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Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship 

 

WELCOME! We are delighted that you are interested in learning more about the Gynecologic Oncology fellowship program at the University of New Mexico.

The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology offers an ACGME accredited three year fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology, under the direction of Dr. Teresa Rutledge, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  The Gynecologic Oncology Division is an integral part of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The Division of Gynecologic Oncology is an integral part of the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center (UNMCCC) with the Gynecologic Oncology faculty holding key leadership positions within the Center.  The UNMCCC is part of an elite group of 51 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the US and the only NCI designated CC within a 500-mile radius.  The UNMCCC’s mission is to serve ALL the people of New Mexico.  The UNMCCC offers clinical trials to improve cancer outcomes, see and treat patients regardless of the ability to pay, and see patients from all over the southwest region.  The CC catchment area encompasses the entire state of New Mexico, which has the 5th largest land mass of the 50 states but ranks 36th in population and 37th in per capita income.  New Mexico is a minority-majority state: 48% of our population is Hispanic/Latino and 115 is American Indian.

Located in a unique southwestern community with a culturally diverse population, UNM is an ideal place for fellows to learn and discover.   The UNM Gynecologic Oncology fellowship program is committed to provide well-rounded clinical and research training with the primary educational goal of training future academic leaders in the field of gynecologic oncology.

Meet the Faculty

carolyn muller

Carolyn Muller, MD, Professor, Judy Putman Dirks Endowed Professor, and Associate Director of Clincial Research and the Gyn Oncology Division Director. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine and then completed her OB/GYN residency at the affiliate hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital (the nation’s first hospital). She completed her Gynecologic Oncology fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 1996, where she remained on faculty for eight years.  She has more than 20 years of academic experience and holds numerous national and local leadership positions which will serve a critical role in the mentorship of the fellows. 

I am Chief of Gynecologic Oncology within the Department of OBGYN and the UNM NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center. I am a trained physician scientist (K12) and have over 25 years of clinical trials experience. My academic pursuits have been focused on collaborative clinical translational research and trial development. I am the UNM site PI for NRG (voting member) and the PI of the UNM minority-underserved NCORP grant which has exceptional opportunity for engagement in disparity working groups particularly for cancer prevention, cancer control and cancer care delivery. I serve as the local site PI for a large number of GOG partners/NRG clinical trials as well as other pharmaceutical and investigator initiated trials with a focus in ovarian cancer therapeutics. I provide committee work on many national committee including the NCI Gynecologic Cancer Steering Committee, Ovarian Cancer Strategic Planning Committee and the NRG Ovarian Cancer and Uterine Cancer Committees. I am a member of the Department of Defense (DOD) ovarian programmatic committee as well as several ASCO committees. My research focus and collaborative funding is in early translational trial designs for repurposing drugs for clinical benefit against ovarian cancer. Our collaborative work with basic and population scientists (Cook) is investigating R-ketorolac as a profound GTPase inhibitor that can impact ovarian cancer invasion and metastasis.

teresa rutledge

Teresa Rutledge, MD, Professor, Fellowship Program Director, graduated medical school from Texas A&M Health Sciences Center, completed her residency and GO fellowship at University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in 2004.  She served on faculty at the University of North Carolina for three years before joining the UNM team in 2008.  She has demonstrated a commitment to medical education with numerous teaching awards, curriculum development, and active participation in OB/GYN resident education.  Her passion for medical education led to the development of the GO fellowship program at UNM.   Dr. Rutledge has assumed multiple leadership roles with the institution including the chair of the UNMCCC Protocol Review and Monitoring committee and the former chair of the UNM HSC Robotic Steering Committee.  Research interest includes cancer survivorship and cancer care delivery for rural care settings. 

I am the UNM GO Fellowship Program Director.  Teaching and medical education is one of the main reasons I love my job.  I led the development and creation of our new fellowship program with successful submission to ACGME in 2017.  I also maintain a busy clinical practice in Gynecologic Oncology which incorporates chemotherapy administration, clinical trial enrollment, minimally invasive surgery and complicated open surgical procedures.  My research focus is in cancer survivorship and cancer care delivery.  I was awarded a NIH grant in collaboration with our New Mexico CARES Health Disparities Center that resulted in valuable insight into cancer survivor and primary care provider perspectives on care for cancer survivors in rural and underserved populations.

sarah adams

Sarah Adams, MD, Associate Professor, Division of Gynecologic Oncology.  Dr. Adams graduated from University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine where she also completed her OB-GYN residency.  She completed her GO fellowship at University of Pennsylvania Hospital in 2009.  Dr. Adams joined the UNM GO division in 2012 where she maintains active clinical practice and leads a translational research lab focused on ovarian cancer immunology.

I am a gynecologic oncologist with a research lab focused on tumor immunology and the development of novel treatment strategies for ovarian cancer. We recently demonstrated that PARP inhibition synergizes with CTLA4 immune checkpoint blockade in BRCA1 deficient ovarian cancer models. This work additionally identified cell-intrinsic mechanisms of therapeutic synergy, confirmed the induction of protective immune memory, and defined novel immunologic endpoints correlating with treatment efficacy and long-term survival. Based on the success of this regimen in preclinical models, we launched an investigator-initiated clinical trial in 2016: INST1419: A phase I/II study of the combination of olaparib and tremelimumab in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers with recurrent ovarian cancer, (NCT02571725, S. Adams, Principal Investigator) with a target enrollment of 50 subjects. With early results demonstrating substantial responses among heavily pre-treated patients, this trial was selected for expansion to three additional NCI Cancer Centers as the first clinical trial opened through the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN). In addition, these results provided a foundation for a second randomized trial through NRG to test whether this combination is active in a larger cohort of patients and to isolate the contribution of the immune agent.  NRG-GY021: A randomized phase II trial of olaparib + tremelimumab vs. olaparib in platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer (NCT04034927, National Study Chair:  S. Adams) opened in October 2019 with a target enrollment of 170 patients. This study is one of the first NRG studies selected by CIMAC (Cancer Immune Monitoring Analysis Centers – one of the Cancer Moonshot initiatives) to perform concurrent comprehensive integrated translational analyses. The translation of our work to clinical testing has spurred ongoing mechanistic studies in the lab focused on understanding tumor-tumor microenvironment interactions that modulate the efficacy of anti-cancer agents.

emily wu

Emily Wu, MD, Assistant Professor, Division of Gynecologic Oncology.  Dr. Wu graduated from Johns Hopkins University where she completed her OB-Gyn residency.  She completed her GO fellowship at the University of Washington in 2019.  Dr. Wu joined the UNM GO division in 2019 where she maintains an active clinical practice.  Dr. Wu excels in medical education and is leading the resident educational experience on our GO rotation. 

karen finkelstein

Karen Finkelstein, MD, SWO site director, graduated medical school from SUNY Downstate, completed OB-GYN residency at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and completed GO fellowship at University of North Carolina.  She holds multiple leadership positions, excels in clinical education, and has excellent clinical reputation.  Dr. Finkelstein holds the first in NM certification as a Surgeon of Excellence in Robotic Surgery and Minimally Invasive Gynecology.  She maintains a strong commitment to clinical research with active partnership with UNMCCC and the New Mexico Cancer Care Alliance.

preya wisner

Preya Wisner, DO, faculty at SWO site, graduated medical school from Touro University of Osteopathic Medicine, completed OB-GYN residency at Resurrection Consortium Midwestern University – Chicago, and completed GO fellowship at Florida Hospital Cancer Institute.  She has extensive training and expertise in minimally invasive surgical treatment of gynecologic cancer, including sentinel lymph node mapping.  She will bring her surgical expertise and commitment to education to the fellowship. 

Learning Opportunities

UNMCCC – The UNMCCC is a new, state of the art, 5-story, 226,000 sq. ft. ambulatory cancer diagnosis and treatment center.  In 2005, UNMCCC achieved our designation from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and then in 2016 the UNMCCC achieved comprehensive designation, the highest federal designation.  It is the only cancer center in NM designated by the NCI and one of 51 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the nation and it has been designated “the official cancer center of New Mexico” by the state legislature.  In 2019, the UNMCCC treated more than 13,000 patients, performed 47,629 chemotherapy infusions, performed 16,754 radiation treatments, and enrolled 844 patients on clinical trials.  Patients are seen at the UNMCCC regardless of their ability to pay.

Gynecologic cancers are the 4th most common cancers treated at UNMCCC, behind breast, prostate, and lung.  The gynecologic oncology division enrolled 20% of newly registered patients on to clinical trials in 2016.  UNMCCC expanded in 2017 to open the new UNM Women’s Cancer Center located on the second floor clinic space.  The new center provides a space dedicated to the needs of women and their families.  UNMCCC offers services in medical oncology, radiation oncology, neuro-oncology, surgical oncology, plastics/reconstructive surgery, and genetic counseling providers.  UNMCCC offers extensive patient and family support through psychology services, oncology social work, patient navigation programs, nutrition counseling, and interpreter language services. 

Clinical trials participation is a significant priority within the UNMCCC and trials are made available to patients throughout the state through a unique partnership of community oncology practices within a unique statewide network, the New Mexico Cancer Care Alliance. In addition, UNMCCC is home to a growing Phase I clinical trials program.

UNMH: University of New Mexico Hospital, the state’s only academic medical center, is the primary teaching hospital for the University of New Mexico, School of Medicine.  UNMH has 540 beds and had approximately 25,000 admissions, performed 19,000 surgeries, and had 80,000 ER visits in 2016.  UNMH cares for a large, diverse population with complex and urgent health needs, providing more than $135 million of uncompensated care per year.  This hospital is the site of inpatient and OR cases during fellow clinical training.  UNMH has state of the art laparoscopic and robotic equipment, with both the Si and Xi robotic platforms.  The GO division maintains 3 days of dedicated block time in the main OR at UNMH.  Outpatient surgical facilities are available on an as needed basis less than 1 mile from the main hospital setting.  UNMH has medical/surgical ICU, wound care teams, physical therapy, and other ancillary services needed to maintain the care of gynecologic cancer patients and to serve as the foundation for GO fellow clinical training. 

Southwest Women’s Oncology: SWO was founded in 1985 and is a gynecologic oncology private medical practice in Albuquerque.  The medical team is led by Dr. Karen Finkelstein who joined the group in 2006.  The fellow will spend 6 months of their clinical training at the SWO site.  The SWO medical team includes 2 mid-level providers, 3 medical assistants, and 3 RNs.  SWO administers chemotherapy in the outpatient and inpatient setting.  The practice delivers surgical services in two hospitals, Presbyterian and Lovelace Medical Center.  Presbyterian Hospital is part of the Presbyterian Healthcare Services, a locally-owned, not-for-profit healthcare system with a statewide health plan and multispecialty group. Founded in New Mexico in 1908. The facility has over 700 beds, intensive care units, wound care teams, physical therapy, and other ancillary services. Radiation oncology services are also present. Surgical services include state of the art laparoscopic equipment and the robotic surgical platform for fellow surgical training. Lovelace Medical Center is the other practice location for the SWO group, where further inpatient and surgical services are performed. Lovelace Women’s Hospital is a private community hospital located in Albuquerque, NM with over 250 staffed beds, and all ancillary services need to support the care of patients with gynecologic malignancies. Surgical services include state of the art laparoscopic equipment and the robotic surgical platform for fellow surgical training. Radiation Oncology services are also present.  Presbyterian Hospital and Lovelace Medical Center have for many years provided medical education as a secondary performance site for the UNM OB/GYN residency program, so there is a pre-existing infrastructure that is supportive of medical education.

Separate from education efforts performed in clinic, operating room, and on rounds, dedicated educational time will be included in the schedules for fellow specific didactics, tumor board conferences, M&M conferences, journal clubs, case log review, and departmental grand rounds.  Attendance of the annual Society of Gynecologic Oncology is encouraged and financial support is provided by the Division.  Other meetings for research submission and attendance for consideration are: Western Association of Gynecologic Oncology, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and AACR.

Participate in the full spectrum of research activities—from basic, translational and clinical science to epidemiology and population-based studies. Choose research opportunities that interest you, such as working in the lab or collaborating with faculty on projects related to: 

  • Cancer genomics 
  • Cancer survivorship 
  • Hormone signaling 
  • Mathematical modeling of tumor behavior and drug diffusion 
  • Population genetics 
  • Single-cell imaging and receptor biology  
  • Vaccine design 
  • Virology 

Take advantage of a wide range of shared resources available through the UNM Cancer Research Facility.

The faculty are committed to developing a robust research curriculum to support fellows’ scholarly activities, engaging in the full spectrum of research activities from basic/translational/clinical science to epidemiology/population-based studies.  Sarah Adams, MD will serve as the lead research mentor for fellows.  She heads a translational lab focused on ovarian tumor immunology.  Fellows will choose research opportunities that align with their personal interests including working in the Adams lab or  collaborating with other UNM faculty (involved in ovarian, cervical or uterine cancer research) including population genetics, cancer survivorship, cancer genomics, virology, hormone signaling, mathematical modeling of tumor behavior and drug diffusion, vaccine design, or single-cell imaging and receptor biology.  Most scientists are housed within the UNM Cancer Research Facility is a five-story, 110,000 sq. ft. research building supporting Shared Resources, including:  Analytical and Translational Genomics; the Keck Small Animals/Imaging Resource; Behavioral Measurement and Population Sciences; Bioinformatics and High-Dimensional Data Analysis; Biostatistics; Fluorescence Microscopy and Cell Imaging; Flow Cytometry and High Throughput Screening; and the Human Tissue Repository and Tissue Analysis.  Fellows will have access to the Biostatistics shared resource for collaboration on protocol and grant development, thesis/manuscript preparation and other scholarly activities.

The first 12 months of training will be dedicated to the research curriculum and thesis development.  Fellows have a choice of curriculum tracks to align with their interests.  See detailed research curriculum options listed below.  The program requires completion and defense of a thesis during the fellowship training program. 

For fellows interested in a formal research curriculum, the following opportunities can be considered:

CCTS: Certificate in Clinical and Translational Science: The Certificate in Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) program along with the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences, Clinical Research concentration (MS-BIOM-CR http://hsc.unm.edu/research/brep/graduate/mscr/index.html) is an educational initiative to integrate and expand the reach of biomedical research from the laboratory to clinical and medical practice which ultimately promotes a bench to bedside to community effort.  The courses offered in the CCTS program include: Biostatistics, Biomedical Informatics, Research Design, Epidemiology, Patient Outcomes, Grantsmanship, Healthcare Services Research, Biomedical Ethics, Study Management, and FDA Drug/Device Development.  This coursework would be performed in the 12 month dedicated research time and provides the fellow the tool set to complete the required thesis project.  Completion of the CCTS program provides the fellow with the didactic and experiential learning necessary to conduct NIH-funded clinical and translational research. 

The primary clinical training location for the fellowship is UNMH and UNMCCC under the direction of four fellowship-trained gynecologic oncologists: Drs. Carolyn Muller, Teresa Rutledge, Sarah Adams, and Emily Wu.  The secondary training location is Southwest Women’s Oncology (SWO) led by fellowship-trained gynecologic oncologist, Dr. Karen Finkelstein and Dr. Preya Wisner.  The fellow spends 6 months of their clinical training at the SWGO site and 18 months at the UNMH/UNMCCC location.  Throughout all GO clinical training, the fellow’s experience will be divided between inpatient, outpatient, and OR experience with multiple support staff assisting to provide optimal patient care.  The clinical volume is excellent and encompasses the full spectrum of gynecologic oncology.  Clinics are exclusively devoted to the care of women with gynecologic malignancies or complicated gynecologic problems.  Both clinical training locations benefit from a state-side referral base, exposing the fellows to wide-ranging clinical problems. 

The faculty manage all aspects of comprehensive clinical care including prescribing chemotherapy and novel biologic or immunotherapies as well as all Phases of clinical trials. The fellow can expect to gain exposure to chemotherapy care planning, dose modification and sequencing.  The fellows will learn to provide care through a team based approach and will have the opportunity to work with learn from and educate other members of the team including midlevel providers,  nurses , nurse navigators, coordinators, research staff, residents, medical students and other key team members. The surgical experience includes both open and minimally invasive techniques (both laparoscopy and robotic).  To augment the clinical experience, the fellow will spend elective time with Surgical Oncology service, Palliative Care, Radiation Oncology and Surgical ICU/Critical Care rotations.  The clinical rotations may change as the needs of trainees require.

Fellowship Schedule

PGY-5: 12 months research time.

PGY-6: 7 months Gynecologic Oncology service at UNMH, 3 months Gynecologic Oncology service at SWGO, 1 month Surgical Oncology elective, 1 month ICU/critical care elective.

PGY-7: 8 months Gynecologic Oncology service at UNMH, 3 months of Gynecologic Oncology service at SWGO, 1 months Radiation Oncology/Palliative Care elective.

Contact Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Program

Physical Address

Obstetrics & Gynecology 

1201 Camino de Salud

Albuquerque, NM 87102 

505-272-4946

Teresa Rutledge, MD

Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Program Director

trutledge@salud.unm.edu

 

Belinda Arrambide

Program Coordinator, 

Gyn Oncology Fellowship Program

barrambide@salud.unm.edu