Mark Walters, MD
Fellowship Program Director
The Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS) Fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic’s mission is to provide fellows with advanced training in the care of patients with female pelvic floor disorders, and to provide an in-depth experience in clinical and investigative work sufficient to allow pursuit of an academic career and leadership within Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery.
The Cleveland Clinic Center for Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery provides a formal organization for the collaborative relationships between specialists caring for women with urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, defecatory, voiding disorders dysfunction, and related conditions. This broad-based exposure to clinical Urogynecology/Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery is marked by progressive responsibility both in the clinic and hospital. The fellows work with six Board-certified FPMRS specialists with different areas of expertise, colorectal surgeons recognized for their work in anal incontinence and defecatory dysfunction, and with nationally recognized urologists who specialize in female urology and voiding disorders.
Tommaso Falcone, MD, Professor and Chairman,
Cleveland Clinic Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health Institute.
"Our obstetric and gynecology services were ranked number three in the country and number one in Ohio in the 2015-2016 U.S. News & World Report physician survey. Our patients benefit from innovative, leading-edge care arising from extensive research and vast clinical experience. Our collaborative approach, fostered in interdisciplinary care centers, consistently improves clinical outcomes, increases patient satisfaction and stimulates research. Our Centers of Excellence include gynecologic oncology, female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery, reproductive endocrinology and infertility, menstrual and fibroid treatment and maternal-fetal medicine."
Quality counts when referring patients to hospitals and physicians. Designed for a healthcare provider audience, the Outcomes books contain a summary of our surgical and medical trends and approaches, data on patient volume and outcomes, and a review of new technologies and innovations.
The Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS) fellows are marked by the strong clinical and research exposure that they receive during the 3 years within the program. The large volume of patients enables the fellows to develop a broad base of teaching when it comes to medical students and residents that rotate on the benign gynecologic service. During their time within the fellowship, they will be assessed by the program director and other faculty so that their progress allows them to reach their own personal goals during the time here at Cleveland Clinic. The Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery fellowship has become ACGME certified as of 2012 with the enactment of the milestones and case log system which enables the fellows to diagnose and develop their own personal portfolio before they begin their career after the end of their fellowship.
During the time of your Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship your rotation will include:
- 20 months of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery
- 2 months of Female Urology
- 2 months of Colorectal Surgery
- 1 month of Physical Therapy (during FPMRS)
- 12 months of Research (protected)
Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery
The large clinical volume provides a broad-based exposure to clinical Urogynecology/Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery marked by progressive responsibility both in the clinic and hospital. All outpatients are seen in the outpatient clinic located on the same campus as the Main hospital, Hillcrest Hospital, or Fairview Hospital. It is during these times that initial examinations and urodynamic assessments, including management decisions and plans for surgery, are reviewed and implemented.
Main Campus Rotation:
There are 3 FPMRS rotations that fellows participate in during their 3 years of fellowship. The rotations are primarily divided by location (Main Campus, East and West). During each they work directly with 2 or more of our Board-certified FPMRS specialists.
- Main Campus: During this rotation you will have a 4 week dedicated block in the inpatient and outpatient urogynecology and female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery service at the main campus of the Cleveland Clinic. The clinical sites primarily include Outpatient clinics on A81, inpatient GYN unit, and associated surgical recovery floors, operating rooms, and consult coverage for emergency and hospitalized patients. During this rotation also the fellow will be able to spend 20% of their time pursuing scholarly activities.
- East FPMRS (Hillcrest Hospital and Main Campus): During this rotation the fellow will have a 4 week dedicated block providing inpatient and outpatient Urogynecology and female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery experience at the Hillcrest Hospital and at the Main Campus of the Cleveland Clinic. Fellows will spend 2 days per week on the inpatient and outpatient Urogynecology service at Hillcrest Hospital and the remainder at the Main Campus including outpatient clinics, inpatient GYN unit, and associated surgical recovery floors, operating rooms. Fellows will also receive 30% of their time while on this rotation pursuing scholarly activities.
- West FPMRS (Fairview Hospital and Main Campus): During this rotation the fellow will have a 4 week dedicated block providing inpatient and outpatient urogynecology and female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery experience at the Fairview Hospital and the main campus of the Cleveland Clinic. The fellow will also perform a multi-channel urodynamics in Main Campus outpatient clinics. Fellows will also get the opportunity to spend 20% of their time on this rotation pursuing scholarly activity.
This is a dedicated 4 week block on the inpatient and outpatient Female Urology service at main campus. Fellows will be integrated with the Urology team where the clinical sites primarily include outpatient clinics and ambulatory procedure suites in the Glickman Urologic Institute.
This is a dedicated 4 week block providing experience in outpatient and inpatient colorectal surgery. While on this rotation the fellow will spend time in the anal physiology laboratory observing and performing anal manometry, electrophysiology, and endoanal ultrasound. They will also get a chance to spend time in the outpatient colorectal clinic and inpatient/ambulatory colorectal surgical service.
While on the Main Campus rotation the fellow will get exposure while observing and experiencing pelvic floor physical therapy and behavioral therapies for pelvic floor disorders.
This is a 4 week block dedicated to the fundamentals of designing and administering research. This concentrated period of time should be used to develop projects, collect data, analyze results, and write presentations and manuscripts.
Conferences, Seminars and Lectures, Including Topics and Presenters
The FPMRS fellows participate in various regular educational conferences and seminars including three mandatory weekly conferences:
Pelvic Floor Center Conference (Tuesdays, 5pm) - The Pelvic Floor Center Conferences are attended by Urogynecology, Female Urology, Colo-rectal Surgery faculty and fellows along with interested members of the Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Quantitative Health Sciences and Physical Therapy. These conferences include monthly lectures, journal club, case conferences, and research meetings. Fellows are asked to perform lectures or moderate journal clubs several times each year. Topics includes anatomy; basic and advanced urodynamic testing; pathophysiology and surgical management of stress urinary incontinence; pathophysiology, physical assessment and surgical management of pelvic organ prolapse; detrusor overactivity; repair of surgical injuries to the lower urinary tract; voiding disorders; suburethral diverticula/fistula; and other topics.
Fellow Seminar (Tuesdays, 4pm) - the fellows participate in a weekly fellow seminar dedicated to urogynecology topic reviews, case conferences, and monthly research seminars, which include discussion of research design, statistics, grantsmanship, and research management. A 6-topic seminar on surgical education is also incorporated into this weekly conference.
Ob/Gyn Grand Rounds (Wednesdays, 7am) - The FPMRS fellows participate in weekly departmental Grand Rounds. Included in these conferences are monthly GYN Quality Assurance and Improvement meetings. The fellows actively participate in these conferences and present all pertinent patient materials. The fellows serve as the Grand Rounds Presenter at least twice during their three years (2nd and 3rd year).
The fellows may participate in and share teaching responsibilities in the medical student core lecture program and the weekly Resident Education Conferences during which a core-curriculum of material is presented on an annual basis. Additional conferences include those in the Minimally-Invasive Surgery Center and selected conferences in the Departments of Urology and Colorectal Surgery, as time permits. These programs are offered throughout the academic year.
The fellows actively participate in the Annual Cleveland Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Research Day and in appropriate departmental postgraduate courses. The fellows submit their current research for presentation in the form of poster presentations or oral presentations at these meetings.
Fellows attend a minimum of one meeting per year (more for research presentations) and have the opportunity to attend the Annual Meetings of the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons, the American Urogynecology Society, ACOG, AAGL, or other national or international meetings, as appropriate. Active participation, including presentation, is encouraged at all meetings to promote the fellow’s experience and expertise in scientific meeting participation
Fellows are to take two graduate level courses as part of the fellowship. These courses, including Biostatistics and Epidemiology, are taught by faculty of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine or at CWRU and are typically taken in the first and second year of fellowship.
Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery Staff
Class of 2020
Lisa Caronia Hickman, MD
Medical School: The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Residency: Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
Class of 2019
Carol Emi Bretschneider, MD
Medical School: University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA
Residency: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Emily RW Davidson, MD
Medical School: University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, IL
Residency: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Class of 2018
Tonya Thomas, MD
Medical School: Northeastern Ohio University College of Medicine
Residency: Loyola University of Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine, Chicago, IL
How to Apply
The Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship offers a rotation of 2-1-1categorical positions . All positions are filled through the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) match. International applicants are invited to apply through the NRMP as well.
How to Apply
The Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Medicine Fellowship participates in the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) for all positions. Our application requirements are the same as the standard ERAS application:
- Complete Application
- Personal Statement
- Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)
- Medical School Transcript
- USMLE Step I USMLE Step 2
- 3rd year CREOG score
- Three Letters of Recommendation (One of which has to be from your residency program director)
International Medical Graduates
Here are some frequently asked question by graduates of international medical school regarding the application process:
- U.S. clinical experience is preferred but not a requirement
- USMLE Step I
- USMLE Step 2
- 3rd year CREOG score
- Please review the ECFMG requirements for additional information
- For more information regarding the types of visas that Cleveland Clinic sponsors
While there is no definite deadline, we strongly encourage that all applications be submitted by the end of February. Interview spots fill very quickly as we close the ERAS system in March for interviews in May.
Offers for interviews will be made via email starting in March. Interviews will be held on Thursday and Friday in May. If invited for an interview, please plan on being here all day. In most cases, interviews will be completed by 4 p.m. Applicants are invited and highly encouraged to attend a social dinner the night before with our current fellows. Detailed information regarding the actual interview day, traveling to Cleveland, hotel accommodations, etc. will be provided to the applicant once the interview is confirmed.
For further questions please contact:
Morgan Cornell, MBA
Department of OB/GYN, A81
9500 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44195