Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s ACGME-accredited fellowship program in Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS) is an integrated training program supported by the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Urology. The primary aim of the FPMRS fellowship is to train surgeon scientists to provide excellent clinical and surgical care to women with complex pelvic floor disorders, as well as become independent investigators. The fellowship is a three year training program for gynecology applicants or two year program for urology applicants after successful completion of primary training in Urology or Gynecology. Two years are dedicated to clinical and surgical mastery of urinary incontinence and pelvic floor disorders, and the equivalent of one year is dedicated to clinical and/or translational research. We anticipate that our fellows will go on to advance women’s pelvic floor health as skilled surgeon-scientists and committed mentors and educators, while providing exceptional clinical and surgical care. Our fellowship program balances clinical-surgical care, scholarship, and research, as we believe learning to balance these activities during training is crucial to on-going success as academic leaders.

Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship Application

Applications for our FPMRS Fellowship are accepted through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). We accept one fellow per year. Fellows are accepted from Obstetrics & Gynecology and Urology backgrounds based on qualifications, including satisfactory completion of an ACGME-accredited Obstetrics and Gynecology or Urology residency program. Applications for fellowships beginning July 1, 2018 must be submitted through ERAS by March 1, 2017. Fellowship interviews will be held on Thursday May 4, 2017 and Friday May 5, 2017.

Your ERAS application should include: 

Research

We place a high value on research and scholarship and encourage fellows’ development in this area.  We strongly believe that training skilled surgeon-scientists is essential to ensuring high-quality care for women with pelvic floor disorders and place a high priority on fellow’s research education. The research-training program provides each fellow with the mentorship, opportunities, and time to become successful surgeon-scientists.

Understanding that the demands of clinical/surgical practice after graduation are sometimes perceived as barriers to the timely and successful progression as independent investigators by well trained FPMRS fellows, we believe that fundamental to training surgeon-scientists is teaching fellows how to make research an integral part of their daily professional lives.  We believe that research and research training should be part of all aspects of fellowship training and that integration of research and clinical care is a learned skill. 

The current design of our research curriculum enables fellows to start independent projects during their first months of fellowship.  We encourage fellows to design and complete a retrospective case-series or case-control study in their first three to four months.  In addition to preparing a proposal and submitting it to the IRB, this quickly introduces new fellows to setting up and managing an SPSS database and preparing an abstract for submission.  We support and expect fellows to lead and participate in multiple high-quality research studies that result in national presentations and publication.  Part of the research curriculum includes a step-wise approach to concept development. 

Our team’s primary research focus and expertise are clinical trials and outcomes research including surgical trials, childbirth injury, and patient reported outcomes.  We are fortunate to have an entire department, Medical Social Sciences, dedicated to health measurement, quality of life measures, outcomes science, and statistical tools to support clinical research. Our translational research program focuses on the urinary and vaginal microbiome and estrogen and steroid hormone physiology. 

Fellows will also be provided the opportunity to spend dedicated time in a basic science laboratory or develop translational projects with the help of basic science faculty, should they be interested in this.  In accordance with ABOG requirements, fellows have 12, 1-month blocks devoted to research distributed throughout the 3-years of fellowship. 

Our fellows are encouraged to submit research proposals for internal and external funding opportunities.  NM has several unique internal research funding mechanisms for faculty and trainees.  Our last four fellows all received substantial research support for clinical or translational research studies via these mechanisms.  In addition, our fellows have received grant support from AUGS.

Fellow Research Awards

PFD Research Foundation & ICA IC/PBS Research Grant (AUGS) 2013

Melinda Abernethy MD, MPH
Abernethy MG, Rosenfeld A, White JR, Mueller MG, Lewicky-Gaupp C, Kenton K.  Urinary microbiome and cytokine levels in women with interstitial cystitis. Obstet Gynecol 2017 Feb 6 (Epub ahead of print] PMID: 28178051

Thomas J Benson Award in Neuromodulation (AUGS) 2014

Maggie Mueller MD
Sacral Neuromodulation for Dual Incontinence (SaNDI): Ultrasound and Afferent Nerve Sensation Assessment

Friends of Prentice Research Award

Maggie Mueller MD        2014
Mueller MG, Lewicky-Gaupp C, Collins C, Abernethy MG, Alverdy A, Kenton K.Activity Restriction Recommendations andOutcomes After ReconstructivePelvic Surgery. A Randomized Controlled Trial. Obstet Gynecol 2017, in press.

Alix Leader-Cramer MD  2015
The SLIM study: Sling and Botox Injection for Mixed Incontinence. A Randomized Controlled Trial

Kate Bochenska MD       2016
Postpartum GRANulation Tissue: The GRANT Study

Evergreen Invitational Foundation Award 2015

Bhumy Dave MD
Vaginal Electrical Stimulation for Postpartum Neuromuscular Recovery. A Randomized Controlled Trial

Education

A strength of the FPMRS fellowship program is the integration of Urogynecology, Urology, Colorectal Surgery faculty with physical therapy. In addition to close collaboration in the clinics and operating room, faculty, fellows, residents, medical students, and other pelvic floor healthcare providers meet weekly for academic conferences. A high priority is placed on these scholarly conferences, so faculty and fellows are freed from clinical activities during these times. Collectively, the conferences are designed to ensure all the educational objectives and topics in the ABOG/ABU Guide to Learning and ACGME-FPMRS program requirements are covered. Regular journal clubs with statistics lecture are covered as well.  

Learn more about this fellowship’s educational conferences and meetings.

Overview of Clinical and Surgical Teaching

Our fellowship program is organized to optimally teach fellows the skills they need while balancing in and out patient clinical care, scholarship, and research.  We believe that learning to balance these activities during training is essential to continued success as academic leaders after graduation. 

Throughout the year, fellows rotate with a group of attendings for a one-month block of time to enhance continuity of care.  This provides fellows opportunities to participate in initial patient consultation, evaluation, and treatment (including both medical and surgical); as well as in- and out-patient follow-up. The fellow assigned to a particular service is responsible for working with the attending, residents, and medical students to ensure efficient clinical/office flow, preparing patients for surgery, and overseeing patients’ care in the hospital after surgery.  

All clinical care is provided in Northwestern Medicine's Women’sIntegrated Pelvic Health Program (IPHP) that brings together a multispecialty approach to women’s pelvic floor disorders in one location. It is a transdisciplinary initiative amongst the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Urology, Colon & Rectal Surgery, and Physical Therapy. In the setting of the IPHP, fellows have the opportunity to work with four FPMRS board certified/fellowship trained faculty from Urogynecology, two FPMRS board certified faculty from Urology, and a fellowship trained Colon & Rectal Surgeon to perform diagnostic and operative cystoscopy (intravesical injections, transurethral bulking, stent removal), multichannel urodynamics, fluoro-urodynamics, anorectal manometry, 3-D transanal and pelvic floor ultrasonography in order to care for women with pelvic floor disorders. Fellows benefit from working with experts in related disciplines providing integrated care in a single site.

Clinical and surgical training includes treatment of urinary incontinence, anal incontinence, urinary (bladder and ureteral) and rectal fistulas, pelvic organ prolapse, congenital and Müellerian anomalies, postpartum perineal issues, neurourologic disorders, and colorectal pelvic floor dysfunction involving a complex referral patient population. 

The FPMRS faculty regularly performs pelvic reconstructive surgery using vaginal, laparoscopic, and robotic routes of access, ensuring that the fellows are proficient in all modalities.  We are committed to diverse surgical training for our fellows, who gain experience with retropubic, transobturator, and autologous fascial slings and colposuspensions. Fellows perform endo-urologic procedures (retrograde pyelograms and stent placement) and ureteral reimplantation under the supervision of the FPMRS faculty, who serve as the primary consultation service for lower urinary tract injuries in Northwestern Medicine's Prentice Wonmen's Hospital. Fellows also have the opportunity to participate in complex urinary reconstructive procedures, including continent and incontinent urinary diversions, under the supervision of the Urology faculty.

Surgical care is provided at Prentice Women's Hospital and Lake Forest Hospital. In addition to 10 fully equipped, state-of-the-art operating rooms dedicated to solely to gynecologic surgery, Prentice Women’s Hospital has highest number of deliveries in the Chicagoland area with over 12,000 deliveries a year. This provides a unique opportunity to fellows to participate in care of women with childbirth injuries. Northwestern Memorial Hospital is also equipped with 32 state of the art operating rooms including at least five typically dedicated to urological surgery cases. The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital are part of the Northwestern Medical campus providing extensive exposure to women with genitourinary anomalies and neurogenic bladder.

Northwestern Medicine's FPMRS Fellowship offers two additional distinctive clinical programs for special groups women with pelvic floor conditions.  

Peri-partum Evaluation & Assessment of the Pelvic Floor around Delivery (PEAPOD) Clinic:

Prentice has the highest number of deliveries in the Chicago land area with over 12,000 deliveries per year.  As a result, Dr. Lewicky-Gaupp spearheads a specialized clinical and research program to offer prevention and earlyintervention for women who sustain obstetric pelvic floor injuries.   We demonstrated improved patient satisfaction and outcomes in women who receive care in a specialized center with FPMRS specialists after obstetric anal sphincter injuries, and we have on-going protocols to study prevention programs for pelvic floor disorders around time of childbirth and to improve outcomes in women who sustain pelvic floor injuries at delivery.  This provides a unique opportunity for fellows to participate in the care and research of women with childbirth injuries.

Transitions Urogynecology Clinic for Women with Congenital Anomalies: 

Our close relationship with Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital positioned the FPMRS faculty to work jointly with expert pediatric surgeons to develop a nationally recognized program to care for young women with complex congenital anomalies.  Increasing numbers of women who underwent complex surgery for cloacal and bladder exstrophy are transitioning to adulthood with unique urologic, obstetric, and gynecologic needs.  The FPMRS physicians, under Dr. Mueller’s leadership, work cooperatively with pediatric surgeons from Lurie to provide comprehensive care plans for these women.  By evaluating these young women together, trainees in FPMRS and pediatric surgery will go on to establish similarly, much-needed programs.   The FPMRS and pediatric surgical faculty also work collaboratively to optimize the evaluation and reconstructive surgical care for women with congenital anomalies of the genitourinary tract. 


Kimberly Kenton, MD, MS
Program Director


Margaret Mueller, MD
Assistant Program Directo

Contact Us

Veronica Munoz
Fellowship Coordinator
veronica.munoz@nm.org
Phone: 312-472-3874
Academic questions: 312-472-3874
Clinic/patient questions: 312-694-7337

Housestaff Research Portal

Feinberg has the infrastructure and resources to assist McGaw trainees interested in conducting scientific research. Visit our Housestaff Research Portal to learn more.