Mariya and Rado met in their native Bulgaria, after a career opportunity brought Rado to Massachusetts the two were married. This story follows their fertility story and experience with the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center.
Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship
Explore This Fellowship
The Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS) Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital aims to train FPMRS leaders in an environment that maximizes everyone’s potential and leverages available opportunities within our clinically and academically rich institution, providing a broad and balanced training. This allows our graduates to be:
- Excellent clinicians capable of practicing independently as consultants and subspecialists in a variety of clinical practice models
- Experts in complex pelvic surgeries
We aim to support a collaborative and multidisciplinary environment where fellows participate in level-appropriate experiences and sharpen their teaching and mentoring skills by working with students and residents.
We promote life-long scholarly practices through a year-long basic science training that includes all aspects of designing, executing, analyzing and presenting a hypothesis-driven research project.
We aim to establish life-long evidence-based clinical practices through teaching system-based analysis and quality improvement, critical thinking and research interpretation.
We strive for an environment that promotes diversity, wellness, resiliency and achievement of personal goals through mentoring.
The FPMRS Fellowship is an ACGME-accredited program that started in 2012.
The program structure includes:
- One year of dedicated research
- Two years of clinical experience
One position is offered each year. We accept urology and gynecology resident applicants.
The primary site of the fellowship is Massachusetts General Hospital's main campus in Boston, MA. Mass General is a tertiary care center with approximately 1,000 beds and more than 1,000 physicians. Fellows will evaluate and manage patients in the outpatient setting on the main campus, as well as Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Major surgical cases and same-day surgical cases are performed on the main campus. Same-day surgical cases can also be performed at Newton-Wellesley Hospital.
As a fellow, you will learn how to evaluate, manage and treat patients with primary pelvic organ prolapse and bladder control problems as well as complex pelvic floor disorders, including urethral diverticulum, vesicovaginal or rectovaginal fistula, and pelvic floor myofascial pain.
Fellows are trained to perform the full scope of surgical procedures, including:
- Laparoscopic & robotic sacrocolpopexy
- Vaginal hysterectomy
- Vaginal apical suspension procedures
- Bulking injection procedures
- Sacral neuromodulation
- Peripheral nerve stimulation
- Fistula repair
- Vaginal laser therapy
In addition, we perform concomitant surgical procedures with our colorectal colleagues, such as laparoscopic sacrocolpopexy with rectopexy.
Fellows will also work within our active Center for Pelvic Floors Disorders, which is a multidisciplinary service comprised of FPMRS, colorectal, urology and gastroenterology faculty and physical therapists. We work closely with our colleagues to manage patients who have complex pelvic floor disorders. We meet monthly to discuss the evaluation and management of patients with complex pelvic floor disorders.
During the third year of fellowship, fellows rotate through colorectal, urology and physiatry electives. Fellows can also spend time with pelvic floor physical therapists.
Fellows take home pager call, covering the FPMRS service only. Call is split between the three fellows with a faculty member also assigned to the call. Fellows do not have any in-house call, and do not do any obstetrics.
Mass General complies with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) duty-hour requirements.
Moonlighting is allowed with permission of the program director and must comply with ACGME duty-hour requirements. Moonlighting must not interfere with any fellowship responsibilities.
Research Experience, Courses and Conferences
Fellows spend 12 consecutive months in research during their 2nd year of fellowship. While on this rotation, the fellow’s time is protected for research but he or she may be available for up to 4 hours of clinical duties weekly to maintain surgical skills and continued clinical learning. Fellows are also given research time while on clinical rotations, on average a half day weekly. In accordance with guidelines from ABOG and ACGME, all fellows develop a thesis project, which they defend in their third year of fellowship.
In these dedicated 12 months of research, fellows conduct basic science research with Dr. Caroline Mitchell within the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology. As part of this lab, they contribute to the ongoing understanding of interactions between the human microbiome and reproductive health. They receive personalized mentorship to develop skills in reading and writing basic science literature and pursue their own projects while also being an active part of the lab. In addition to bench research, fellows also have access to a multitude of courses and conferences through Massachusetts General Hospital’s Clinical and Translational Research Institute, which they have ample opportunity to explore during these protected 12 months.
Fellows are supported to present their scholarly work at conferences, including AUGS, IUGA and other appropriate conferences. In addition, each fellow is given a stipend to fund the purchase of textbooks, research software programs, society memberships and travel to meetings upon pre-approval of the Program Director.
Fellows complete an applied biostatistics course through Harvard Catalyst during their research year. They also have opportunity to take courses at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, the Mass General Research Institute/Division of Clinical Research and other entities throughout the Mass General Brigham system.
Harvard Catalyst/The Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center is dedicated to improving human health by enabling collaboration and providing tools, training and technologies to clinical and translational investigators. Harvard Catalyst is a shared enterprise of Harvard University, its 10 schools and its 17 Academic Healthcare Centers (AHC), as well as the Boston College School of Nursing, MIT, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and numerous community partners. Harvard Catalyst offers more than a dozen courses and training programs, ranging from short courses on translational and clinical research to degree-granting multi-year advanced education and training programs.
Mass General Clinical Research Program
The Mass General Clinical Research Program (CRP) provides support for investigators and study teams and education for all involved in clinical research to ensure best clinical research practices. Courses ranging from hour-long seminars to semester-long commitments are available on a wide range of topics such as IRB submission, obtaining informed consent, basic biostatistics, human genetics, clinical trial design, grant writing and research budget management. Most of these courses are free of charge, but for those with fees, the fellowship will provide tuition on a case-by-case basis.
CPIP: Clinical Process Improvement Leadership Program
All fellows are required to complete a quality improvement project prior to graduation. Mass General is a part of Mass General Brigham enterprise that offers training in CPIP: Clinical Process Improvement Leadership Program. Fellows are encouraged to participate in this program that gives them tools to evaluate and improve processes as part of a team over four months.
The Treadwell Library, health sciences library for the Mass General community, is easily accessible through its vast electronic resource center. In addition, fellows have access to Harvard Medical School’s Countway Library, which offers major journals from all medical specialties, as well as specialty-specific journals including the International Urogynecology Journal, Urology, the Journal of Urology, and Neurourology and Urodynamics.
For fellows interested in retrospective reviews, our electronic medical records provide ample opportunity for this type of research, as well as the available staff at the Medical Records offices.
Fellows attend a comprehensive schedule of didactic lectures, including:
- Weekly FPMRS-specific didactics, which include multi-disciplinary faculty presentations and fellow-led chapter reviews
- Grand rounds
- FPMRS city-wide quarterly journal club meetings
- FPMRS region-wide biannual meetings (very complex FPMRS patients are discussed)
- Pelvic Floor Disorder Center conference
Applicants must have satisfactorily completed either an:
- Obstetrics and gynecology or urology residency accredited by the ACGME
- Obstetrics and gynecology or urology program located in Canada and accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) (ACGME FPMRS Requirement III.A.1.)
How to Apply
The program will adhere to the AUGS Fellowship Training Committee’s standardized process for interviews:
- January 31, 2021: Application deadline for consideration of first round of interview offers
- February 15, 2021: Interview offers, waitlist status and declinations delivered electronically by 5:00PM ET
- February 22, 2021: Deadline to accept/decline invitation to interview
- Additional interview offers may then be extended to waitlisted candidates
- April 30 & May 14, 2020: Virtual interviews
- July 2022: Fellowship position begins
Candidates should apply through the ERAS Fellowships online application service. All applications through ERAS Fellowships must include:
- ERAS Common Application Form: professional societies, publications, other relevant information about your education or experience. Any information you put on your curriculum vitae should be included
- Personal statement of professional goals
- Official transcripts: Each graduate school and/or medical school you attended. Please provide certified or notarized English translations of documents if the documents are not written in English. We do not need undergraduate transcripts
- Dean's letter/Medical School Performance Evaluation (MSPE)
- Official test transcripts for all applicable examinations (USMLE, LMCC, COMLEX, NBOME, FMGEMS, FLEX, or NBME)
- Valid ECFMG certificate. Required if you graduated from a medical school outside the United States or Canada
- Three original letters of recommendation from physicians or faculty members who are familiar with your work. One letter must be from your residency program director. You may submit more than three letters of recommendation if you wish
The following items should be sent via email to Amy Ribak (email@example.com) to be added to your ERAS Fellowship Application locally, as they not accepted by ERAS for scanning:
- Copy of completion certificate(s) from each of your prior residency and/or fellowship training programs. Required if you have completed a residency and/or fellowship program previously.
- CREOG annual examination scores. Include score reports from PGY 1-3 if you are still in residency and PGY 1-4 if you have completed residency training
Mentoring partnerships with an experienced faculty offer our fellows the opportunity to learn how to evaluate, manage and treat patients a variety of pelvic issues.
Milena Weinstein, MD
Program Director, Fellowship in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery
Co-chair, Center for Pelvic Floor Disorders
Emily Von Bargen, DO
Associate Program Director, Fellowship in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery
May Wakamatsu, MD
Director, Division of Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery
Vice Chair, Gynecology, OB/GYN
Lori Berkowitz, MD
Vice Chair, Education & Wellbeing, OB/GYN
Caroline Mitchell, MD
Director, Vulvovaginal Disorders Program, OB/GYN, Mass General
Colorectal Surgery Faculty
Liliana Bordeianou, MD, MPH
Chief, Colorectal Surgery Program
Co-Director, Pelvic Floor Disorders Center
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