The Fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at Northwestern McGaw Medical Center is a fully accredited three-year program designed to prepare physicians for careers in academic gynecologic oncology. Year one is focused on research, while years two and three are clinical.
The primary site for clinical training is Northwestern Memorial/Prentice Women’s Hospital in downtown Chicago. Prentice Women’s Hospital offers the full spectrum of gynecologic oncology procedures including routine use of laparoscopic and robotic approaches. The second-year gynecologic oncology fellow spends 10 months on the Gynecologic Oncology service, one month in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, two weeks on Colorectal Surgery, and two weeks on the Palliative Care service. The third-year fellow also spends 10 months on the Gynecologic Oncology service, with one month spent in Radiation Oncology and Pathology, two weeks on Uro-Oncology, and two weeks on Palliative Care. Additionally, one fellow operates two days each week with our gynecologic oncology faculty at the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, an integrated safety-net institution on Chicago’s westside. Stroger supplements the fellows’ experience with additional surgical volume, including a greater proportion of open and/or radical procedures for more advanced and/or less common disease presentations, and a different patient population.
The clinical fellows are involved in all aspects of the care of patients with gynecologic malignancies, including outpatient evaluation and follow up, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, as well as post-operative, intensive, and palliative care. The clinical fellows are responsible for the care of all patients on the in-patient gynecologic oncology service and have a supervisory responsibility for the residents rotating on the Gynecologic Oncology service. In the operating room, the fellows are the co-surgeon for all cases, including radical and reconstructive operations, as well as procedures involving the intestine and urinary tract. Our division is also a long-established center for the management of gestational trophoblastic neoplasms. Finally, we are developing a center of multidisciplinary expertise for the treatment of cancer during pregnancy. Our fellows are actively engaged and take leadership roles in many of these programs and developments within our division.
Hunan Cancer Hospital
Our fellowship offers an ABOG-approved international training site with a very high volume of radical procedures for cervical cancer. Fellows may travel with a Northwestern attending to Hunan Cancer Hospital in Changsha, China for two-week, high-volume operative experiences focused on performing radical hysterectomy for cervical cancer. Fellows operate with full professors of Gynecologic Oncology of Hunan Cancer Hospital who each typically perform hundreds of radical hysterectomies (type II or III) annually. Collaborative research opportunities are also available with faculty and scholars from Hunan Cancer Hospital.
Dr. Wilberto Nieves-Neira (far right) and first year fellow Brandon Seagle (second from right) at the Hunan Cancer Hospital in China.
Flexibility in Research
Our fellows’ research experiences are diverse and flexible, ranging from laboratory to informatics to health services to various types of traditional clinical research/trials. Fellows are often involved in multiple projects spanning a variety of interests, methodologies, and settings. All fellows undergo rigorous training to develop their research skills and academic interests. Fellows are mentored to design, obtain support for, and carry out their own studies. Fellows also often direct the research efforts of others. Several research groups within the division and department offer significant investigative opportunities. Additional opportunities are available through the long-standing Northwestern Ovarian Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Program. The division also has a tissue bank of surgical specimens collected for research use. Fellows are encouraged to define and pursue their individual research interests among the opportunities and resources available at the institution and among our collaborators.
Master of Science in Health Services and Outcomes Research
Fellows are offered a fully-funded Master of Science degree program in Health Services and Outcomes Research (HSOR) during the first year by completing a highly successful one-year executive-style degree program offered at Northwestern’s Chicago campus. The focus of HSOR program is to provide structured education and training in qualitative and quantitative methods, including the development of skills in clinical and biomedical informatics. The degree program also offers formal instruction and multidisciplinary mentorship in preparing manuscripts and writing grants. Recent students in the program have been highly successful in gaining competitive extramural research funding and publishing. Fellows who do not participate in the masters program are sent to the Exxcellence in Clinical Research Course.
The research and clinical training for fellows is augmented by a comprehensive didactic program. Fellows organize and conduct the weekly Gynecologic Oncology Tumor Conference and monthly Journal Club, present monthly progress reports on research activities, and attend the core curriculum lecture series. Fellows are encouraged and supported to attend and present at multiple national and international scientific meetings (SGO, AACR, ASCO, etc.). Cadaver labs are part of the routine educational program.
ABOG/ACGME Flexibility in Residency/Fellowship Training
While we typically fill our fellowship position through the match process, we also engage selectively in recruiting outstanding candidates with an early commitment to academic Gynecologic Oncology and demonstrated scholarly productivity by offering a fast-track to fellowship through the ABOG/ACGME Flexibility in Residency/Fellowship Training pathway. This fast-track pathway maintains board eligibility Obstetrics and Gynecology and Gynecologic Oncology. The integrated pathway replaces the fourth year of residency with the first year of fellowship. The ideal fast-track candidate is tremendously promising as a future academic Gynecologic Oncologist and is well ahead of their PGY level in achieving the ACGME milestones for general Ob/Gyn training. Candidates interested in learning more about this opportunity are encouraged to contact the fellowship program director during the PGY-2 year or earlier, and may be invited to rotate at Prentice Women’s Hospital during which the candidate will be expected to perform as a clinical fellow on the Gynecologic Oncology service.
Shohreh Shahabi, MD
Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship
Wilberto Nieves-Neira, MD
Associate Program Director
Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship
Contact our Fellowship Coordinator Kirsten Gunderson for additional information about the Gynecologic Oncology fellowship.