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Certificate Programs

The Obstetrics & Gynecology Residency Program at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University offers its residents a broad educational experience. Recognizing, however, that some trainees have specific passions and career paths in mind, we have developed four unique Areas of Focus, which offer special events and focused mentoring in particular pathways.  

Our current offerings are Global Health, Medical Education, Health Equity & Advocacy and Bioethics. See below for more a complete description of each pathway.

Opportunities for all Certificate Programs include journal clubs, career development talks, special elective experiences and mentored research projects. Interested residents may participate in sessions from any number of the areas; those who wish to commit firmly to a particular Area of Focus will do so usually midway through the PGY-1 or PGY-2 year. At the end of training, participants will receive a certificate designating the completion of this pathway.


The McGaw Bioethics Scholars Program is a two-year program for residents and fellows and is co-sponsored by the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities and McGaw Medical Center. It provides advanced training in the theory of bioethics and its application to clinical medicine.

Eligible trainees must complete the following curricular components:

  • Attend 10 core didactics/workshops
  • Attend 12 specialty didactics/workshops
  • Complete asynchronous learning
  • Participate in practical experience and simulation skills practicum
  • Develop an education portfolio
  • Complete a scholarly project

These curricular components have been created to promote the ACGME health competencies across all six subcompetencies:

  • Patient care
  • Medical knowledge
  • Practice-based learning and improvement
  • System-based practice, professionalism
  • Interpersonal skills and communications
  • Professionalism

The program components are based on a needs assessment performed by the program leadership and are subject to change based on feedback from participants and mentors.

Program objectives are to:

  • Understand the moral, philosophical and historical basis of bioethics
  • Understand the basic principles of bioethics
  • Identify ethical features of a clinical encounter and develop critical skills necessary to evaluate ethical claims
  • Address ethical challenges and conflicts through defending a particular position on an ethical issue
  • Develop awareness of ethical issues that may occur across subspecialties
  • Complete a scholarly product that allows the learner to increase their understanding of the ethical challenges in their own subspecialty

 Health Equity & Advocacy

The McGaw Health Equity and Advocacy Clinical Scholars Program is a two-year certificate program that is open to all McGaw residents and fellows that provides them with the knowledge and skills to identify and address health inequities among their patients and communities.

Eligible trainees must complete the following curricular components:

  • 10 monthly core lecture series (second Wednesday of the month from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.)
  • 10 specialty lectures (including IPHAM lectures)
  • Bi-monthly journal club
  • Quarterly health equity and advocacy skill-building workshops
  • Asynchronous learning (book chapters, webinars, podcasts)
  • Reflections
  • Experiential opportunities (in Clinical, Research or Policy & Advocacy tracks)
  • Culminates in a scholarly project

Program objectives are to:

  • Improve trainees’ knowledge of social determinants of health and health equity
  • Develop skills to communicate and engage with patients, community and political leaders, health system leaders and with the public on issues of health equity and advocacy
  • Develop leaders in health equity in the clinical, research and advocacy domains
  • Inspire trainees to engage in lifelong advocacy for their patients and communities regardless of specialty or geographic location

 Global Health

Our program offers residents and fellows a competency-based global health certificate program to provide them with training in clinical care delivery in resource-limited settings worldwide. The McGaw Global Health Clinical Scholars Program is a two-year certificate program.

Eligible trainees must complete the following curricular components:

  • Attend five of six specialty lectures
  • Attend 10 of 12 core lectures
  • Participation in simulation training
  • Development of cross-residency skills exchange
  • Participation in a professional development and journal club
  • Complete web-based training modules (part of the required lectures)
  • Global health field experience: Trainees and mentors are to follow the requirements outlined in the mentor-mentee contract
  • Production and presentation of a scholarly project: Trainees and mentors are to follow the requirements outlined in the mentor-mentee contract

These curricular components have been created to meet the following global health competencies:

  • Describe the global burden of disease and demonstrate understanding of epidemiologic tools and methods
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of the relationship between health and human rights
  • Explain the role of community-engagement strategies in capacity strengthening
  • Demonstrate high standards of ethical conduct and quality in global healthcare
  • Understand the health implications of travel, migration and trade
  • Provide culturally sensitive care and support to patients
  • Develop global health-focused scholarly work
  • Recognize the major determinants of health

The program components and competencies are based on recommendations by global health educators that fulfill ACGME competencies.

The program objectives are to:

  • Provide an education in core concepts in global health for trainees and fellows across specialties
  • Provide high-quality global health training experiences
  • Complete mentored scholarly projects

 Medical Education

The Northwestern University’s McGaw Medical Education Clinical Scholars Program is a two-year certificate program, offering residents and fellows a competency-based medical education certificate program to provide them with training in educational theory and teaching in a variety of settings.

Program participants are expected to:

  • Attend program orientation and Introduction to the Educator Portfolio, a full-day series of presentations and discussions celebrating and examining the future of medical education that is held in September during Medical Education Day
  • Attend or watch 15 TIME (Today’s Innovations in Medical Education) Lectures sponsored by the Feinberg Academy of Medical Educators (offered the third Tuesday of each month from 4 to 5 p.m.; may watch via live webcast or via online stream; if watched remotely, a reflection form must be submitted)
  • Attend five Faculty Development Workshops sponsored by the Feinberg Academy of Medical Educators (offered the third Tuesday of each month from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m.)
  • Listen to 10 KeyLIME (Key Literature in Medical Education) podcasts and submit reflection forms on these (choose from any archived topic, read the reviewed literature and comment on the paper after listening to the podcast)
  • Read How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching (each section will be discussed during the quarterly meetings that must be attended to receive credit for the reading) and two other medical education books to be discussed at quarterly book group discussions
  • Participate in five teaching sessions observed by a mentor, certificate program leadership or other expert in the field as well as a peer (preferably another participant in the certificate program); trainees should have a variety of teaching formats observed — lectures, small groups, leading rounds, precepting students or leading simulations — and include these, awell as their own reflections on the session, in their educator portfolio
  • Build an educator portfolio that includes your teaching philosophy, teaching materials, directly observed teaching feedback, learner evaluations and self-reflection; mentors will review the portfolio and provide feedback on the content
  • Present a scholarly project in a poster or presentation format in June during the provided TIME session for presentations (examples: poster presentations, peer-reviewed publications, curriculum development materials, research and quality improvement initiatives)
  • Meet with a pair Medical Education Mentor, drawn from the Feinberg Academy of Medical Educators, on a quarterly basis; trainees are also required to attend quarterly administrative meetings with program leadership

Program objectives are to:

  • Provide trainees who have an interest in medical education with the opportunity to receive more information in how to achieve this career path and increased opportunities to grow as an educator
  • Provide experiential opportunities in a variety of medical education formats, including clinical teaching, administration, educational research, curriculum design and assessment
  • Promote faculty-mentored scholarly activity in medical education for trainees
  • Provide career mentorship to trainees interested in medical education