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Combined NICHD/Federal Fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology
Fellowship Program Director: Alan H. Decherney, M.D.
Associate Program Director: William H. Catherino, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Program Director: Belinda Yauger, M.D.
On Site Program Director Shady Grove Fertility: Eric Widra, M.D.
Program Assistant: Marilyn Minor
Qualified candidates must be U.S. citizens who have completed a U.S.-approved four-year residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology (PGY-4) and must be eligible for board certification by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Due to the nature of the training program and rotations, this requirement cannot be waived.
Overview of Program
The Federal Fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology is comprised of faculty from four institutions: the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), and the Shady Grove Fertility Center. The Federal Fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology has the mission to train reproductive endocrinology and infertility fellows who will serve as faculty in military, government, and academic institutions in order to establish and maintain high standards of training for students and residents in obstetrics and gynecology and to provide evidence-based cutting edge treatments to couples with infertility. The program accepts civilian and military graduates of U.S. residencies in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The three-year training program is structured to capitalize on the particular strengths and resources of each participating institution. Specifically, infertility services and operative care is provided by the busy clinical services at Walter Reed Bethesda Hospital, the NIH Clinical Center, and at Shady Grove Fertility Center. Experience in the Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) is provided by rotation in the newly renovated, state-of-the-art Walter Reed Bethesda ART facility and at Shady Grove Fertility Center. Fellows also obtain medical endocrine, pediatric endocrine, and genetic clinical training through rotation on the active inpatient services at the NIH Clinical Center. In addition, outstanding research training is available either though NIH intramural laboratories in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development or at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. The program is intended to achieve synergistic interaction between the four sponsoring institutions, and provide fellows with an experience and resources not available from a single institution. Since its inception in 1978, the Federal Fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology Program trained over sixty five fellows, many who have become prominent leaders in the reproductive sciences.
Structure of the Clinical Training
First Year Fellow Structured clinical training occurs in the first 15 months of the fellowship. Twelve months of the first year are entirely devoted to clinical training. In a typical rotation sequence the fellow begins with an 8 week rotation on the NIH Reproductive Endocrinology Service. This service provides fellows with experience and didactic training in the fundamentals of reproductive endocrinology and the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. In addition, disorders of reproduction are covered, including uncommon diseases of the reproductive tract, such as challenging cases with developmental anomalies of the female reproductive tract. Next, the fellow rotates for 6 weeks on the fully accredited adult and pediatric endocrine service at the NIH Clinical Center. During this six-week experience, the fellow will be primarily responsible (under direct supervision of adult and pediatric endocrine faculty) for the evaluation and treatment of common endocrine disorders such as hyper- and hypothyroidism, premature thelarche, diabetes mellitus, and growth disorders. Furthermore, due to the truly unique environment of the NIH, the fellow will gain invaluable exposure to rare endocrine disorders such as Cushing's syndrome, McCune-Albright syndrome, precocious puberty of many etiologies, acromegaly, pituitary tumors, and varied syndromes of multiple endocrine neoplasias. It is this experience which permits the reproductive endocrine fellow to collaborate with faculty from other disciplines on the most challenging of endocrine cases and deepens the fellow's understanding of evaluation of complex endocrine disorders. This rotation is followed by two week rotation on clinical genetics at the NIH on the fully accredited Genetics Service of the National Human Genome Research Institute. The genetics rotation includes training on the most recent tools for genetic research, as well as fundamental principles of genetics of relevance to Reproductive Endocrinology.
With that solid foundation, fellows then begin rotations alternating between three clinical experiences: 1) the clinical and operative reproductive endocrine service at Walter Reed Bethesda; 2) the ART program at Walter Reed Bethesda; or 3) Shady Grove Fertility Center. While on rotation in the clinical reproductive service at Walter Reed Bethesda the first-year fellow is primarily responsible for the clinical management (with close supervision) of patients typically encountered in a reproductive endocrine/infertility clinic. This is a busy clinical service with approximately 800 new patients and 2400 return visits annually. The fellow is directly involved in all facets of patient care including the evaluation and treatment of reproductive endocrine/infertility disorders. The fellow participates as "primary surgeon" on all operative cases of the service under supervision and guidance of program faculty. In addition, fellows perform transvaginal sonography for detection of early pregnancy, controlled ovarian stimulation, and hysterosaplingography. The fellow is instructed in the current evaluation and treatment of common reproductive endocrine/infertility disorders such as anovulation, hirsutism, pituitary dysfunction, amenorrhea, recurrent abortion, contraception, and pubertal disorders. In addition, on rotation at Walter Reed Bethesda the first year fellow receives extensive operative training in current methods of surgical treatment of infertility including LASER and video-laparoscopy, advanced pelviscopy, robotics, diagnostic and operative hysteroscopy including resectoscope techniques, microsurgical methods including tubal reanastomosis, and medical and surgical management of ectopic pregnancies.
During the first year, the fellow also rotates for 6 weeks on the ART service at Walter Reed, an ART program that performs 400-450 cycles annually. During this rotation the first year fellow is intimately involved in all aspects of assisted reproduction. The ART experience and training encompasses: patient selection which is performed at weekly clinical/preoperative meeting, ovarian monitoring, evaluation of sperm and laboratory values, ovum retrieval, and embryo/gamete transfer techniques, and intrauterine inseminations. During the first year, the fellow is responsible for the management of any cases requiring hospitalization for complications of infertility treatment such as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome or pelvic inflammatory disease. Through close supervision and guidance the first year fellow is expected to become competent in the diagnosis and treatment of most problems relating to the practice of reproductive endocrinology. Also during the first year, the fellow will rotate at Shady Grove Fertility Center, one of the largest ART programs in the U.S. that performs over 4000 cycles annually. Fellows will participate in care of the ART patient and gain exposure to oocyte donation and ART as it is practiced in an Academic Private Practice setting.
Second Year Fellow
Second year fellows will complete the 15 months of clinical training in September of the first year. To provide additional depth to their clinical training, fellows will rotate for 2 weeks on the Male Infertility service while at Walter Reed Bethesda during which time fellows work closely with Dr. Robert Dean who specializes in treatment of the infertile male. Following that experience, fellow rotate for 2 weeks on the ART laboratory rotation at Walter Reed Bethesda under the direction of Dr. Aidita James, on-site ART laboratory director. This laboratory rotation provides the fellow with introduction to the methods used in assisted reproduction and in vitro handling and assessment of gametes and embryos. Finally the fellows will rotate again on the NIH Reproductive Endocrinology teaching service. Upon completion of the core clinical training, the second-year fellow then selects a laboratory within the intramural research program of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development or at USUHS for the conduct of a research thesis. During the remaining nine months of the second year, the fellow will be primarily responsible for the research thesis and the performance of basic or clinical duties related to the thesis.
Fellows are required to take two formal graduate level courses during their training which have been arranged through the fully accredited sponsoring medical school at USUHS. These courses are administered to graduate and medical students of the university and will be taken for a letter grade with an exam on which the fellows are expected to perform well. The required statistical course is Statistics (PY0801). As a second course, fellows may choose to take Advanced Mammalian Reproduction (PYO512) or Recent Progress in Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology (PHO508). Other choices for a second graduate level course are available, but will require prior approval. Due to the heavy clinical demands of the first year, it is expected that the fellow will take the courses in the second or third years of the fellowship.
Third Year Fellow
The third year fellow is primarily responsible for the completion of a research project relating to the chosen thesis. It is expected that the fellow will devote 90% of time to the completion of a thesis project that will be published in a peer-reviewed journal. Rather than simply a prolonged two-year fellowship, the program is structured to allow the fellow to focus research effort (20 months of protected time) on a particular problem in order to achieve a depth of understanding which will serve as a foundation for a future independent research program.
Other than weekend call (see below), the only clinical responsibilities of the third year fellow are a four week participation in the ART program at Walter Reed Bethesda during which time the senior fellow assumes an "acting attending" level of responsibility for the execution of an ART cycle. During the four week ART experience which typically occurs in the latter half of the senior year, the fellow is expected to be familiar with all aspects of patient selection, ovarian stimulation, ovum retrieval and gamete/embryo transfer. The fellow will answer questions and deal with problems/dilemmas faced in the conduct of an ART program. During this experience the faculty will closely observe the fellow, but the emphasis will be on permitting the fellow to make decisions and function at an attending level. This experience represents the final step in a graduated level of responsibility, and will also assure that program graduates are up-to-date with the most recent advances in the changing field of assisted reproduction.
There are many opportunities for instruction, both formal and informal during the fellowship. Structured training includes a series of introductory seminars geared to the first year fellows that takes place from July to September of the first year. These introductory seminars provide a historical perspective and basic understanding of the practice of Reproductive Endocrinology. There is a weekly NIH teaching rounds conference where challenging cases are reviewed and discussed with faculty and fellows. In addition, all faculty and fellows of all years are expected to attend the weekly Pre-operative and Fellows' conference. In addition, fellows attend weekly Branch research conferences sponsored by the Program in Reproductive and Adult Endocrinology (PRAE) at NICHD and present updates on thesis work at the weekly "Research in Progress Conference" at NIH. Core ACGME training objectives are covered in special NIH grand rounds and via courses at NIH or Walter Reed Bethesda. NIH Endocrine Grand Rounds provides additional training in medical, pediatric, and reproductive endocrine conditions. Regular attendance at a monthly Journal club is expected. Finally, fellows regularly attend ART clinical meetings where management of patients pursing ART is discussed and outcomes are reviewed.
In addition to larger groups, mentors of individual laboratories to which the fellow affiliates generally meet on a weekly basis to review research progress. Furthermore, fellows are encouraged to participate in didactic training offered at national meetings, such as the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the Society for Gynecologic Investigation and the Society for the Study of Reproduction. Moreover, fellows are encouraged to attend specialty meetings in their chosen interest areas, such as a Keystone meeting on hormone action.
Call and Duty Hours
Fellows in the first year cover an average of 2-3 in house calls at Walter Reed over the course of the entire first year. There is no in-house call in years two and three. Throughout the fellowship, fellows will average one weekend call per month, which involves ART patient care (sonography and retrievals). This call is not in house and typically completed by the 2PM on the call day. The program rigorously adheres to all ACGME and ABOG duty hour regulations.
Major Clinical and Research Interests of the Faculty
- Alan H. DeCherney, M.D., Reproductive Surgery, Assisted Reproduction and Infertility
- Micah Hill, D.O., Clinical Reproductive Endocrinology
- William H. Catherino, M.D., Ph.D., Uterine Fibroids
- John Csokmay, M.D., Assisted Reproduction
- Eric Widra, M.D., Assisted Reproduction Outcomes
- Robert Stillman, M.D., Outcomes of Infertility treatment
- Maximillian Muenke, M.D., Medical Genetics
- Alicia Armstrong, M.D., Ethnic Disparities in reproduction and fertility preservation
- Lynnette Nieman, M.D., Progesterone Action in Reproduction, Endometrium, Cushing's Syndrome and Disease
- Constantine A. Stratakis, M.D., D.M.Sci., , Physiology and Pathophysiology of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis
- Aidita James, Ph.D., HCLD (ABB), Assisted Reproduction, Zygote and embryo assessment
- Kevin Richter, Ph.D., Statistical analysis of reproductive outcomes
Applications should be submitted using ERAS.
The Reproductive Endocrinology Training Program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Upon completion of the program, fellows may sit for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology examination in Reproductive Endocrinology. Qualified candidates must be a U.S. citizen and have completed an accredited residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology in the United States and be board eligible in this specialty. Selection of candidates is processed through the National Resident Matching Program. Two or three positions are available for each year for a total of nine. Applications are accepted 18 months before the anticipated start date and interviews are typically held approximately 10-12 months before the start date.
Questions regarding the application and status of applications may be addressed to Marilyn Minor.
Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Building 10, Room 8N248B,
10 Center Drive, MSC 1840
Bethesda, MD 20892-1840
Alan H. DeCherney, M.D., Fellowship Director
Program in Reproductive and Adult Endocrinology
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Building 10, Room 8N248B,
10 Center Drive, MSC 1840
Bethesda, MD 20892-1840
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This page last updated on 05/22/2018