The fellowship training program in gynecologic oncology at the UC Davis Medical Center is a three-year program that includes 24 months of clinical training and 12 months of mentored focused research. There will be one fellow accepted annually into the program, with a total of three fellows. The clinical training includes instruction in gynecologic cancer surgery and complex benign surgery, under the direction of the members of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology. Each fellow will complete six months of clinical training in areas outside the core Gyn Oncology rotations, including medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, and the surgical ICU. The twelve months of research experience will have either a basic science research focus or a clinical research focus, with intensive mentorship in either area.

Applicants interested in applying for the Fellowship training program in Gynecologic Oncology can submit their application through the ERAS website. Individuals interested in obtaining additional information should contact Martha Morris, Fellowship Coordinator for the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, at (916) 734-6978 or via e-mail at

  • Applications must be completed and turned in by April 1, 2019.
  • Invitations to interview will be sent to applicants by Monday, April 23, 2019.
  • Interviews will be held July 2019.
  • Match Day will be October 16, 2019

The clinical training includes instruction in gynecologic cancer surgery and complex benign surgery, under the direction of the members of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology.  Each fellow will complete three months of clinical training in areas outside the core Gyn Oncology rotations, Radiation Oncology, Surgical Oncology and Colorectal Surgery, Surgical Intensive Care Unit, and Palliative Care Service.

Training Location

The primary location for the program is at the UC Davis Medical Center (UCDMC) in Sacramento, California.  The Division of Gynecologic Oncology also provides services in the Northern California region that extends north to the Oregon border, south to the San Joaquin Valley, east to Reno, Nevada, and west to the Bay Area.  All Division members are on the faculty of the UC Davis School of Medicine.

UC Davis Medical Center

UC Davis Medical Center is a 625-bed acute-care teaching hospital with the only level 1 trauma center in inland Northern California.  UC Davis has the only National Cancer Institute designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the region (excluding the Bay Area), with an active program of clinical trials.  Facility expansion over the last 15 years in Sacramento has resulted in more than 3 million square feet of buildings over a 140-acre campus, which includes a recently completed 14-floor hospital tower, state of the art outpatient facility (where the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology is located), and research buildings.  A new pavilion was completed in the Fall of 2010 that includes 48 state of the art operating rooms, plus ICU’s and Emergency Department.  The Cancer Center is recently underwent an expansion that doubled the clinic capacity by 100% and was completed in the Spring of 2012.  The UC Davis Medical Center has an active robotic surgery program with both Si and Xi robotic systems.

The fellows will run the Gynecologic Oncology services at all facilities under the guidance of the faculty.  Team members include OB/GYN residents and medical students.  The faculty performs oncologic and complex gynecologic operative procedures including radical, bowel and urologic surgery.  Fellows will receive training in chemotherapy with Dr. Vanessa Kennedy, Dr. Rachel Ruskin and Dr. Sidney Scudder.  The fellows are actively involved in creating chemotherapy treatment plans and managing chemotherapy side effects for all gynecologic oncology patients.  Separate clinical rotations are scheduled with Surgical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Palliative Care, and the Surgical ICU service.  Some reconstructive services are provided by members of the Division of Plastic Surgery and Dr. Jennifer Rothschild in Urology.

1st Year Fellowship

The first year is devoted to clinical service.  The 1st year fellow will begin the year on the Gynecologic Oncology service (with the 3rd year fellow).  The off-service rotations during the first year of fellowship are Surgical ICU and Palliative Care.

2nd Year Fellowship

The second year of fellowship is the designated research year and clinical activities will therefore be kept to a minimum.  The fellow will continue rotating weekend call.  Clinical duties cannot exceed 10% of total work hours (per ACGME guidelines).  Rarely, the research fellow will be asked to cover a surgical case, and may do so if this does not conflict with the duty hours described by ACGME.

The research fellow is expected to attend OB/GYN grand rounds, department morbidity and mortality conferences, and the weekly tumor board.  Expectations for the research year include the completion of the thesis project with at least one manuscript to be submitted for publication, plus one quality improvement research paper. 

3rd Year Fellowship

The senior fellow will spend 10 months of the year on the Gyn Oncology service.  The senior fellow will go to Kaiser Permanente Sacramento once a week and San Joaquin General Hospital twice a month to manage Gyn Oncology patients and perform complex surgeries.  The off-service rotations during the third year of fellowship include one month of Surgical Oncology service (where they will function at the level of a chief resident - there are no surgical oncology fellows at UCDMC) and one month of Radiation Oncology.

All Years

During all 3 years of fellowship the fellows will rotate on a one-in-three weekend schedule to cover the Gynecologic Oncology service. 

Overview of Fellow Didactic Expectations

Fellows will be expected to provide some lectures to residents and medical students during the training program.  The fellows will be responsible to run the weekly Gynecologic Oncology Tumor Board, which is a forum for case management discussions, as well as a review of Gynecologic Pathology, and eligible clinical trials.  There is a weekly teaching session in Gynecologic Oncology, and a weekly set of Fellow Didactic Lectures (including case reviews and Journal Club).  The Fellow Didactic Lectures include pathology and management of gynecologic cancers, landmark trials in gynecologic oncology, chemotherapy review, radiation review, and topics in palliative care.  Other conferences include weekly Department Grand Rounds, monthly Departmental M&M conference, and resident didactic lectures.  Fellows are required to complete graduate level courses in Clinical Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Clinical Trial Design.


Dr. Ruskin and Dr. Leiserowitz are in charge of fellow didactics and for selecting the topic/articles for journal club.

Chapter review

At the beginning of the academic year a lecture schedule is developed by faculty with the assistance of the 3rd year fellow with the didactic topics and assigned faculty for the year.  A topic for the month will be provided with the required reading material (book chapters and selected articles).  The format for these sessions consists of an informal question and answer session with the assigned faculty and all fellows. 

Journal Club / Case List Review

Several times per year the entire division of Gynecologic Oncology meets for journal club/case review sessions.  Several weeks prior to journal club, articles will be chosen and assigned to the fellows for presentation.  Presentation involves an informal discussion of the background, methods, results, summary of the findings, and the implications for clinical practice should also be discussed.  Fellows are expected to have read all the articles and to be prepared to answer questions related to the articles.

Approximately half of this session is dedicated to case list review.  These sessions are used to reinforce understanding stemming from the didactic lecture series, and focuses on the topics that were recently presented.  The case reviews are done in a Q & A format, based on the fellows’ recent clinical cases.   

Each fellow must complete 12 months of focused research training and experience.  The Division members are fortunate to have active collaborations with both basic scientists and clinical researchers.  Each fellow will be required to declare a focus in either basic science or clinical research, and complete a minimum of at least one project that results in a publishable manuscript.  Dr.  Lloyd Smith MD, PhD, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology mentors fellows in the laboratory setting.  Previous fellows have also worked with Dr.  Kit Lam, the Chair of Molecular Biology. 

The second year fellow will complete the 3 month intensive summer course which begins the formal training in Mentored Clinical Research Training Program.  Research fellows have also participated in the Exxcellence in Clinical Research Course offered by the Foundation of Exxcellence.

It is expected that a topic for the research year will be decided during the first clinical year, in consultation with the Program Director, Dr.  Leiserowitz.

Basic Science Research

Dr. Lloyd Smith MD, PhD is the designated research basic science mentor.  He has been the Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Division Director to the Division of Gynecologic Oncology.  The majority of Fellows have chosen this research experience, and all were able to generate a thesis suitable for the ABOG subspecialty oral exam.  Fellows who choose this research tract will take the 12 week summer curriculum of the mentored clinical research training program (MCRTP) and formal graduate level coursework in Tumor Biology.

Clinical Research

Fellows choosing the clinical research track will work with one of the core faculty and another mentor specific to the type of research they are involved with.  The majority of Fellows choosing this option have performed clinical outcomes research and epidemiology studies, and all were able to generate a thesis suitable for the ABOG subspecialty oral exam. 

Mentored Clinical Research Training Program

The UCD Health System has established a K-30 intensive training in mentored clinical research, which includes formal graduate level course work in epidemiology, clinical study design, and statistics.  The Mentored Clinical Research Training Program (MCRTP) provides a solid foundation for clinical/patient-oriented research for junior faculty, clinical and pre-clinical fellows, and post-doctoral scholars.  The MCRTP centers around three core elements: didactic instruction, mentored research, and special experiences.

The didactic instruction provides scholars a standardized set of skills critical to all types of clinical and translational research.  The instruction includes a 12 week summer curriculum followed by a two year core curriculum and electives that can be tailored to best meet each scholar’s career development needs.  The didactic curriculum is a combination of established and new courses explicitly designed for the MCRTP.  Gynecologic oncology fellows will complete only the 12 week intensive summer program of the MCRTP.

The first week of the summer curriculum covers Clinical Epidemiology and Study Design (M-F 9AM-5PM).  Week 2 to 12 cover the following topics: Strategies for Grant Writing, Introduction to Clinical Research, Introduction to Medical Statistics (with STATA labs), Methods in Clinical Research, Health Informatics, and Study Design.   

Gary Leiserowitz, M.D., M.S.

Gary Leiserowitz, M.D., M.S.
Professor and Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Division Chief and Fellowship Director, Gynecologic Oncology

Lloyd Smith, M.D., Ph.D. Lloyd Smith, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, Gynecologic Oncology
former Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology


Vanessa Kennedy, M.D. Vanessa Kennedy, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Gynecologic Oncology
Rachel Ruskin, M.D. Rachel Ruskin, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Gynecologic Oncology

Our Graduates

Alireza Abidi, M.D.Alireza Abidi, M.D.

Abby Gonik, M.D.Abby Gonik, M.D.

Vanessa Kennedy, M.D.Vanessa Kennedy, M.D.

Eugenia Girda, M.D.Eugenia Girda, M.D.

Susannah Mourton, M.D.Susannah Mourton, M.D.

Rinki Agarwal, M.D.Rinki Agarwal, M.D.

Ruth Stephenson, D.O.Ruth Stephenson, D.O.

Amanda Shepherd, M.D.Amanda Shepherd, M.D.

Wiley Fowler, M.D.Wiley Fowler, M.D.

Nell Suby, M.D.Nell Suby, M.D.

Megan Petersen, M.D.Megan Petersen, M.D.