Fellowship Program

Thomas J. Rutherford, Ph.D., M.D., Fellowship Director

Tibotec Therapeutics and Ortho-Biotech proudly support the Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Program at Yale and the future work of these promising young physician/scientists with the Discovery to Cure program.

The Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Program is designed to educate physicians in the comprehensive management of women with cancer of the reproductive organs. These include cancers of the ovary, fallopian tube, uterus, cervix, vagina, and vulva, as well as gestational trophoblastic disease. The Gynecologic Oncology Division is very active, and sees approximately 80 primary ovarian cancer, 150 primary endometrial cancer and 50 primary invasive cervical cancer referrals per year, along with a large number of referrals for the less common gynecologic cancers, and for those patients with recurrent disease. We search for candidates for this fellowship program who have excelled in their residency training, and have shown academic potential. The fellowship applicants must complete their full residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology, and be board eligible prior to beginning the fellowship. Those seeking formal training in Gynecologic Oncology, in order to graduate, must complete all the requirements of this American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology approved fellowship program, which includes completion of a research thesis.

During this three-year fellowship program, the fellow is introduced to the clinical and scientific methods necessary to increase the current knowledge in this field and thus, improve the outcome of women with gynecologic malignancies. The first year is generally spent in a molecular and cellular biology laboratory within the division, which is dedicated to research in gynecologic oncology. During this year the fellow will participate in projects focused on the biology of ovarian and/or breast cancers. A wide range of molecular techniques will be learned by the fellow, as well as assays, which study tumor behavior both in vitro, and in nude mice. Also, during this research year the fellow will take two graduate courses, one in statistics and another approved course which teaches the principles of clinical or basic science investigation. It is during this educational research year that most fellows perform the research necessary to complete their required thesis.

During the two clinical years, the fellow develops clinical expertise in the management and treatment of patients with gynecologic malignancies. This includes not only radical pelvic and abdominal surgical techniques, including the management of vascular, intestinal and urologic problems associated with gynecologic cancers, but also the development of expertise in selecting and administrating appropriate chemotherapeutic agents for gynecologic malignancies. The fellow develops expertise in decision making, preoperative work-up, and intra and post-operative management of complications. In the ambulatory setting, the fellow learns about management of the many cancer or treatment related issues which affect quality of life of the patients. In addition, during the clinical years, the fellow rotates on radiation oncology, medical oncology and reconstructive surgery.

Throughout, the program fellows actively participate in ongoing clinical research projects and in the weekly multi-disciplinary tumor conference. There are scheduled educational conferences and seminars throughout the year. In addition, fellows attend and present at regional and national meetings, such as Society of Gynecologic Oncology, the American Radium Society and the New England Association of Gynecologic Oncologists.

In addition, the fellows have the advantage of the close collaborations which the Gynecologic Oncology division has fostered with the radiation oncologists, the gynecologic pathologists, medical oncologists, reconstructive surgeons, surgical oncologists, and urologists at Yale. Our division is noted for translational research which we have brought from the laboratory to innovative clinical trials, and a prospective multi-disciplinary approach to the treatment of gynecologic malignancies.