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Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility Fellowship


Christos Coutifaris, MD, PhD
Program Director

ccoutifaris@obgyn.upenn.edu
vbaldwin@obgyn.upenn.edu

University of Pennyslvania Health System Department of OB/GYN
Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
c/o Valerie Baldwin,
Executive Administrator
3701 Market Street
Suite 800
Philadelphia, Pa 19104

Phone: (215)662-2971
Fax: (215)349-5512

The three-year fellowship program in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the University of Pennsylvania is designed for candidates who project for themselves a career in academic Obstetrics and Gynecology.

There is a significant research emphasis and at least 18 months are set aside for research free of clinical responsibilities. The remainder of the time is used for training in the clinical discipline of reproductive endocrinology and infertility, along with clinical research and/or continuation of bench research as appropriate.

There are two formal fellowship tracks (see figures below): the physician-scientist track [with at least 18 months of bench research training – 24 months if the fellow is selected to be part of the NIH-funded T32 National Training Program in Reproductive Medicine] and the clinician-investigator track [which includes formal training in clinical epidemiology and biostatistics leading to a Master of Science degree in Clinical Epidemiology (MSCE) – this program is also funded by an NIH T32 training grant in Reproductive Epidemiology].

Fellows interested to obtain the qualifications necessary for eligibility to become IVF laboratory directors can enroll in the physician-scientist track and start their program with 18 months of gamete research, including specific training in the laboratory procedures utilized in a clinical IVF laboratory such as ICSI, microinjection and assisted hatching. This training component should prepare the fellow adequately for participation in the clinical IVF laboratory activities during the second half of the fellowship.

During the clinical training time there is a heavy practice component with emphasis on the surgical aspects of the discipline, assisted reproductive technologies and office diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. Through the Endocrine Sections of the Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics, supplemental clinical experience is available in adult as well as pediatric endocrinology. This is provided as elective rotations, although fellows are encouraged to participate. The use of the General Clinical Research Center of the Hospital complements the investigative aspects of the program. Supplementing the clinical facilities are the clinical research facilities of the Reproductive Research Unit of the Division and the laboratories of the Center for Research in Reproduction and Women’s Health. These are Departmental research facilities located adjacent to the clinical REI Program, at the Hospital and at the Medical School. In addition, fellows have the opportunity to be exposed to the clinical endocrinology laboratories of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, the reproductive genetics program of the Department of Ob/Gyn and the male infertility program in the Department of Urology.

Courses: Graduate courses in Statistics and Human Genetics are required. Fellows in the clinician-investigator track who are part of the Penn MSCE program do not take the basic statistics course, but their curriculum includes multiple other biostatistics and quantitative courses designed to prepare them for an investigative career in reproductive medicine. A typical course curriculum for this track is outlined below:

Courses

EPID 502

 

Fundamentals of Medical Research II: Introduction to Biostatistics

This course is a series of lectures designed to provide an overview of the fundamental concepts of biostatistics.

EPID 510

 

Introductory Epidemiology

This course is a series of lectures and workshops, designed to teach basic principles of epidemiologic research design. The course provides an overview of the types of research questions that can be addressed by epidemiologic methods.

EPID 521

 

Statistical Methods for Epidemiologic Research

This seminar focuses on statistical methods for analyzing case-control, cross-sectional, and cohort studies, and clinical trials.

EPID 532

 

Database Management for Clinical Epidemiology

This course provides students with an introduction to the techniques of database management as they apply to clinical research.

EPID 542

 

Measurement of Health in Epidemiology

This course is a series of lectures and discussion sessions designed to introduce the student to the concepts of health measurement as applied to epidemiologic studies.

EPID 550

 

Clinical Economics and Clinical Deicision Making

This course focuses on the application of decision analysis and economic analysis to clinical and policy research.

EPID 560

 

Issues in Research Protocol Development

This is a seminar that focuses on major issues in research protocol development, including methodological issues regarding different research designs, development of research questions, and plans for analysis. Each student will present his or her research proposal for open discussion during one of the seminar sessions.

EPID 570

 

Critical Appraisal of the Medical Literature

This seminar focuses on techniques for critical appraisal of the medical literature.

EPID 610

 

Tutorial in Epidemiologic Research

This is a tutorial given by each student's advisor. Advisor and student meet regularly, usually weekly, throughout the first year of study. Topics include: discussion and review of epidemiologic concepts and principles, guided readings in the epidemiology of a specific health area, and the development of the research protocol. Credit for this course is awarded upon completion of a research project proposal, the one to be used to fulfill the MSCE thesis requirement, which must be approved by the student's advisor. Evaluation is based on the grade received for the proposal.

EPID 646

 

Reproductive Epidemiology

This is an advanced course that addresses epidemiological research issues as they apply to important clinical topics in obstetrics and gynecology and related clinical disciplines.

EPID 640

 

Advanced Topics in clinical Epidemiology

This course is designed to introduce students to advanced epidemiologic methods through a series of readings and discussions.

EPID 634

 

Clinical Trial Outcomes: Measurements, Analysis, and Interpretation

This course is intended to teach students the skills necessary to select and/or design appropriate outcomes for a clinical trial. Participating Faculty


Conferences and Seminars

Throughout the three years of training, fellows are required to attend didactic, research and clinical conferences, which include the ABOG Learning Objectives didactic conference, the Director’s Rounds and Journal Club, the (WWD)2 – Why We Do What We Do - conference, a divisional research conference, Ob/Gyn Grand Rounds and the Reproductive Biology Seminar Series.

Evaluation of Fellows

Given the small number of fellows and close one to one interaction with faculty, performance feedback on clinical matters and on research occurs continuously. However, fellows are also evaluated formally by the faculty through an institutional computerized evaluation system for housestaff that automatically triggers faculty reviews of each trainee every six months.

In summary, the REI fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania provides both broad and in depth opportunities for training in all the clinical, educational and research aspects of the discipline.  Fellows continue to take advantage of this rich academic environment and, upon graduation, have excelled in either the clinical or research aspects of the field. Some have achieved both.

Participating Faculty

The core of the fellowship program participating faculty and their primary academic interests are listed below.  In addition, their specific roles in the fellowship are described. Collectively, the participating faculty reflect expertise in Reproductive Medicine and Surgery, Clinical Epidemiology, Reproductive Biology, Genetics, Internal Medicine (andrology and endocrinology), Psychiatry, and Urology.


Participating Faculty
Christos Coutifaris, MD, PhD
The Nancy and Richard Wolfson Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Chief, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility

Human embryo implantation, oogenesis and in vitro fertilization; effects of IVF on epigenetic marks in the human

Fellowship: Responsible for the overall administration of the program, oversees the fellows training in ART and is one of the primary teachers for the didactic sessions through a weekly Director's Rounds conference. Mentor for research project(s).

Samantha Butts, MD, MSCE
Assistant Professor of
Obstetrics and Gynecology BIRCWH Scholar

Telomere length and telomerase activity of human egg quality and ovarian aging; effects of as markders oxidative stress on the human egg and embryo

Fellowship: Partiipates in the clinical training of fellows in the office and in the operating room. Coordinates the Friday divisional research converences. Serves as advisor for the fellows in MSCE programs.

Kurt Barnhart, MD, MSCE
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director, Clinical Research Unit, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility

Ectopic pregnancy; contraception; DHEA in gynecology; biochemical predictors of reprodcutive performance

Fellowship: Associate Director of the Division and of the fellowship program. His primary responsibility is in the education of fellows for the conduct of meritorious clinical research. He serves as mentor for fellows' clinical research projects and as an advisor for the MSCE program.

Clarisa Gracia, MD, MSCE
Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
WRHR Scholar

Endocrinology of the perimenopausal transition; mechanism(s) of environmental causes of gonadal toxicity, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy

Fellowship: Participates in the clinical training of fellows in the office and in the operating room. Serves as advisor for the fellows in MSCE program. Fellow project research mentor.

Steven Sondheimer, MD
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of Family Planning

Physiology of exercise and reproduction; physiologic and behavioral influences on reproduction; premenstrual syndrome; endometriosis

Fellowship: Participates in the clinical training of fellows in the office and in the operating room. Mentor for clinical research projects in the Behavior and Reproduction Program. Participates in fellows' didactic conferences.

Associated Faculty

Associated Faculty
Marisa Bartolomei, PhD
Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology

Regulation of expression of imprinted genes

Fellowship: Research mentor

Deborah A. Driscoll, MD
Professor and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Genetics of PCOS; genetics of congenital heart disease

Fellowship: Genetics education of fellows

Ellen Freeman, PhD
Research Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Co-Director, Mudd Center

Social and behavioral aspects of human reproduction; PMS; perimenopause

Fellowship: Research mentor

George Gerton, PhD
Professor of Reproductive
Biology in Obstetrics and Gynecology

Spermatogenesis: biosynthesis, assembly and structure of cell components

Fellowship: Research mentor

Susan Mandel, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine and Director, Medical Endocrinology Fellowship Program

Thyroid and effects on reproductive function

Fellowship: Education of fellows in adult medical endocrinology

Richard Schultz, MD
Professor of Biology

Gene expression during pre-implantation embryo development; effect of ART techniques and culture on mouse embryo development

Fellowship: Research mentor

Peter J. Snyder, MD
Professor, Department of Medicine and Director of Andrology, Division of Endocrinology

Hormonal control of spermatogenesis; gonadotropin secreting pituitary adenomas; androgen replacement

Fellowship: Education of fellows in adult medical endocrinology and andrology (elective)

Charles Stanley, MD
Professor of Pediatrics and Director of Pediatric Endocrinology, Children's
Hospital of Philadelphia
Fellowship: Coordinates education of fellows in pediatric endocrinology (elective)
Keith VanArsdalen, MD
Professor of Urology,
Director of Andrology

Male infertility, surgical treatment of infertile males, impotence, sperm function

Fellowship: Education of fellows in surgical sperm procurement techniques

Donald Young, MD, PhD
Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Director of Endocrine Laboratories
Fellowship: Coordinates education of fellows in techniques of the endocrine laboratory (elective)

Dr. Christos Coutifaris and REI Faculty and Fellows
at the 2014 Annual Dinner

Current Fellows

  • Jessica Chan, MD
  • Laura Cooney, MD
  • Margaret Hopman, MD
  • Kathleen O'Neill, MD
  • Samantha Schon, MD
  • Rachel Weinerman, MD

Number of First Year Position: 2


Application Requirements

Please note that we only accept standardized online applications through the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (SREI).

Application Deadline is July 1st


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