspecialty Care for Women’s Health and Assistant Program Director of the MFM Fellowship. “It is very important, particularly for northeast Ohio, to have well-trained MFM physicians due to high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity, preterm birth, health disparities and infant mortality in our region.” Cleveland Clinic delivers more than 10,000 babies per year at two regional hospitals and a small special delivery unit at main campus.

No matter the educational program, postgraduate training through the WHI is successful in large part to two intangible factors: commitment and camaraderie. “We have a really strong dedication to education, all the way from our Institute Chair Beri Ridgeway, MD, down to every physician who practices here. People are willing to teach and to mentor residents and fellows,” says Dr. Reed. “And there is a lot of camaraderie. We really are a community that keeps wellness at the forefront.”