Ob/Gyn Training for Medical Students
The education of medical students is woven into the mission of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Our approach involves cultivating a learning environment that fosters teaching to all of our learners. With this emphasis on education, our faculty and residents stay abreast of teaching strategies, methodologies and practice through Faculty Development Teaching sessions and Resident as Teachers sessions. We also make every effort to provide students early exposure to our department, as well as access to faculty resources and a career advising system.
Washington University medical students complete a six-week ob/gyn clerkship during year three of the MD program.
Whether you are a Washington University medical student or a visiting medical student, we hope you find that teaching you is important to us.
Washington University medical students
Our department is devoted to both the core ob/gyn clerkship, completed during a student’s third year, as well as to students at any point in their medical education who have a special interest in the field of women’s health. Learn how we can help you explore and develop your interests in ob/gyn below.
Obstetrics and Gynecology Interest Group (OGIG)
The Ob/Gyn Interest Group (OGIG) is a student group organized by second-year student leaders who work in conjunction with our education faculty and coordinators to increase awareness of our specialty.
Activities and opportunities organized by OGIG include:
- Annual Ob/Gyn Procedure Night: Every fall we recruit our own residents, fellows and faculty to lead various hands-on stations for a three-hour period. These sessions typically fill up at maximum student capacity.
- Labor and Delivery (L&D) Shadowing: Throughout the academic year, students can sign up for half-day sessions to observe deliveries and daily life in L&D.
- Mentoring Matches: Students are matched with faculty based on interests, specialty fields, and research interests. These matches can provide opportunities that allow students to meet and talk to or shadow faculty in the office, lab, or OR settings.
- Chair’s Happy Hour: Annually, we gather students interested in ob/gyn alongside fourth-year students going into ob/gyn, as well as our department’s residents, fellows, and faculty. This gathering is held at the department chair’s home and provides a relaxed environment to mingle and get to know our department.
- Lunchtime Talks: We hold multiple lunch talks and panels throughout the year to engage our first- and second-year students with departmental faculty.
The Perinatal Project is a matching program designed to connect first- and second-year medical students with expectant mothers. This program exposes our students to maternal-fetal care, patient advocacy, and obstetric knowledge.
The greatest benefit of the Perinatal Project is that it allows students to see healthcare from the patient perspective and to observe the ins-and-outs of prenatal care. This care can range across socioeconomic levels, as well as from low- to high-risk obstetrics.
Students in this program have the opportunity to be present at delivery and to continue following mom and/or baby post delivery. We also hold six lunch sessions designed for students participating in the project. At these sessions, various speakers discuss topics ranging from centering groups for young moms to perinatal behavioral health concerns.
Conducting research as a medical student is an excellent opportunity to explore your professional interests, gain hands-on experience, and give yourself an edge when applying for residency.
To get started, we encourage you to contact the school’s Office of Medical Student Research (OMSR). Led by Dr. Koong-Nah Chung, the OMSR will link you with the resources you need to get funding, comply with human research protection standards, and potentially publish your findings. The OMSR can also guide you through the process of identifying research interests and finding a faculty mentor.
Read the Outlook magazine feature on the student research program »
If you know of an ob/gyn faculty member you’d like to work with, you can approach that investigator directly. You can also explore our department’s research studies, centers and strengths to find a potential research area or investigator.
First- and second-year medical students: Developing your interests
In the first two years of medical school, students are introduced to the essentials of ob/gyn principles through basic clinical coursework and lectures in reproductive biology. Your greatest opportunity for further involvement in our field during these two years is through the Ob/Gyn Interest Group (OGIG), which organizes events and mentoring opportunities (see details in the student interest groups section above).
- Mentoring: We welcome students to find a mentor who can personalize your understanding of our field through discussion and shadowing. Please contact your OGIG student leaders to have this arranged.
- Research: We also encourage you to consider participating in research opportunities, especially during the summer between first and second years.
Third- and fourth-year medical students: Preparing for residency
All third-year medical students participate in a six-week clinical clerkship in Obstetrics and Gynecology. As a student either on your core clerkship or completing it, please inform your Clerkship Director of your strong interest in our field. Fourth-year students have a number of ob/gyn electives to choose from; learn more below.
We have an advising system through which we will match you with an advisor and also offer you assistance as a group by providing a Career Night Meeting and mock interviews prior to the interview trail start. The faculty advisors who participate in this system are aware of the ERAS application timeline and components, and they are not only prepared but also happy to guide you through the process.
We offer a number of fourth-year electives for all our major rotations. Visit the Bulletin website for a full and updated list of ob/gyn courses for medical students. Of note, we offer multiple spots for certain rotations, so two fourth year students could be on service at the same time.
We also try our best to accommodate special electives. Though these are pass/fail, they can help you tailor a more specific topic of interest within women’s health. This could be accomplished at any time during the year. If you have any questions about starting this process, contact your Clerkship Director; or, if you have a specific faculty person in mind, feel free to contact her or him directly.
Alison G. Cahill, MD, MSCI (left), associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, confers with medical student Fayola Fears about a research project focused on infant neurodevelopment.
Dr. Tammy Sonn, MD, helps student Chinwe Madubata deliver a baby with a birthing simulator.
Dr. Rebecca McAlister, MD (top), helps a group of third-year medical students practice suturing skills during clerkship orientation.
Visiting medical students
Clinical electives in ob/gyn are available, space-permitting, to full-time students in good academic standing in their final year of medical school.
How to apply