Fellowship Overview

Fellowship Overview

The Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship Training Program at University of Utah Health offers its trainees a rich mix of hands-on clinical experience and quality investigative exposure.  Our goals are:

  • To train competent subspecialists to care for and/or provide consultation to women with complicated pregnancies and the physicians who care for them
  • Provide fellows with the tools and background to achieve a successful career in academic medicine
  • Provide the option to pursue advanced degrees (Masters of Science in Clinical Investigation) and other professional development opportunities

Program Description

The fellowship program at the University of Utah was started in 1983 and is designed to give fellows a well-rounded research and clinical experience in maternal-fetal medicine and to position them for success in academic medicine. The fellowship program is integrated, both administratively and clinically, with Intermountain Healthcare, a large vertically integrated healthcare system.

Our primary goal is to provide top-quality MFM training to physicians with academic career goals in research and education. We are a fully acredited three-year fellowship program based in Salt Lake City, Utah. We are a division of X faculty and have openings for two fellows per year. Most fellows obtain a Masters of Science in Clinical Investigation and graduate with multiple abstracts and published papers. Up to 18 months are devoted to research time (12 months required by ABOG) which provides ample time for fellows to develop investigative skills and receive the mentorship necessary to embark on a successful academic career. 

Our fellows participate in all clinical activities and receive training in complicated maternal conditions, genetics, ultrasound, critical care, invasive procedures including intrauterine blood transfusion, complicated deliveries, complex antepartum care, and patient counseling.

Fellows are assigned a primary research mentor and a clinical/career mentor.

Selection Criteria

We seek self-directed learners committed to academic careers who have an enthusiasm for research and the potential for a significant and sustained contribution to MFM through research and/or education.

Our fellows should be prepared to function independently for activities within the scope of a generalist OB/GYN.

Education

A favorable education to service ratio is top priority. Our fellows have protected time for all educational activities. 

We have a highly structured didactic schedule that emphasizes faculty participation and highlights several guest speakers annually. Many of our faculty are international experts on particular topics and are actively involved in fellow education. 

Clinical Exposure

We offer well-rounded clinical and procedural training. Our fellows are trained to perform:

  • amniocentesis,
  • Cerclage (including exam-indicated Shirodkar and MacDonald procedures)
  • Percutaneous umbilical cord sampling / intrauterine transfusion (IUT)
  • Dilation and evacuation (first and second trimester)
  • Cesarean hysterectomy 

Because of our unique patient population, we have a high volume of IUTs and cesarean hysterectomies relative to other centers. We have a successful simulation curriculum, led by Drs. Eller and Richards, that facilitates procedural knowledge and competency. Our fellows also gain experience in breech extraction of the second twin and operative vaginal delivery (vacuum and forceps).

We focus on hands-on ultrasound training and have ultrasound and genetic case conferences moderated by experts. As a referral center for the Intermountain West, our fellows are exposed to a high volume of fetal anomalies and fetal/maternal genetic disorders.  Our fellows are mainly based at two large tertiary-care hospitals, both with large regional NICUs. The University of Utah and Intermountain Medical Center both have busy Labor and Delivery units, active diagnostic centers, and ample opportunities for education.

Our fellows function as independent obstetricians for activities that are within the scope of a general OB/GYN. Our fellows are not ‘PGY-5’ students or super-chief-residents; rather, they enjoy well-deserved autonomy in procedures and patient management that they have already mastered. Fellows have direct supervision for MFM consultations, management, and procedures. 

Critical Care

We address the critical care rotation requirement with a one-month rotation in the Shock-Trauma ICU at Intermountain Medical Center during the first year of fellowship. Our fellows are an active part of the ICU team (acting as residents) and take call with the ICU team. 

Fellows have no MFM obligations during this rotation. Our fellows become familiar with the principles of critical care and are able to apply these skills and knowledge to the obstetric population. Fellows will also be involved in caring for critically ill pregnant/post-partum patients during their obstetric rotations.

Genetics

Our fellows have a one-month genetics rotation during their first year. This rotation includes participation in pediatric genetics clinic and case conference, neonatal genetic consultations and perinatal autopsies, exposure to genetic counseling, and first hand observation of relevant laboratory assays. We have two board-certified OB MFM geneticists on our primary MFM faculty (Drs Rose and Byrne) who are actively involved in fellow education. Our fellows enjoy the chance to experience hands-on laboratory techniques in perinatal diagnostics at a major referral lab.

Cardiology: Fetal and Maternal Congenital Cardiac Disease

During the third year of fellowship, our fellows complete a one-month pediatric cardiology rotation at Primary Children’s Medical Center. 

This rotation provides additional training in sonographic evaluation of the fetal heart and is designed to improve diagnostic skills for fetal congenital cardiac disorders. Fellows also participate in adult clinics to improve knowledge and competence in the obstetric care of women with congenital heart disease.

Continuity Experience

Fellows jointly staff two high-risk clinics at the University of Utah and South Main Public Health Clinic in their first two years. Fellows have their own high-risk continuity clinic at the University of Utah during their third-year.

Customizing Our Curriculum to Meet Fellows’ Needs

We work with our fellows to customize their educational curriculum and meet their unique needs through both internal and external rotations, in the US and abroad. 

If you have a particular area of interest that is not covered in-depth by our current curriculum, talk with us about ways we might be able to tailor your educational experience.

Career Development

We are committed to providing the very best educational experience for our fellows. This includes protected time and financial support for:

  • Completion of advanced research degrees (MSCI, MPH)
  • Educational and career development conferences and workshops
  • Attendance at educational sessions at scientific meetings (SMFM, SGI)
  • Participation in statistics/epidemiology, research administration, grant writing courses and core textbooks
  • Opportunity to take the OB/GYN Oral Board Exam
  • Research

Research Opportunities

The University of Utah is one of the top 50 research institutions in the United States. University of Utah Health of which the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology is a part, promotes research of such quality and quantity as to ensure national recognition as a scientifically excellent institution. 

The U of U Health has consistently been in the top tier of obstetrics and gynecology departments for NIH funding. Grant and contract activity within maternal-fetal medicine over the last decade includes clinical research in: preterm birth, recurrent pregnancy loss, stillbirth, anti-phospholipid syndrome, and venous thromboembolism. The Division is now in its fifth consecutive five-year membership in the NICHD Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network and has also been a prominent participant in numerous other federally funded clinical trial networks and programs. The data and sample from these activites are available for fellowship research projects. The Department also continues to focus its laboratory research on human genetics and immunology, working collaboratively with discovery scientists in these disciplines. Many current maternal-fetal medicine faculty have NIH-funded research. We have a successful track record of obtaining funding for fellows and junior faculty.  The University of Utah is currently one of fifteen sites of the Women’s Reproductive Health Research (WRHR) Career Development Program. 

 

Summer Curriculum

Fellowship begins with a six-week summer research curriculum in epidemiology, data management, bioethics, biostatistics, and genetics. Our curriculum provides the necessary skills to begin your transition into an independent clinical investigator and gives you time to settle into your new home in Salt Lake City. 

These summer credits can be applied to the Master of Science in Clinical Investigation (MSCI) or Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees. 

Unless you already have an advanced research degree, we strongly encourage you to complete the MSCI or MPH by the end of fellowship. Over the last 5 years, 86% of graduating fellows have completed an advanced research degree.

Research Support

Further support of fellow research includes:

  • We sponsor each fellow to attend the 6-day Exxcelence in Clinical Research Course
  • We are a member of the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network and fellows have the opportunity to perform secondary analyses of network studies
  • The Utah Population Database is a unique resource for population based analyses and studies
  • Fellows attend SMFM and/or SRI meetings each year and other meetings as appropriate
  • Opportunity to attend the NICHD Young Investigators Conference on Maternal-Fetal-Neonatal-Reproductive Medicine
  • Intermountain Healthcare is a leader in quality-improvement and maintians numerous databases (to which fellows have access) including fetal heart tracings, maternal variables, and neonatal outcomes
  • Research nurses and administrative support staff to assist with IRB submissions, data collection, etc.
  • Collaboration with other investigators outside MFM and Ob/gyn and across the medical and university community
  • Individualized plans to assist each fellow in achieving their research and career development goals (e.g. one of our current fellows recently completed the Queenan Fellowship for Global Health)

 

 

 

 

 

PROGRAM DIRECTOR T. FLINT PORTER, MD

T. Flint Porter, M.D.
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Contact Us

Education Program Manager

Natalie Moore
Phone: 801-581-5501
Email: natalie.moore@hsc.utah.edu