Trends in Fellowship Training for Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery

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Abstract

Objective

The aim of this study was to characterize distinguishing features among gynecology, urology, and combined female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery (FPMRS) fellowship programs and practices.

Methods

A 32-item Web-based survey was sent to fellowship directors of FPMRS programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The survey assessed the structure of the fellowship, as well as the degree to which gynecology and urology are integrated into the fellowship training. In addition to descriptive statistics, Fisher exact test and Mann-Whitney U test were used for statistical analysis.

Results

Forty-one program directors (PDs) completed the survey for a 76% response rate. Of the respondents, 78% were gynecologists, and 22% were urologists. Sixty-five percent of the respondents considered their program gynecology based, 7.5% considered their program urology based, 22.5% considered their program fully integrated (urology and gynecology equal sharing), and 5% have separate tracks for urology fellows and gynecology fellows. Sixty-one percent of the programs accept both urology and gynecology fellows in their fellowship programs. Approximately two thirds of the PDs are happy with the fellowship model at their institution, whereas the remaining one third would like greater integration of gynecology and urology in fellowship training. Almost 90% of the respondents felt that there were benefits to an integrated program. The top benefits were reported as more exchange of information, better relationships, more comprehensive training, exposure to different treatment approaches, and improved care for women. For those PDs who desire a more integrated program, the top barriers listed were departmental competition/politics, lack of formally trained urology faculty, and expense.

Conclusions

There are several FPMRS fellowship models. A significant proportion of PDs would like a more integrated fellowship program, and an overwhelming majority note benefits for themselves and their fellows that result from increased contact with a diverse FPMRS faculty.

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