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Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship Program

Our gynecologic endoscopy program is a two-year comprehensive program incorporating clinical, research and educational activities. Bridgeport Hospital is a community teaching facility with Yale University affiliation. We currently perform over 3,800 gynecologic procedures per year. Our Minimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship is a high-volume service that covers the breadth of gynecologic endoscopy as well as complex abdominal and vaginal surgery. The fellow will benefit from the experience of active surgeons whose collective focus includes a full spectrum of laparoscopic, hysteroscopic and minimally invasive procedures including infertility, urology, colorectal, gynecologic oncology and general gynecology. Exposure to robotic-assisted laparoscopy is a vital component of our fellowship program. 

Faculty

Masoud Azodi, MD, director, MIGS Fellowship, is a professor at the Yale University School of Medicine and is a member of the Gynecologic Oncology Group. He is also the Director of the minimally-invasive Robotic Surgery at Yale University School of Medicine’s Gynecologic Oncology Section in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences. He is also the Chief of Gynecologic Oncology at Bridgeport Hospital. Over the past several years he has become the community’s leading expert in gynecologic laparoscopic surgery, performing over 2,500 robotic cases since 2006 and has vast experience with conventional laparoscopy. Most of his cases are referred from general gynecologists, for malignancy as well as complicated surgical challenges including large myomatous uteri, extensive adhesive disease and endometriosis. He performs seven to ten endoscopic procedures per week. His passion for minimally invasive surgery has inspired many residents and attending physicians in the community. He has won many awards for his excellence in resident education.
azodi 

Richard Bercik, MD, is a member of the Uro-Gynecology Group at Yale University. He is also an attending at Bridgeport Hospital. He is very active in clinical research in minimally invasive surgery and has proven to be an exceptional resident teacher. He joined the fellowship faculty list in 2012 to increase the fellows’ exposure and teaching in uro-gynecological procedures such as pelvic floor reconstruction.

Shabnam Kashani, MD, is the Clinical Director of Ob/Gyn Ambulatory Services at Bridgeport Hospital and Associate Program Director of the MIGS Fellowship Program. She completed her MIGS Fellowship at Bridgeport Hospital and is well-versed in both hysteroscopic and laparoscopic minimally invasive surgeries. She is very active in both residency and fellowship programs and has a passion for teaching.

Harold J. Sauer, MD, is the Chairman of the Bridgeport Hospital Obstetrics and Gynecology department. He is a fellowship-trained REI and longtime ABOG board examiner. He is actively involved with resident education. He currently runs a weekly pre-op clinic for house staff to book complicated laparoscopic and hysteroscopic cases. He has many years of expertise in difficult laparoscopic procedures and enjoys working with residents to improve their surgical dexterity and skills.

Gulden Menderes, MD, is an Assistant Professor of the Gynecology Oncology Group at Yale University. She joined the fellowship as a core faculty member in 2018 after completing her MIGS Fellowship 2014 and her Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship at Yale in 2018. She is very active in clinical research and is a prolific publisher. She has proven herself to be an exceptional teacher.

Farinaz Seifi, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Gynecology at Yale University. She joined the fellowship as a core faculty member in 2018 after completing her MIGS Fellowship in 2018. Dr. Seifi is passionate about teaching and she received the Surgical Faculty Award for teaching surgical techniques to residents and fellows. She is skilled in laparoscopic and robotic complex surgeries including advanced endometriosis. She is a member of committee for Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) at Yale and actively involved in research to optimize pain control after minimally invasive surgeries.

Scott Thornton, MD, is a prominent colorectal surgeon at Bridgeport Hospital. He will support the general surgery aspect of the fellowship, providing the fellows extensive experience in enterolysis, bowel repair and resection. He is an expert in laparoscopic colorectal surgery. He has been named as Best Doctor in multiple issues of New York Magazine and won multiple awards for resident education.

 

Fellowship curriculum

Gaining proficiency in all advanced gynecologic procedures is expected. These would include LSH, TLH, laparoscopic myomectomy, laparoscopic sacrocolpopexy, suburethral slings, hysteroscopic myomectomy and colorectal surgery. Robotic experience in hysterectomy, sacrocolpopexy, myomectomy and retroperitoneal oncologic staging will be included in the programs.

Teaching activities will include resident instruction in endoscopic technique using an advanced skills laboratory and supervision of basic endoscopic procedures. Participating in departmental grand rounds, didactic educational programs, biweekly journal clubs, biweekly tumor boards and weekly conferences is expected. The required research project may take advantage of the many clinical or basic research opportunities ongoing in the division or may be uniquely designed by the fellow with faculty supervision. The Yale OB/GYN department will be supportive of fellow research projects and will result in national presentations and peer-reviewed manuscripts. Protected academic research time is incorporated into the post-graduate training program.

A unique feature of this program is the fellows’ exposure to gynecological malignancies and the opportunity to assist in laparoscopic staging and radical surgery for malignancies. There are no gynecologic oncology fellows based at Bridgeport Hospital, and the busy surgical volume of the Gynecologic Oncology Section means all potential cases are learning opportunities for the gynecologic endoscopy fellow.

Overall, this program will train the fellow for general gynecologic minimally invasive surgery using conventional laparoscopy, robotic-assisted laparoscopy and hysteroscopy. They will also have extensive experience with gynecologic oncology procedures, reproductive endocrine procedures, urogynecologic procedures, complex gynecologic surgeries and advanced endometriosis cases. The fellow will also work with an experienced colorectal surgeon performing laparoscopic bowel procedures.

Fellows will spend an average of two days in surgery per week. Individuals can expect to be in the office/clinic an average of two days per week. Approximately one day per week will be reserved for research time.

Fellows will have teaching responsibilities as they relate to the training of medical students and physicians both in the academic and community settings. Post-graduate trainees will have the advantage of being exposed to a wide variety of resources available at Yale University. These resources include the ability to pursue Masters-level degrees in the areas of public health and clinical investigation. Surgical laboratories with established gynecology protocols will also be readily available for both inanimate and animate training and research.

The fellow will have a two-month rotation in reproductive endocrinology, a two-month rotation in Urogynecology and a one-month elective rotation.

Upon completion of this program, the fellow will be competent in a full-spectrum of endoscopic surgical techniques and be qualified to serve as a consultant in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery in an academic or private setting.

Cases / Year

Operative Laparoscopy – 250
Diagnostic Laparoscopy – 30
Operative Hysteroscopy – 30
Diagnostic Hysteroscopy – 30
Abdominal Hysterectomy –25
Abdominal Myomectomy – 20
Vaginal Hysterectomy – 15
Vaginal Repair Procedures – 20
Incontinence Procedures – 20
Da Vinci cases – 100
Laparotomy – 20
 

Schedule

Monday Office with Dr. Menderes/Research/ Surgery with other faculty members.
Tuesday Research
Wednesday Surgery with Dr. Azodi/ Colorectal surgery with Dr. Thornton
Thursday Didactics/Office with Dr. Azodi/Surgery with other faculty members
Friday Surgery with Dr. Menderes

Current Fellows

1st Year
Annemieke Wilcox

 

2nd Year
Merima Ruhotina

Conferences

MIGS/CPP didactics (second and fourth week of each month)
OB/GYN Department M & M (fourth week of each month)
OB/GYN Faculty Meeting
Grand Rounds (second and fourth Thursday of each month)
Tumor Board (first and third Thursday of each month)
 


GYN Pre-op Conference: The gynecology service will meet on a weekly basis to discuss the planned surgical procedures for the week. The preoperative evaluation and the indications for all resident and fellow patients and all hysterectomies are reviewed. This conference allows the residents and fellows to review the appropriate preoperative evaluation of most gynecologic surgical procedures, to discuss alternative treatment options and the appropriate informed consent process.

OB/GYN Department M & M Conference: This department-wide morbidity and mortality conference is presented by the senior resident on each service.

MIS Didactics: The MIS division will meet two times per month for a didactic session to review topics of particular interest to our division. One session each month will be dedicated to review of a clinical topic outlined in the fellowship educational objectives.

OB/GYN Department Grand Rounds: This department-wide grand rounds is an excellent source of continuing medical education, covering a wide variety of topics relevant to obstetricians and gynecologists presented by experts in their respective topic domains. Bridgeport Hospital is an accredited CME provider.

Tumor Board: All Gynecologic Oncology cases are presented in a multi-disciplinary board.
 
Journal Club: Selected articles will be presented once a month with detailed analysis.
 
National/International Conferences: The Graduate Medical Education office is fully supportive of MIGS Fellows presenting at national and international conferences.