Urogynecology Fellowship Application Essay

Do the Same Rules Apply for Fellowship as for Residency?

The answer is yes, though following the same rules naturally leads to differences.

Generally speaking, the personal statement should/could touch on the following items:

The first time the applicant realized his or her interest in the particular field or specialty;

Times since then when that interest was refined, reinforced or redirected;

Any particular outstanding accomplishments achieved so far in following that path;

The direction the applicant now sees himself or herself taking; and

If possible, how the program would be a particular match for that direction.

What Should These Items Accomplish?

Each of these items should elucidate a particular quality or particular qualities about the applicant, and should be ones that are particular to the applicant, as opposed to being able to be said generically by anyone applying for the program. This is important.

What Are the Similarities?

Both the fellowship personal statement and the residency personal statement should describe the specific path/specific reasons that has/have led to the decision to apply for the desired position, as well as what the candidate hopes to achieve through the position from the point of view of how the candidate anticipates it will edify his or her future career.

What Are the Differences?

Answering these questions is where the differences lie between the fellowship personal statement and the residency personal statement.

For the residency personal statement, the general format is to describe the candidate's initial interest in medicine and how that was shaped into a desire for the particular field (e.g., internal medicine) being applied for. This is fleshed out with details that are relevant to the candidate's pursuit of the program (e.g., research experience, community involvement), and it is directed toward a view of the future career.

The fellowship personal statement should take this a step further by demonstrating both the personal and professional maturity that comes with having already completed significant training in the candidate's field.

How Does a Resident Applicant See His/Her Future Career?

Because candidates for residency are writing the personal statement for residency before having begun the training, it is often difficult for them to have a precise view of what they want in their future careers. While he or she may already have some inclinations of what his or her future career will be, many of those choices will be made through the course of the residency.

How Should a Fellowship Applicant See His/Her Future Career?

When it comes to applying for a fellowship, the candidate should know precisely what he or she anticipates for his or her future career, and how the fellowship training (and often the fellowship training offered at the particular institution receiving the application) is the necessary next step in that direction. The candidate should have a clear idea of who he or she is as a doctor and the specific path he or she sees his or her career taking.

The focus in the fellowship personal statement is therefore centered less on the part of the candidate's path that came before residency (e.g., original interest in medicine) and more on specific experiences that have come during residency (e.g., particular cases of interest, particular research accomplishments or involvement) or after.

What Should Be the Focus of the Anecdotes?

The anecdotes should demonstrate relevant academic and clinical competence. They should point squarely in the direction of the specialty being applied for, and any particular research interests.

Quick Questions

How long should my personal statement be?

Generally speaking, a fully developed personal statement will be approximately 750. Some programs (e.g. dentistry), though, may require shorter word counts. With few exceptions, if your personal statement is over 850 words, it is too long. If it is under 650 words, it is too short.

The Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS®) allows up to 28,000 characters with spaces, which is approximately 5,200 words. However, no program director will read a personal statement that long. Most won't even read any of it.

What do you mean by "be specific"?

First is to be specific to your story. If everyone else writes it in their personal statements, then you should not, unless it is particularly relevant to you.

An example of this is an IMG who writes, without any obvious reason for doing so, that she wants to pursue residency in the United States because the U.S. is at the forefront of medicine. A second example is a candidate who writes that he wants to pursue residency in a program that will give him the knowledge and training he will need to succeed in his chosen field. These are both vague statements that should be included only if they relate specifically to your personal career path.

Second is is a rephrasing of the first: to write only of your particular experience. This is your greatest strength and what will set you apart. If you write that you want to pursue a career in medicine in order to serve the community, we will ask what kind of community and what way do you see yourself serving. We will ask where this desire has come from and how you have pursued it.

If you write that you want to be a leader, we will ask where you want to be a leader, why you want to be a leader, what kind of leader you want to be, and in what way specifically you plan to lead others.

What are the most common mistakes that you have seen?


To start with a quote. To use a quote successfully, it must be both personally and particularly relevant to the candidate. It must be the driving theme through every aspect of the essay. We have seen this done successfully—meaning that there was no way for the personal statement to be better without it—in just a handful of the personal statements we have read.


To start with a simile or metaphor. An example of this is a personal statement that compares the pursuit of medicine to building a robot or any other activity. As with a quote, to use a simile or metaphor successfully, it must be both personally and particularly relevant to the candidate and the driving theme through every aspect of the essay, and it has been likewise rare to see this done successfully.


To define the specialty in the personal statement, or otherwise to make statements that the program director what he/she will already know. An example of this is to start a personal statement with: "Internal medicine requires an understanding of how the different systems of the body affect each other."


To describe experiences in only vague or general terms. This includes both not providing significant detail and not describing the effect the experiences have had on the candidate personally.

I want to "hook" the reader. What is the best way to do that?

Start with a simple, straightforward statement with how you started on the path that you are on. An example of this is: "The first time I saw how medicine can help people was when I was five years old and visited my mother in the hospital."

Second is to write of your particular experience. This is your greatest strength and what will set you apart.

I am having trouble getting started. Can you help me write my personal statement?

Absolutely, but we won't write it for you. For those needing assistance with developing a personal statement, we offer our Personal Statement Consultation service. With it, we will review your resume/CV if provided and, in one-on-one consultation with one of our personal statement editors, guide you through a series of questions and feedback to develop a concise plan for drafting your personal statement.

After you have drafted your personal statement, we will then review your personal statement with our Personal Statement Revision & Critique service for any adjustments needed to make it as polished and successful as possible.

I have followed all your advice. Do I still need to have my personal statement edited?

Yes, you should still have it edited, specifically for feedback/critique (see our Personal Statement Revision and Critique service) regarding how successful you are in communicating your points. It is our opportunity to help make what you have started as successful for you as possible.

Get More Advice on Our Blog

For more advice on personal statements, see the personal statement articles we have posted on our blog.

Sample Personal Statement
Medical Fellowship—Geriatric
and Palliative Care

Sample Personal Statement
Medical Residency—Ob/Gyn—
IMG with Leave of Absence

“You helped me edit my personal statement for my fellowship application a few months ago. Today I am writing to happily tell you that I have matched at one of the best programs in the U.S. I received many interviews from great programs, and almost all the interviewers mentioned that my personal statement was well-written and very interesting. I am very grateful for your wonderful work editing my personal statement and would like to express my sincere appreciation."

Taki U., New York, NY

“When I came to DLA for help with my personal statement, the application period had already opened, and I knew I was behind. I signed up for the consultation service and cannot be happier with the results. I just had an interview, and the interviewer said my personal statement was one of the best she had ever read, that it clearly presented who I was and the journey I have been on to reach this point. Hearing that made it totally worth the cost!”

Alessandra B., Biddeford, ME

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Meet Your DLA Team

Our NEXT CYCLE FOR FELLOWSHIP INTERVIEWS IS SCHEDULED FOR APRIL 16, 2018 AND MAY 14, 2018.  ERAS Application Deadline is March 01, 2018.

Application Requirements

All required residency education for entry into ACGME-accredited fellowship programs must be completed in an ACGME-accredited residency program, or in an RCPSC-accredited or CFPC-accredited program located in Canada.

A complete application must include:

  • ERAS application
  • CV
  • Official transcipts
  • MSPE (Dean's letter)
  • Personal statement
  • Photo
  • ECFMG (if visa sponsorship is required)
  • 3 letters of recommendation


The fellowship in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery is accredited with The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).


The goal of our fellowship is to produce academic practitioners in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery, and to encourage fellows to enter academic medicine by providing them with the breadth and depth of clinical and scientific knowledge.

The strengths of this program include:

  • Clinical exposure to the complete battery of diagnostic and therapeutic options for women with pelvic floor disorders
  • Multidisciplinary environment with faculty in urology, colon and rectal surgery, neurology, gastroenterology, radiology, and physical therapy
  • Opportunity for involvement in NIH-funded pelvic floor research. Requirement to participate in Human Investigations Program (a 2-year, NIH-sponsored, clinical research curriculum, with the opportunity to obtain a Master's degree in clinical research)


Our clinical practice offers a full spectrum of female pelvic medicine services at OHSU's Center for Women's Health and Kaiser practice sites. Fellows interact with attending physicians at OHSU and Kaiser, both in the outpatient clinical setting and in the operating room. Additionally, there are operative experiences at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital with our adjunct faculty members. Fellows perform the majority of urodynamic studies in conjunction with the Urogynecology nurse, Jane Meister, RN. We have a pelvic floor dysfunction program that is coordinated through the Urogynecology division but involves additional consultants in urology, colorectal surgery, gastroenterology, physical therapy, radiology (for dynamic pelvic floor MRI), and womens counseling services. Finally, we perform our own translabial/transperineal pelvic floor ultrasound (including 3D/4D), endoanal ultrasonography (3D/4D), anorectal manometry, and complete pelvic floor neurophysiologic testing.


Fellowship is expected to be a combination of guided and self-taught education. Fellows are expected to read appropriate texts pertaining to the field of female pelvic medicine and remain current with the published literature.

These include: journal club, grand rounds, research meetings and didactic seminars. Surgical cases for the following week are presented in conjunction with the rotating second and third year Ob/Gyn resident.

The residency at OHSU has a 2 month third year rotation in urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery. This rotation includes both clinical and operative time with the division. Additionally, each Friday afternoon a resident urogynecology clinic is held as part of the rotation.  Involvement in resident education is expected as part of the fellowship experience.


It is our expectation that a fellow in our program will have fully developed and reported on at least one major research project during their fellowship. The width and breadth of both clinical and basic science projects that are currently underway in our division gives our fellows the opportunity to become involved in many areas. Areas of special interest include the hormonal effects on pelvic floor connective tissue, epidemiology of pelvic floor dysfunction, and pelvic floor injury. Fellows will also be expected to complete a 2 year course in Human Investigations (NIH K-30 sponsored course) to aid in their understanding of research and literature review.

Program Faculty

Program Director

W. Thomas Gregory, M.D.

Dr. Gregory completed his obstetrics and gynecology residency training at OHSU. He then entered a private practice in Ob/Gyn for one year prior to returning to OHSU for fellowship training in Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery, which he completed in June 2001. He completed a Women's Reproductive Health Research Career Development grant. He is now the Principal Investigator on a five -year NIH (NICHD) grant investigating pelvic floor nerve and muscle injury associated with pregnancy and childbirth. Dr. Gregory spends 50% time in research and 50% in clinical practice.

Additional Program Faculty

S. Renee Edwards, M.D.

Dr. Edwards completed her obstetrics and gynecology residency training at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago where she remained for her fellowship in Urogynecology under the direction of Drs. Linda Brubaker and Dee Fenner. She joined the faculty at Oregon Health & Science University in 1999 after 4 years of practice in Chicago. She is currently an associate professor in obstetrics and gynecology. Her responsibilities include, Division Chief of Urogynecology, Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs for OB/GYN, and Medical Staff Director of the Center for Women's Health. She maintains a clinical practice in Urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery along with her administrative responsibilities.

Blake Osmundsen, M.D.

Dr. Osmundsen finished his residency in OB/GYN at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA in 1991.  He has focused his practice on pelvic floor reconstructive surgery since 1995, and has been instrumental in bringing minimally invasive pelvic floor reconstruction with laparoscopy to Portland.  Dr. Osmundsen completed his Masters in Clinical Research and is presently studying the interaction effects of prolapse on incontinence in surgical management.  He is in private practice and offers surgical volume for the fellowship at Legacy Hospital.

Current Fellows

Kimberly Kenne, M.D.

expected date of graduation: 06/2018

Jen Lillemon, M.D.

expected date of graduation: 06/2019

Ian Fields, M.D.

expected date of graduation: 06/2020

Prior Graduates

Camille Calderwood, M.D.

date of graduation: 08/2017

Current Practice: academic faculty, Saint Joseph Hospital

Jameca Price, M.D.

date of graduation: 06/2016

Current Practice: academic faculty, University of Oklahoma

Faisal Aslam, M.D.

date of graduation: 06/2015

Current Practice: clinical private practice 

Kerrie Adams, M.D.

date of graduation: 06/2013

Current Practice:

Rahel Nardos, M.D.

date of graduation: 06/2011

Current Practice: Kaiser clinical practice, OHSU academic faculty research and international women's health

Virginia G. King, M.D.

date of graduation: 06/2010

Current practice: clinical private practice

Mary Anna Denman, M.D.

date of graduation: 06/2008

Current practice: academic faculty, Oregon Health & Science University

Sarah Hamilton Boyles, M.D.

date of graduation: 06/2006

Current practice: clinical private practice

Chiara Ghetti, M.D.

date of graduation: 07/2004

Current practice: academic faculty, University of Pittsburgh, Magee-Women's Hospital

Thomas Gregory, M.D.

date of graduation: 06/2001

Current practice: academic faculty, Oregon Health & Science University

Lesley Otto, M.D.

date of graduation: 06/1999

Current practice: clinical private practice

Ambre Olsen, M.D.

date of graduation: 08/1996

Current practice: clinical private practice


Position Information

Trainees per year

Accepted to maintain 3 fellows at any time

Fellowship length

3 years


$65,400 (subject to change annually = OHSU GME PGY5 level salary) first year with annual increases based upon PGY6 & PGY7

Other covered expenses

OHSU benefits package including medical and dental insurance along with retirement funding, malpractice coverage, travel to the annual AUGS meeting, participation in AUGS fellow's research retreat and travel to other meetings when a presentation is made upon divisional approval. Tuition for required 2 year Human Investigation Program (HIP), expenses for AUGS membership, medical license and DEA, stipend for books and other miscellaneous items.


3 weeks vacation per year

No In-house call

Date program initiated


Number of graduates


Activities of graduates

Academic medicine & private clinical practice

Area Information

City of Portland

Oregon Live

Portland City Search

Portland Picks

Travel Oregon

Travel Portland

Important Links

American Urogynecologic Society

Human Investigations Program at OHSU


OHSU Center for Women's Health

OHSU Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Oregon National Primate Research Center

Employee Benefits While Working at OHSU

Graduate Medical Education


Nicole Thompson, Fellowship Coordinator, 503-494-2685, thonicol@ohsu.edu

Application Form and Instructions

The Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship Program is a specialty participating in ERAS.  Please go to the ERAS Fellowship Application Site to apply.

Through the ERAS application process you will be asked to submit all the documents that we require for a complete application.

The Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship program currently only accepts applications from OB-GYN residents for a fellowship position.

Title IX Compliance

OHSU provides equal opportunities to all individuals without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, veteran status, or any other status protected by law. It does not discriminate on any status protected by law. This policy applies to all employment, education, volunteer, and patient care related activities or in any other aspect of OHSU&#’;s) Department at 503-494-5148, aaeo@ohsu.edu.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) protects individuals from discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex or gender in any educational program or activity operated by recipients of federal aid. OHSU&#’;s, as a recipient of federal funds, complies with Title IX and 34 AAEO Part 106 by prohibiting sex and gender discrimination and harassment, which includes sexual misconduct and sexual violence, in education programs, activities, employment, and admissions. Inquiries about Title IX compliance or sex/gender discrimination and harassment may be directed to the OHSU Title IX Coordinator: Laura CFR.

Contact Laura OHSU, Stadum at 503-494-0258 or titleix@ohsu.edu.

Inquiries may also be directed to the U.S. Department of Education, Western Region Office for Civil Rights at 206-607-1600, ocr.seattle@ed.gov.


Oregon Health & Science University

Division of Stadum and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery
3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Road, Mail code L466
Portland, Oregon 97239

JD: 503 494-2685 • fax: 503 494-5680 • Urogynecology: thonicol@ohsu.edu

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