Ie-Ming Shih, right, and a former resident look at a film that shows proteins expressed by ovarian cancer cells.
December 7, 2019
Along with research and patient care, teaching is at the core of Johns Hopkins’ mission — and by objective measures, it’s something at which the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics excels. In this year’s U.S. News & World Report rankings for Best Medical Schools, Johns Hopkins’ Obstetrics and Gynecology Program scored #2 in the nation.
The reason for this high ranking is multifold, says Victoria Handa, director of the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. A key part is the strength of the faculty within the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, she explains. Not only are the faculty highly trained and experienced in their specialty and subspecialties, but many are also nationally and internationally recognized leaders in the field. For example, Andrew Satin, who directs the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins Medicine, serves as president of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Valerie Baker, new director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, is president elect of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology.
“Because of their positions and accomplishments, our leaders are able to guide our trainees with cutting-edge perspectives in the field,” Handa says.
“Because of their positions and accomplishments, our leaders are able to guide our trainees with cutting-edge perspectives in the field.”
— Victoria Handa
Johns Hopkins’ multiple campuses and status as a quaternary referral center also gives trainees broad exposure to manage common and rare diseases, adds Ie-Ming Shih, the Richard W. TeLinde Distinguished Professor in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics and principal investigator of the Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) of Ovarian Cancer, one of the largest grants awarded by NIH. Trainees can rotate at medical centers such as The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and several affiliated community hospitals, including Howard County General Hospital, Sibley Memorial Hospital and Suburban Hospital. Patients also come to Johns Hopkins from across the country and around the world to seek care for rare diseases.
“Our top-notch gynecologic cancer research, including the SPORE and the TeLinde Gynecologic Cancer Research Program,” says Shih, “offers our trainees unique translational experience including clinical trials together with well-structured clinical training. This makes them into stronger physicians and leaders.”
Trainees also benefit from the wealth of research opportunities taking place within the department, says James Segars, director of the Division of Reproductive Science and Women’s Health Research. While basic and clinical research in obstetrics and gynecology are relatively rare at other academic medical centers, both are common at Johns Hopkins. Multiple trainees are gaining experience now at Segars’ own lab, which focuses on endometriosis and uterine fibroids, and those of his colleagues within the department.
Trainees benefit from career-management opportunities provided by the department, Segars adds. Classes are open to both junior faculty and trainees, covering topics such as presentation skills, time management, career planning, and reviewing and writing papers and grants.
Although the programs within the department already attract a large number of qualified applicants — 900 for the nine intern slots available last year — the department isn’t resting on its laurels, Segars says. It’s constantly striving to improve, offering more and varied research and learning opportunities.
“If you look at where our trainees end up after Hopkins, a number of them are division directors, chairs, or deans in their institutions,” Segars says. “Our program is creating the leaders of the future in this field.”