Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Program

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Duke Gynecologic Oncology fellowship
Director: Fidel A. Valea, MD
 
Phone: (919)684-4808
 
Goals
The primary goals of the Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Program at Duke University Medical Center are: to prepare trainees to deliver the best possible clinical care in the areas of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of gynecologic malignancies, and to provide a platform for trainees who aspire to careers in academics and research.
 
The Duke Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship is a three year program and includes one research year
 
 
 
History
The Duke Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship was established in the early 1970s when formal programs were first created by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The Division of Gynecologic Oncology and the fellowship program initially were founded and led by William T. Creasman, M.D., who was well known for having authored a widely read basic textbook. Dr. Creasman also played a pivotal role in the early endometrial cancer surgical staging studies performed by the GOG. In 1979, a year of laboratory research was incorporated into the Duke Gynecologic Oncology fellowship, and the first year research fellow does not have ANY clinical responsibilities. Daniel L. Clarke-Pearson, M.D., became the Director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology and the fellowship in 1986. He is a widely recognized researcher in the area of venous thrombosis. Under Dr. Clarke-Pearson’s leadership the faculty increased from two to five full-time gynecologic oncologists.
 
Most recently, Andrew Berchuck, M.D. was appointed Director of the Duke Division of Gynecologic Oncology and of the fellowship program in 2006. Dr. Berchuck has been a member of the division since finishing training at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 1987. He is a physician-scientist who has a significant involvement in ovarian cancer molecular biology research while also caring for women with gynecologic cancers on a daily basis. Dr Berchuck also is involved in a wide range of national activities, including serving as 2007 President of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists  and as head of the scientific advisory committee of the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.    http://www.ocrf.org and http://www.sgo.org.
 
Dr. Fidel Valea is an Associate Professor in the division and also serves as Director of the Duke residency program in Ob/Gyn.Twenty-two Duke Ob/Gyn residents have gone on to Gynecologic Oncology fellowships in the past 22 years. Dr. Valea assumed the position as director of the Duke Gynecologic Oncology fellowship in 2009 and will continue to nurture Duke residents who aspire to careers in our subspecialty.    
 
Dr. Angeles Alvarez-Secord and Dr. Laura Havrilesky are former Duke residency and fellowship graduates who are now highly productive faculty members and Associate Professors in the division. They are board certified Gynecologic Oncologists who are developing funded research efforts in the areas of clinical trials and angiogenesis (Dr. Alvarez Secord) and ovarian cancer early detection and health care outcomes (Dr. Havrilesky). They serve as Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator at Duke for GOG cooperative group trials.
 
Dr. Paula Lee finished Gynecologic Oncology fellowship training at Duke in 2007 and joined the division as as the fifth attending physician. She spends a considerable portion of her time at Duke Raleigh Hospital, where our division provides the full range of Gynecologic Cancer care - including minimally invasive surgery and chemotherapy.
 
Clinical fellowship
Fellows spend two years of clinical fellowship on the Gynecologic Oncology service and receive training in all facets of care required in the management of patients with gynecologic cancers gynecologic cancers.  This includes surgical and medical management of patients in the hospital, as well as outpatient treatment and follow-up and chemotherapy treatment. There is a one month rotation on the Surgical Oncology Service during the final year.
 
About 800 surgical procedures are performed annually on the Duke Gynecologic Oncology service. Inpatient and outpatient teaching takes place exclusively at Duke University Medical Center and the associated outpatient clinics of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center (Morris Cancer Clinic) which are on the same campus. The fellowship is supported by the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy.  Duke University Medical Center, Duke Medical School and its programs in the fields of Cancer and Gynecology are consistently ranked among the top ten in the nation by US News and World Report. Duke Gynecology is rated #4 in the nation and is the highest ranked service at Duke Medical Center. http://www.genome.duke.edu and http://www.cancer.duke.edu
 
In the past few years we have made a strong commitment to developing a minimally invasive surgery program and in 2009 we performed over 250 minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgical procedures. This includes total laparoscopic hysterectomies, radical hysterectomies, resection of pelvic masses and surgical staging including pelvic and aortic lymph node sampling.
 
Fellows also have a strong exposure to clinically relevant cancer preventive approaches. The division evaluates and manages a significant number of patients with hereditary cancer syndromes. This involves initial evaluations and genetic testing as well as prophylactic surgery for patients with BRCA1/2 or HNPCC mutations. In addition, the division faculty and fellows are involved in the management of patients with pre-invasive disease of the lower genital tract and endometrium. Many of these patients represent challenging cases that are referred after already having been treated by general Ob/Gyns. Other strengths of the division historically have included excellence in the area of Gestational Trophoblastic Disease under the direction of Charles B. Hammond, M.D..
 
Research
The Duke Gynecologic Oncology fellowship includes one year of research and has served as an outstanding platform for the development of physician-scientists. Available research tracks include laboratory based research in the molecular biology of ovarian cancer as well as clinical research experience and class work leading to a Masters degree in clinical research. Dr. Susan Murphy joined the division in 2003 and is a full time PhD who works in our lab group. Her interests include the role of epigenetic changes in ovarian and cervical carcinogenesis and ovarian cancer stem cell biology.
 
Fellows typically achieve authorship on about 5-10 papers during their training.  Fellows are also expected to present their work at national and regional meetings. We have the expectation that a considerable fraction of our trainees will continue on to careers in academic medicine after completing training.