The relative importance of surgical training and laboratory research in a gynecologic oncology fellowship


Scott M. Eisenkop, MD, Women's Cancer Center, 5525 Etiwanda Avenue, Suite 311, Tarzana, CA 91356. Email:


The objective was to determine trends of surgical skill acquisition during fellowships, and the consensus amongst gynecologic oncologists about the relative importance of surgical training and laboratory research in fellowships. A survey addressing surgical capability at the time of fellowship completion, and relative priorities that should be given to surgical training and laboratory research was mailed to gynecologic oncologists and fellows in the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists directory. Of 820 surveyed, 454 (55.4%) of provided utilizable data, of whom 56 (12.5%) were fellows, and 398 (87.5%) in practice (49.5% university-based and 50.5% community hospital-based). Relative to past graduates, recent ones report and current fellows anticipate a lower probability of being able to independently perform some procedures applicable to cervical and ovarian cancer, as well as others necessary to manage complications at the time of fellowship completion. 69.8% of all respondents think that greater emphasis should be placed on surgical training at the expense of doing less laboratory research. There is wide variation of opinion among respondents concerning the value of and most appropriate length of time that should be dedicated to laboratory research in a fellowship. There is an indication of a trend for more recent fellows to graduate having acquired less surgical skill and a prevalent opinion that surgical training should be more heavily emphasized in fellowships.