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Family Planning Fellowship

Boston University and Boston Medical Center have a long history of providing family planning and reproductive health care services to the community as well as medical student and resident education in family planning. The Family Planning Fellowship at Boston University was established in 2001 under the leadership of Dr. Phillip Stubblefield and Dr. Lynn Borgatta. The program has graduated fellows who have become leaders in the field and has provided vital research in the areas of contraception, pregnancy termination and induction. Since the start of the fellowship, the clinical and research programs have continued to grow and inter-departmental collaboration has continued to develop.

The Family Planning Fellowship is a two-year program that is envisioned to enhance fellows’ knowledge and skills through their training in our diverse clinical programs as well as through their participation in clinical and epidemiologic research. In addition, fellows have the option of pursuing a master's degree in either Public Health or Science. There are opportunities to work internationally, as well as to utilize Boston University’s resources including their research network and infrastructure.

Boston University School of Medicine campus


Applicants must be ABOG eligible and have a state medical license. Applicants must also have completed an approved residency program in Obstetrics and Gynecology. A graduate of a foreign medical school must have a standard ECFMG certificate and completed postgraduate training in the United States.

Program Description

Clinical Training

Boston Medical Center (BMC) is a private, not for profit, 493-licensed bed academic medical center located in Boston's historic South End. The hospital is the primary teaching affiliate for Boston University School of Medicine. BMC was created 10 years ago by the merger of Boston City Hospital, a famous charity hospital with a long history of community service and of training physicians, and Boston University Medical Center, a private teaching hospital. Boston Medical Center, with its mission to provide consistently accessible health services to all, is the largest safety net hospital in New England. With an emphasis on community-based care and a network of affiliated community health centers, Boston Medical Center provides a full spectrum of health care services, from primary care to advanced specialty care.


Consistent with the mission of community service, Boston Medical Center has provided abortion services since legalization. All services are provided at Boston Medical Center. The medical center is actively expanding, with both new buildings and renovations of historic buildings.

The medical campus includes the hospitals, the School of Medicine, biomedical research buildings, and the School of Public Health, which allows almost all activities to take place within a several block radius.

Additional Program Highlights

• The new gynecologic procedure unit allowed for the expansion of family planning services in a very pleasant environment. The unit is available for other minor gynecologic procedures including Essure and diagnostic hysteroscopy.

• Formal fellowship research meetings are held weekly alternating with CREST (fellowship) meetings. Fellows also participate in journal club, gynecology case conference, and grand rounds.

• Fellows are expected to give grand rounds and other CME talks to local hospitals and the greater community.

• Fellows have a Contraceptive Consult Clinic. However, they may tailor their patient mix and may see other women if they choose. Fellows have full operative privileges. If they wish, they may have obstetric privileges.

• The Office of Clinical Research has an ongoing program of lectures, invited speakers, and publications, also located within the medical campus. The School of Public Health also has ongoing speaker programs.

• The Kenneth J. Ryan training grant was awarded to our Division of Family Planning, which enabled us to develop dedicated resident and medical student training in all aspects of reproductive health care. As part of the program, our fellows participate in weekly didactics with more structured learning about complex contraception.


Within Boston Medical Center our program enjoys a strong collaborative relationship with the Department of Family Medicine. Family medicine residents rotate through family planning and abortion services.

Several midwives and nurse-practitioners are or have been medical abortion providers, and have collaborated on research projects concerning medical abortion and post-partum contraception.

The Division of General Internal Medicine has a women's health fellowship as part of the Center of Excellence in Women's Health and is an additional potential collaborator.

Fellows have had collaborative work with reproductive health organizations such as Ibis Reproductive Health and IPAS. In the Boston area, there are many advocacy groups such as the Abortion Access Project, Massachusetts NARAL, which invite fellow collaboration. Services for refugees and the Asylum Projects are multidisciplinary and include members of the School of Public Health, psychiatry, and internal medicine.

Masters Degree Options

Masters in Public Health (MPH) programs are available at Boston University School of Public Health located within the medical campus, in multiple disciplines including maternal and child health, epidemiology, international health, biostatistics, ethics, health law, and health policy and management. In addition to the concentrations above, there is a multidisciplinary M.S. program in clinical research. Other M.S. concentrations may be arranged on an individual basis.

For more information, please visit the following sites

Research Opportunities

Research projects include a broad range of topics, including all aspects of clinical contraceptive use, abortion techniques, behavioral assessments and assessment of decision-making, and evaluation of domestic or international family planning programs. Basic science research is also an option. Dr. Deborah Anderson leads the group of immunology researchers, and Dr. Wendy Kuohung in the Reproductive Endocrinology Division has moved her laboratory to BU. Other basic science liaisons are encouraged.

Fellows enroll in the CREST program, a multi-disciplinary NIH-funded program to foster clinical research among fellows. The curriculum is designed to dove-tail with courses in the School of Public Health, and includes ongoing assistance in biostatistics. Also, an internship on the IRB is available. Each fellow will have at least one research project with mentorship of the program director, Dr. Lifford and the director of clinical research, Dr. Borgatta. Fellows’ research projects are presented to the group and discussed.

International Opportunities

Fellows have arranged international experience (s) through a variety of networks including past fellows and colleagues. In addition, the resources of the national fellowship office are available. All fellows have obtained placements that were individualized and have been satisfactory experiences. Past trips have included Kenya, Mexico, Uzbekistan, the Caribbean Islands, Nepal and Colombia.

Research and Clinical Interests

• Preterm birth and prevention
• Fertility and women's health
• Techniques of surgical abortion
• Early medical abortion and treatment of pregnancy failure
• Technique of labor induction abortion
• Basic science: fetal cell transfer in early pregnancy
• On-contraceptive benefits of contraceptives
• Attitudes of women of different ethnic groups toward contraceptive use

Current Faculty Research Projects

• Clinical trial to assess the safety and contraceptive efficacy of two doses of the ultra low dose levonorgestrel contraceptive intrauterine systems
• Clinical trial to investigate the efficacy and safety of the transdermal contraceptive patch
• Trends in post-partum sterilization: delayed post-partum sterilization and use of Essure
• Effect of expanded prenatal education of sterilization utilization
• Clinical trial of the use of Mifepristone prior to induction abortion
• Clinical trial of priming prior to induction abortion
• Continuation rates for Implanon started post-abortion and interval


Applications are accepted through the Fellowship in Family Planning. More information can be found here.