UAB Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
Fellowship Program

The University of Alabama at Birmingham has a 3-year fellowship program directed by G. Wright Bates, M.D. to train subspecialists in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. One fellow per year is selected on a competitive basis from a national group of applicants who have completed a residency program in general Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The goal of the fellowship program is to provide advanced training in endoscopic and microsurgical surgery, in vitro fertilization and other infertility treatments, and in the management of complex problems in reproductive endocrinology. In addition, fellows learn skills in basic science and clinical research so that they can provide new knowledge to the field in the future.

The first year of the fellowship is composed of 7 months of patient care and 5 months of research. During this time, fellows improve their skills in transvaginal ultrasound, learn to perform intrauterine inseminations, and see patients in the office with the 3 Board-Certified Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility attending physicians. Fellows perform hysterosalpingograms for 2 afternoons per week, perform surgery with Drs. Bates, Blackwell, or Sites for 1-½ days per week, and participate in egg retrievals and embryo transfers with Drs. Bates and Sites during the first 2 weeks of each month. In addition, fellows learn skills in andrology, and see male infertility patients with Dr. Peter Kolettis, a urologist at UAB who works with our team.

During the research part of the first year, the fellow rotates through 2 or 3 laboratories chosen by personal interest. Laboratory rotation choices include NIH-funded scientists studying bone metabolism and osteoporosis , gap junctions in oocytes that connect to somatic cells, molecular mechanisms of insulin and growth hormone function, and strategies to reduce cardiovascular risk and the metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women. There is also a departmental hormone assay lab.

By the spring, fellows choose a project and learn specific laboratory skills after discussion with Dr. Bates, the Fellowship Program Director, and with Dr. Richard Parker, Professor of Ob/Gyn in the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology. During any month, 1 fellow is on service and responsible for patient care, allowing the other 2 fellows to have protected research time.

The second year of the fellowship is composed of 4 months of patient care and 8 months of research. Patient care months include time spent in pediatric and medical endocrinology clinics, as well as 2 months of reproductive endocrinology and infertility patient care. Some time is spent in the IVF lab as well. During this year, the fellow spends a great deal of time in the laboratory collecting data for his or her thesis.

The third year of the fellowship is composed of 4 months of clinical time, 6 months of research, and 2 months of elective time. Additional time is spent in the IVF lab, and the fellow has ample time to write the thesis. Fellows have sufficient time to submit their thesis for publication before completing the fellowship program. Dr. Bates meets with fellows on a regular and ongoing basis at all levels of the fellowship program to review progress.

The Division holds several weekly educational conferences. A didactics conference on Mondays at noon allows fellows to review articles pertinent to their educational objectives as outlined in the Guide to Learning. Attendings, fellows, residents and students on service attend these didactics conferences. In addition, residents on the service present reviews of pertinent topics in reproductive endocrinology during this didactics time, and present their research projects for discussion and input.

A clinical meeting at noon on Thursdays allows fellows to present HSG’s for discussion. Surgical cases and interesting reproductive endocrinology cases from the week are discussed during the clinical meeting. On Wednesdays, an IVF meeting is held. The Division also participates in a weekly Departmental Morbidity and Mortality conference on Fridays at noon.

The fellow is also required by ABOG to take 2 graduate level courses , usually one in statistics and one in biology. The statistics course is completed during the spring of the first year, and the biology course during the second year. In addition, UAB requires a mandatory short course for all fellows in the fall of the first year in clinical research methods (Vocabulary of Clinical Research). For those that are particularly interested in this course, UAB was awarded a K30 training grant to allow some individuals to pursue a Master of Science in Public Health in Clinical Research (MSPH), which can be completed during the fellowship program. Fellows who would like to spend more time learning research beyond their fellowship can consider applying for the Women’s Reproductive Health Research Program (WRHR) at UAB.

All ABOG approved fellowships, including the one at UAB, now use a common online application, which is available at: . Applications and all supporting materials, including 3 letters of reference, are due by August 1 of the year before the fellowship begins.