Residency Specialty Spotlight: Obstetrics and Gynecology


The global conversation about the importance of women’s health is more prominent than ever before. In many countries around the world, both the medical community and the public are raising awareness about reproductive issues, embracing innovative treatment strategies, and fighting to increase access for all women. If you want to dedicate your medical career to advancing women’s health, Obstetrics and Gynecology may be the residency specialty area for you. As an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN), you would have the opportunity to spend every day working to support women’s health and wellness. Read on to learn more about starting your career in this challenging, dynamic field as a foreign medical graduate.

What It Means to Be an OB/GYN

The work of an OB/GYN centers on women’s reproductive health. That means much of your practice would be associated with pregnancy care. You might be involved in helping women address fertility issues as they try to get pregnant, making sure they stay healthy throughout their pregnancy, contributing to a successful labor and delivery process, and providing post-partum reproductive care to help them recover after the baby is born. However, you should also be aware that not all of your patients will be pregnant women. As a OB/GYN, you will also be prepared to diagnose and treat hormonal conditions in women across their lifespan–from early adolescence to late menopause–even in cases where the woman has no interest in getting pregnant at all.

It is important to note that work in obstetrics and gynecology can often be much more intimate than work in other specialty areas, like surgery or anesthesiology. As an OB/GYN, you will usually develop long-term relationships with your patients, and you are called to serve as a counselor for women who are making important family planning choices that shape the rest of their lives. Therefore, if your medical interests extend beyond reproductive anatomy and physiology into the field of psychology, a job as an OB/GYN may be particularly appealing.

The Road to Becoming an OB/GYN

A residency program in Obstetrics and Gynecology lasts for four years. Over the course of a program, you will have the opportunity to gain extensive experience in every aspect of women’s health. In some programs, you may also have the opportunity to focus your work in a particular subspecialty area of interest, such as reproductive endocrinology, infertility, urogynecology, maternal fetal medicine, gynecologic oncology, or pediatric gynecology. Some programs also offer basic, translational, or clinical research opportunities in these and other women’s health-related topics.

Alternatively, if you are particularly interested in the genetic components of women’s reproductive health, you may start your residency in an OB/GYN residency program and complete it in Medical Genetics residency program. As genetic counseling becomes an increasingly prominent field, more US-based programs are offering this as an option for residents. In order to fulfill the requirements for a Medical Genetics residency, you would spend your first two years in an OB/GYN program and the remaining two years in a Medical Genetics program. This is an ideal track for foreign medical graduates who are particularly interested in research and/or practice related to the genetic aspects of family planning and female reproductive health.

Getting Matched to a Residency Program in Obstetrics and Gynecology

Given the nature of the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology, you might automatically assume that you can only get matched to a residency program if you’re female. However, that may not be the case! While it is true that most residents who match to OB/GYN programs are female–about 82 percent, according to a 2017 report from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists–it’s largely because so few men apply. In fact, according to recent reporting from National Public Radio, some residency programs actually look for passionate, dedicated male applicants who are ready to make a contribution to the field. Having a male OB/GYN on staff gives female patients more options–and increasing patient choice is a major goal in women’s healthcare today.

Regardless of your gender, one of the ways you can show a residency program that you are ready to take on a challenging career as an OB/GYN is by completing a graduate externship in the field. As a foreign medical graduate, it can be helpful to familiarize yourself with women’s reproductive healthcare in the United States before you apply for your residency. Not only can the experience add weight to the enthusiasm you express in your personal statement and your interviews, but it can also help you start building a network of connections in the field, including potential reference letter-writers.
No matter what specialty area you plan to pursue, FMG Portal is here to help you get matched to the US medical residency program of your dreams! Contact us today for more information!

What to Do After Your Residency Interview: The Follow-Up Email


After you finish an interview for a US medical residency program, you’re probably ready to breathe a sigh of relief and take some time to relax. Even though most residency interviews only last one or two days, an interview can be a whirlwind experience–in which you are constantly under pressure to make a good impression, while also trying to figure out whether or not the program is the right fit for you. Successfully getting through the interview day(s) is no easy task, but when you leave, you’re not quite done yet. As soon as the interview is over, you need to start thinking about sending follow up emails to your interviewers and your other contacts at the program. Read on for more information about writing a follow-up email after a US medical residency interview.

The Basics of Residency Follow-Ups: When, Who, and How

  • When to follow up. Ideally, you should send follow-up emails within two to three days of your interview. Waiting much longer than that may suggest a lack of interest in the program, which may detract from the positive impression that you worked so hard to make during the interview itself. Plus, it’s best to write the email while the interview experience is still fresh in your mind. That way, you won’t have trouble coming up with the content of the email (see below for tips), and you won’t have to worry about getting your interview experiences at different programs mixed up.
  • Who to follow up with. The question of who to email depends largely on the nature of your interview experience. At the very least, you should send a follow-up email to the program director and anyone with whom you were in contact during the interview preparation process, such as the interview coordinator. For most programs, you will have three to five formal interviews, and it’s best to try to email each one if you can. In addition, you may want to send a follow-up thank-you email to the residents and/or other faculty members who had a meaningful impact on your interview experience. However, don’t just send the a generic email to every single person you met while you were visiting the program. Remember, they all work in the same place, and they are likely to talk to each other!
  • How to get in touch. In the past, many medical residency candidates were advised to follow up with a handwritten letter. However, in the digital age, a professional email is now considered to be acceptable–and it’s probably the preferred method of communication for most of the contacts at your program. In fact, since it can take a long time for the US Postal Service to get the letter to your program–especially if you are sending the letter from abroad–choosing to handwrite your thank-you note instead of sending an email may put you at a disadvantage, because your contacts at the program may notice how long it took you to follow up.

What to Include In Your Follow-Up Email

As a general rule, it’s best to keep your follow up email short and simple. The interviewers and program coordinators will probably be excited to hear from you, but they’re also professionals with busy schedules. Therefore, you should limit your email to two to three paragraphs. Here are a few of the most important things to include:

  • A sincere thank you. Remember, this email is primarily a thank-you note. More than anything, you should express your gratitude for the opportunity to visit the facility and learn more about the program. On the program’s side, there’s a lot of work that goes into setting up your interview, so coordinators, interviewers, and currents residents will appreciate your acknowledgement.
  • An expression of genuine interest in the program. Even though the official interview process is over, you still want to indicate your interest in the program, which can increase your likelihood of getting matched. In your email, try to point out a few specific aspects of the interview experience that stood out to you and truly shaped your perspective on the program. That way, you can clearly demonstrate that you truly appreciate what the program has to offer for you as a potential resident.
  • Any additional questions you may have. Throughout the interview days, there are lots of opportunities to ask questions, but if a question came up as you were reflecting on the experience, the follow-up email presents a great opportunity to ask. Not only does it signal to your contact that you are still seriously considering the program, but it also allows you to get the answers you need, well in advance of the deadline for your ROL.



Need more tips for medical residency interview success? FMG Portal offers everything foreign medical graduates need to successfully match to a US medical residency program. Contact us today for more information!