Postgraduate Specialized Women’s Health Education
By: Chad Schlesinger • Posted on August 25, 2019
Postgraduate Women’s Health Education
With the beginning of the new academic year and school starting up for many this fall, I thought it would be interesting to talk about our postgraduate training program for women’s health specialists.
Until I started my job here at the Cleveland Clinic Women’s Health Institute, I was under the impression that doctors went to school for about a million years and that by the time they saw a patient they were completely educated and autonomous.
This turns out not to be completely true.
In my role as a Program Manager in the OB/Gyn and Women’s Health Institute, the task of ensuring that your doctor has all the requisite education and experiences falls on our educational team and educational institute.
The requirements vary widely for different specialties and various disciplines. I hope to elucidate some of this for those outside of our system.
- Physicians begin their matriculation in medical school and whether one is a Doctor of Osteopathy or a Doctor of Medicine, students enter their respective medical schools after completing an undergraduate degree.
- Medical School takes an additional four years to complete and involves both didactic (formal lecturing) as well as more hands-on or clinical instruction.
Part of my job involves finding and arranging these hands-on experiences for medical students with our clinicians here at the Cleveland Clinic. Interestingly, there is a formal experience called an Acting Internship in which a fourth-year med student will be on service, acting as a first-year resident also called an “intern.”
What is a Residency?
Each State has different requirements for those wishing to practice medicine. Most states require the completion of a postgraduate residency. This residency allows the doctor to specialize in the field of their interest and as such each residency is quite different. For example, certain internal medicine or family medicine residencies can be completed within three years, while others such as orthopedic surgery take five years or even seven years for neurosurgery.
Residency education is governed by the American College of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and requirements are stipulated and monitored.
I am involved with our innovative OB/GYN residency, which is a four year course of study involving each of the various disciplines within OB/Gyn. The Cleveland Clinic’s model is a little different from others in that we offer our residents:
- Protected time for didactic learning weekly
- A special “tracking” rotation in which our residents are permitted to schedule experiences which most interest them (hopefully informing their choice of fellowship)
- An extraordinarily large volume of surgical cases to participate in
When a physician is finished with a residency, you might think they are totally ready to start seeing patients by their own and get on with their career. Many do, however others further specialize in a discipline with a post-residency “fellowship.”
What is a Fellowship?
Fellowships can last from one to three years. These are advanced periods of study and practice in which the physician really gets to investigate their specific area in depth. There is often an extensive research component. Here in the Women’s Health Institute, we have a variety of fellowships, including:
- Specialized Women’s Health
- Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
- Minimally Invasive Gynecologic surgery
- Gynecologic Oncology
We are currently applying for a fellowship in Maternal Fetal Medicine.
Specialized Women's Health Fellowship at Cleveland Clinic
The fellowships I personally oversee are the Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship and the Specialized Women’s Health Fellowship (SWH). Our SWH fellowship is one of very few in the United States and one of the most respected. Our two year program prepares graduates of Internal Medicine or Family Medicine residencies to further specialize and treat interdisciplinary women’s health problems in a comprehensive and interdisciplinary way.
You have seen the work of our fellows published in a number of journals as well as in this very forum of Speaking of Women’s Health. Our graduates go on to work in a variety of locations.
Our SWH Fellowship focuses on the following:
- hormone therapy
- premature menopause
- sexual dysfunction
- osteoporosis in women
- breast cancer survivors
- medical treatment of urinary incontinence
Our Specialized Women’s Health graduates go on to help bridge education, treatment and research in the field of women’s health empowering women to Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be in Charge!
- Chad Schlesinger, MBA-HCA
Chad Schlesinger entered healthcare after a 15 year career as a chef. He is an education program manager in the Cleveland Clinic Women’s Health Institute.