Career development program in OB/GYN moves to Washington University

A research career development program in obstetrics and gynecology is moving to Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis from the University of California, San Francisco.

The Reproductive Scientist Development Program (RSDP) will support the salaries and training of 15 MD or MD/PhD fellows who want to become physician scientists in obstetrics and gynecology. Physician scientists usually pursue faculty positions that allow them to treat patients as well as conduct lab research.

The program, which will support three scholars every year for five years, is funded by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health. Robert Jaffe, MD, former director of the RSDP, retired. As a result, grant applications were sought for new leadership.


“The goal of this program is to develop a group of physician scientists who will conduct basic science research to address important problems in our field,” said Kelle Moley, MD, the James P. Crane Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and new recipient of the grant. “Giving trainees five years to focus on their research program helps them become successful independent investigators and potential leaders who can make tremendous contributions in obstetrics and gynecology.”

The RSDP includes two phases. In Phase I of the program, scholars spend two to three years in intensive basic science training at research laboratories around the country under the supervision of experienced mentors. In Phase II, scholars spend an additional three years establishing their research programs as junior faculty in departments of obstetrics and gynecology.

“The RSDP is the premier national training program for physician scientists,” said George Macones, MD, the Mitchell and Elaine Yanow Professor and head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the School of Medicine. “The move of this program to Washington University is a testament to the strength of the school and to the leadership of Kelle Moley.”


One of the RSDP scholars this year is at the School of Medicine. Katherine Fuh, MD, is training in the laboratory of Gregory Longmore, MD, professor of medicine. She studies ovarian cancer.

More than 85 reproductive scientists, including Moley (1992-98), have participated in the RSDP since it began in 1988. Four now are chairs of obstetrics and gynecology departments, and nine are division directors or vice chairs within their departments. Sixty-four of these physician scientists have remained in academic medicine.

Applicants from any major medical center within North America may compete for these awards. Inquiries can be directed to Amanda Heflin, the program administrator of this multicenter grant, at or (314) 747-3598.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.