- To support the advancement and leadership of women in academic medicine
- To promote education and research in women’s health
Women’s Health Scholar Certificate
|The Women's Health Scholar (WHS) Certificate Program|
Scheduled meetings (required)
The Women's Health Scholar (WHS) Certificate Program, established in 2006, provides concentrated experiences for medical students in women's health spanning research, clinical training, and community outreach. It is jointly sponsored by the FOCUS program and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Below is a brief outline of the four components necessary for completion of a Women's Health Scholar Certificate. Since the first component, the Women's Health Intensive, involves summer between the first and second year of medical school, it is important to consider this opportunity by late Spring of the first year in order to be able to complete all four components. For more information, please contact: Patricia Scott.
Goal: To provide concentrated experiences for medical students (men and women) in women's health* -- spanning research, clinical training and community outreach. (*women's health defined broadly)
WHS Certificate Committee: Deborah Driscoll MD, Stephanie Abbuhl MD, Hillary Bogner MD MSCE, Lucy W. Tuton PhD, Courtney Schreiber MD MPH, Patricia Scott, and Susan Primavera
Four Requirements: <<download pdf document >>
Please take special note: It is the student's responsibility to notify Susan Primavera within the month following completion of any of the four program components below, in order to have credit applied toward this Certificate.
I) Intensive Summer Experience in Women's Health
6 to 8 weeks during the summer between first and second year.
Choose one of the following two options:
A. Bridging the Gaps: Community Health Internship Program (CHIP)<link>
Project must be at a women’s health/maternal or child related site
Please contact: Ellen Martinak, MS
Required reporting handled through the BTG program.
B. Independent, Mentored Women’s Health Research Project
Find a mentor- Create a proposal- Obtain approval.
For additional guidance about research opportunities and for approval of your project idea/proposal,
Please contact: Courtney Schreiber, MD MPH
Required proposal and reporting (for option B only)
To obtain credit for this component, within the month following completion of this summer intensive experience, please notify: Susan Primavera.
II) Seminar Attendance related to Women's Health
Attendance at 12 seminars (minimum), or equivalent* between 1st year and mid-December of final year of medical school
Seminar requirements can be completed through:
- Grand Rounds in the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Endocrinology, Medicine, Center for Research on Reproduction and Women’s Health, and other Department/Division presentations focused on women’s health
- FOCUS Lunchtime Seminars or other program presentations that are relevant to women's health
- Outside presentations pertaining to women’s health at meetings or conferences at any location (e.g., professional meetings and societies)
- *Completion of either of "Public Health Perspectives in Family Planning and Population Health" (taught by Drs. Schreiber and Bennett) or "Contemporary Issues in Maternal Child Health" (taught by Dr. Bennett) – offerings from the MPH Program- will fulfill 8 seminars of this component requirement.
Seminar attendance must be tracked using the grid indicated below.
For more information and to be placed on email notification list for Grand Rounds,
Please contact: Marian Rossi
Required tracking for reporting
- Seminar Attendance Tracking Grid <download grid>
Students must submit a detailed list of all seminars attended (see grid above that includes date, presenter(s), seminar title, location, and brief description of each) to Marian Rossi.
III) Elective in Women's Health
1 month – Prerequisite: Obstetrics & Gynecology clerkship
A one month elective in women’s health can be satisfied by taking any one of the elective options described below. The committee is also willing to consider other electives but these will require prior approval by the committee.
For information or to make arrangements to participate in any of the electives below,
Please contact: Gene Coletta
A. The elective in Maternal Child Health (Fam 350) -- or -- Any elective in the UME course catalogue listed under:
Obstetrics & Gynecology -- Breast Imaging or Women's Imaging in Radiology -- Breast Surgery in Surgery
B. One of the following three additional elective options (see details of each below):
Penn Health at Radnor -- Women’s and Children’s Health Services at Pennsylvania Hospital -- Family Planning
- Penn Health for Women at Radnor
Coordinators: Dr. Ann Honebrink, Director of Penn Health for Women, and Dr. Allison Oler, internist
Description: Penn Health for Women is an interdisciplinary program dedicated to providing the highest quality health care to women of all ages. Comprehensive services are provided in one convenient location by a team of gynecologists, obstetricians, internists, pediatric & adolescent gynecologist, urogynecologist, reproductive endocrinologists, breast surgeon, psychologists, and nutritionist. Special programs including yoga, Pilates, weight control & sleep disorders. Close collaborative relationship with other available services on site such as radiology, dermatology, cardiology and GI.
Objective: To expose the student to multi-disciplinary, collaborative approaches to primary health care for women. Students will have an opportunity to participate in patient care with different team members as well as meet with the Director of Operations and Patient Services and the practice manager to gain an appreciation of management issues.
-- To understand the benefits of a multi-disciplinary approach to Women’s Health care
-- To understand the components of appropriate preventive care for women
-- To appreciate the administrative challenges and benefits of operating a multi-disciplinary ambulatory program
Availability: All months except July, August and October.
- Women’s and Children’s Health Services at Pennsylvania Hospital
Coordinator: Dr. Jack Ludmir, Chair of ObGyn at Pennsylvania Hospital
Description: Women’s and Children’s Health Services (WCHS) is a not-for profit organization located on the Pennsylvania Hospital campus dedicated to providing health care services to women of all ages from our community and surrounding areas. Most of our patients are underserved and enjoy coming to WCHS because of our reputation for excellence in a caring environment. Health services include: family planning, prenatal care, colposcopy and adolescent gynecology. The care is provided by a team of physicians, nurses, social workers, and nutritionists. Recently, WCHS has been working together with “Puentes de Salud.” This is a voluntary organization of Penn medical students, nurses and physicians, providing routine gynecologic care and prenatal care to the growing community of Mexican immigrants in South Philadelphia who are otherwise unable to get access to health care.
Objective: To familiarize the student to gynecologic and obstetric issues faced by women from underserved and diverse populations. The student will have the opportunity to be an active participant in the care of these women, and have exposure to the challenges and dilemmas in providing health care to them.
- Family Planning
Coordinators: Drs. Courtney Schreiber and Steve Sondheimer, Director of Family Planning
Description: Penn Family Planning and Pregnancy Loss Center provide a full range of contraceptive choices, option counseling, as well as medications and surgical abortion care.
Objectives: To expose students to family planning and abortion services in the Family Planning and Pregnancy Loss Program. Students will participate in patient care, as well as meet with counselors, lawyers, and others involved in the provision of abortion service in Philadelphia.
-- To understand each of the contraceptive choices available, including benefits, efficacy, counseling issues, and contraindications.
-- To understand options counseling and its components
-- To understand the components of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act
-- To learn about abortion services in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia
-- To understand the components of medications and surgical abortion
To obtain credit for this component, within the month following completion of the one month elective, please contact Susan Primavera.
IV) Scholarly Pursuit Project in Women's Health
3 months* minimum
Find a mentor - Create a proposal - Obtain approval
See ideas of projects and faculty mentors (not necessarily current) listed here.
- The FOCUS Medical Student Fellowship (6 months) or other approved funded research experience (e.g. Doris Duke) can fulfill this requirement
- A Master's thesis focused on women's health can fulfill this requirement if topic approved by WHS Certificate Committee
For guidance about research opportunities and for approval of your project idea/proposal,
please contact: Hillary R. Bogner MD MSCE
For general information about this component and the FOCUS Fellowship,
please contact: Patricia Scott
Required proposal and reporting
- Project proposal <download form>
- Final report <download form>
- Mentor evaluation (student completes) <download form>
- Student evaluation (mentor completes) <download form>
To obtain credit for this component, within the month following completion of the scholarly pursuit project, please contact Susan Primavera.
*Within the month following completion of any of the four program components above, students must notify Susan Primavera in order to receive credit toward this Certificate.