Abortion Training in United States Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Programs

Eastwood, Katherine L. MD1; Kacmar, Jennifer E. MD1; Steinauer, Jody MD, MAS2; Weitzen, Sherry PhD1; Boardman, Lori A. MD, ScM1

Obstetrics & Gynecology:
doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000224705.79818.c9
Original Research

OBJECTIVE: To identify characteristics of programs which provide training in abortion, to calculate the number of procedures done during training, and to compare the availability of abortion training in 2004 with that of prior national surveys.

METHODS: An investigator-designed questionnaire about abortion training in obstetrics and gynecology residency programs was mailed to all U.S. residency directors. Collected data included program information, abortion training, and numbers of residents trained. Data were analyzed to estimate differences in abortion training by region, program size, and type of training offered.

RESULTS: Of the 252 questionnaires mailed, 185 (73%) were returned. Of the 185, 94 (51%) program directors reported routine instruction in elective abortion, 72 (39%) optional training, and 19 (10%) no training. Large programs and programs located in the Northeast and West Coast were significantly more likely to offer routine training in terminations (P < .01). In the programs offering routine training, more than 50% of residents received instruction in termination practices. Of those practices, the most common were first-trimester surgical abortion (85% of programs), followed by medical abortion (59%), second-trimester induction (51% of programs), and dilation and extraction (36%). As compared with those in programs with optional training, residents in programs with routine training were significantly more likely to receive instruction in all modalities of abortion provision and performed proportionally more first- and second-trimester terminations (P < .01).

CONCLUSION: Routine training in elective abortion resulted in greater exposure to abortion practices and greater experience in more complicated abortion techniques during residency.


In Brief

Routine, as compared with optional, training in elective termination during residency resulted in greater exposure to abortion practices and experience in more complicated abortion techniques.

Author Information

From the 1Women and Infants’ Hospital of Rhode Island, Brown Medical School, Providence, Rhode Island; and 2University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California.

See related article on page 309.

Presented in part at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Professors of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Council on Residency Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Salt Lake City, Utah, March 2–5, 2005.

Corresponding author: Lori A. Boardman, MD, ScM, 101 Dudley Street, Providence RI 02906; e-mail: lboardman@wihri.org.

© 2006 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists