Vulvovaginal Disease Education in Canadian and American Gynecology Residency Programs: A Survey of Program Directors

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Abstract

Objective

The aims of the study were to assess and describe the current vulvovaginal curriculum in gynecology residency training programs in Canada and the United States and to compare this with national training objectives.

Materials and Methods

A 22-question electronic survey was sent to 252 gynecology program directors in Canada and the United States between September 2015 and July 2016 using the platform SurveyMonkey.com. Survey responses were entered into SPSS Version 23, and analysis was performed using descriptive statistics.

Results

Overall, 58 (23%) of 252 programs directors responded. Nearly all of the sites provided formal teaching on pain disorders (54/58, 93%), vulvar dermatoses (54/58, 93%), and vulvovaginal infections (57/58, 98%). Exposure to vulvovaginal clinics varied widely. On average, program directors estimated that residents spend a median of 10 hours (0–200) in vulvar pain clinics, 9 hours (0–200) in dermatology clinics, and 50 hours (0–480) in colposcopy clinics during residency training. Most program directors (53/57, 93%) believed that all general gynecologists should be able to manage vulvar disorders in practice. Reported obstacles to treating vulvar disorders included lack of training (41/58, 71%) and lack of interest (35/58, 60%).

Conclusions

While most residency programs provided formal education on vulvovaginal diseases, clinical exposure is extremely variable between sites. When it is not possible to increase clinical exposure to vulvovaginal disorders, traditional training methods (lectures, textbooks) should be supplemented with online modules and other means of learning to improve resident knowledge of vulvovaginal diseases.

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