Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp 751–760

Women’s Health Training in Gastroenterology Fellowship: A National Survey of Fellows and Program Directors

  • Sumona Saha
  • Erica Roberson
  • Kelly Richie
  • Mary J. Lindstrom
  • Silvia Degli Esposti
  • Arnold Wald
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10620-010-1532-7

Cite this article as:
Saha, S., Roberson, E., Richie, K. et al. Dig Dis Sci (2011) 56: 751. doi:10.1007/s10620-010-1532-7


Background and Aims

The Gastroenterology Core Curriculum requires training in women’s digestive disorders; however, requirements do not necessarily produce knowledge and competence. Our study goals were: (1) to compare perceptions of education, fellow-reported levels of competence, and attitudes towards training in women’s gastrointestinal (GI) health issues during fellowship between gastroenterology fellows and program directors, and (2) to determine the barriers for meeting training requirements.


A national survey assessing four domains of training was conducted. All GI program directors in the United States (n = 153) and a random sample of gastroenterology fellows (n = 769) were mailed surveys. Mixed effects linear modeling was used to estimate all mean scores and to assess differences between the groups. Cronbach’s alpha was used to assess the consistency of the measures which make up the means.


Responses were received from 61% of program directors and 31% of fellows. Mean scores in perceived didactic education, clinical experiences, and competence in women’s GI health were low and significantly differed between the groups (P < 0.0001). Fellows’ attitudes towards women’s GI health issues were more positive compared to program directors’ (P = 0.004). Barriers to training were: continuity clinic at a Veteran’s Administration hospital, low number of pregnant patients treated, low number of referrals from obstetrics and gynecology, and lack of faculty interest in women’s health.


(1) Fellows more so than program directors perceive training in women’s GI health issues to be low. (2) Program directors more so than fellows rate fellows to be competent in women’s GI health. (3) Multiple barriers to women’s health training exist.


Women’s healthGastroenterology fellowshipTraining guidelines



American Association for the Advancement of Liver Disease


American Board of Internal Medicine


American College of Gastroenterology


Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education


American Gastroenterological Association


American Medical Association


American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy


Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database Access


Gastroenterology Core Curriculum




Gastroenterology Leadership Council


Obstetrics and gynecology


Veterans Administration

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sumona Saha
    • 1
  • Erica Roberson
    • 2
  • Kelly Richie
    • 3
  • Mary J. Lindstrom
    • 4
  • Silvia Degli Esposti
    • 5
  • Arnold Wald
    • 6
  1. 1.Division of Gastroenterology and HepatologyUniversity of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public HealthMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Division of Gastroenterology, Department of MedicineOregon Health & Science UniversityPortlandUSA
  3. 3.Division of Gastroenterology and HepatologyUniversity of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public HealthMadisonUSA
  4. 4.University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  5. 5.Center for Women’s Digestive Diseases, Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode IslandThe Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  6. 6.Division of Gastroenterology and HepatologyUniversity of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public HealthMadisonUSA