The Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP) in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern McGaw Medical Center is being established in 2013 as a training program to offer exceptionally talented individuals the opportunity to undertake an academic physician training program tailored to their specific research interests. This program is proposed to be a six-year program funded by the department. For students who have a clearly-defined interest in academic medicine, the PSTP enriches the Northwestern resident with additional years of basic or clinical science training. Over a period of six years, these individuals acquire not only the clinical skills associated with a rigorous obstetrics and gynecology training program but the knowledge, skills, and experiences to begin careers in some of the most exciting areas of academic obstetrics and gynecology.
Our primary directive is to create future academic physicians by providing the highest quality medical training. This program offers a range of special services and opportunities to facilitate the training. In addition to efficiency, the close integration of clinical and basic science training better reflects the future careers of academic physicians. By paralleling other specialty training programs, interested residents have the capability of confidently entering a career in academic medicine or subspecialty fellowship training.
The spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration that pervades Northwestern creates a dynamic and ideal environment for promising residents to continue their careers that integrate clinical and basic sciences. The program intends to matriculate a trainee who conducts their research in a variety of emerging fields in premier facilities. Interdisciplinary endeavors within Northwestern have given rise to world-class facilities where PSTP trainees can pursue their research interests.
Summer Research Prior to Matriculation
Incoming students are encouraged to interview with potential mentors during the summer before residency matriculation to identify the specific research setting of their choice. This affords many benefits, including meeting advisers and department members and establishing a home base prior to the start of residency. Every effort is made to ensure a meaningful experience—the program will provide information on the many available labs, organize meetings with potential advisers, and help direct potential housing arrangements.
This program is designed for individuals who are entering obstetrics and gynecology residency with either a combined MD/PhD degree or an MD degree with an extensive research experience. Successful applicants will exhibit commitment to a career in academic medicine as a physician-scientist.
Students will be required to participate in the match process and must apply through ERAS and separately interviewed in the winter. There are no guarantees offered either in writing or verbally that the potential PSTP candidate will be ranked to match.
First through Fourth Years
The first 48 months are dedicated primarily to clinical training however elective time is set aside to permit the PSTP scholar to participate in research activities. This permits the Scholar to remain conversant with research in her/his chosen area, and develop momentum for research prior to the 5th and 6th years of the program. The PSTP resident will meet regularly with the research mentor(s) to discuss and plan studies. Some research activities are expected during the first four years with potential presentations at national meetings.
Depending on the needs and interests of trainees, additional didactic training may be available during years the first four years of the program. Trainees may be able to audit courses offered by the Integrated Graduate Program in the Life Sciences programs at the Feinberg School of Medicine. All trainees will participate in the Ethics in Biomedical Research Course required by the National Institutes of Health.
Research Years One and Two
PSTP residents will be expected to take their ABOG written board examination immediately following their four years of clinical training. During the subsequent research years, PSTP physicians are expected to implement and complete their basic science and/or clinical research projects. They are allowed to work with scientists within or outside the department. During these years, PSTP physicians will be expected to participate in ambulatory and inpatient settings as a junior attending for 20-25 percent of their time. Participants will attend grand rounds as well as the following conferences: multidisciplinary morbidity and mortality, and conferences in their area of focus. Many citywide, regional, and national meetings allow additional educational opportunities. PSTP physician trainees are encouraged to take their ABOG oral examinations during their research years to obtain board certification.
PSTP Example Curriculum
Given the breadth of possibilities available in the PSTP, it is impossible to define a single path to careers in academic medicine. Nevertheless, the following timeline is an example of the efficiency gained by a well-integrated program.
PSTP Financial Support
Trainees in the PSTP are guaranteed support for their clinical training and two years of research training. During the research years, the research mentor will encourage the trainee to seek outside support to help facilitate their transition to independence. Salaries are stipulated by the Office of Graduate Medical Education. The following additional support will apply.
Research Year -1
Research Year -2
Focused Research Activities
Career Adviser meetings
Career Development Courses
Preliminary Research Activities
25% Clinical Responsibilities as Junior Faculty
Financial support for national meetings, journals, research ($4,000/year)
Financial support for national meetings, journals, research ($5,000/year),
Magdy Milad, MD, MS
Albert B. Gerbie Professor
Vice Chair, Education
Chief, Gynecology and Gynecologic Surgery
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.