Complex Family Planning Advanced Training Program

Program Overview

The University of Michigan’s advanced training program in Complex Family Planning is a two-year program in which trainees gain skills in family planning patient care, research, and advocacy. The University of Michigan is known for its commitment to interdisciplinary training and scholarship. Achieving contraception and abortion access for all who want it, and achieving a larger vision of reproductive justice, require broad, interdisciplinary strategies and collaborations. Therefore, we have assembled faculty and opportunities that cross boundaries between the Medical School, School of Public Health, and many individual departments and programs within the College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts and beyond, as well as advocacy and community organizations. While the Complex Family Planning Advanced Training Program is housed in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, it is very much a program of the University as a whole, and fellows will have the resources of the entire institution available to them.

The overarching goal of the Advanced Training Program is to help trainees connect with their sense of purpose, identify a vision for their family planning career, and gain the skills needed to begin their path to that career.

Core Program Components

Clinical Training

Trainees will learn to provide all contraceptive methods currently available as well as all methods of medication and surgical termination of pregnancy in the first and second trimester. Our program emphasizes contraception and abortion care in medically-complicated patients, and trainees will become experts in triaging complex family planning referrals, managing abortion care in patients with placentation abnormalities, coordinating care for hospitalized patients (including in intensive care unit settings), and caring for patients with a wide range of other complex family planning patient needs. Fellows will spend a total of 2-3 days per week engaged in clinical activities.

Clinical work will take place primarily at the Michigan Medicine Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital and several local family planning care centers.

Research Opportunities

All Trainees receive robust training in research methods and conduct an original research project on any topic in family planning.  Historically our trainees have developed their own projects, growing from their own particular interests, and taking advantage of the wide interest in family planning topics in disciplines across the University of Michigan's campus. We are committed to fellows completing and publishing their research projects. Some fellows chose a project that is closely aligned with family planning faculty research. While this sometimes helps facilitate research completion, fellows can nevertheless conduct any project they feel passionate about and that is feasible in the program time frame.  Projects can involve original data collection and analysis or secondary data analysis. They can be qualitative or quantitative in nature or use other novel methodologies. Trainees could readily work with demographers and sociologists to analyze large population databases; anthropologists to conduct ethnographic research locally or internationally; policy experts and attorneys to examine the impact of abortion or contraception legislation; economists to do econometric or cost analyses of various aspects of reproductive medicine, and medical school faculty to conduct clinical or quality improvement investigation.

Trainees will have access to the University of Michigan’s robust research infrastructure, which includes excellent pre- and post-grant award support, as well as a variety of centers and specialized research programs, including:

Trainees and Program Directors will work together to tailor the trainee’s research experience to their individual interests and career goals, and to find the appropriate research mentorship team.  

Expert Mentorship

Mentorship is at the heart of our program, and  takes place in both formal and informal ways.  Through the summer months, the first year fellow meets at least weekly with one or both Program Directors, to orient them to the program, their work, and to help develop a research project proposal.  Regular bi-weekly to monthly meetings occur after that. The Program Directors will help the fellow organize a three-person mentor team. This team will consist of one of the Program Directors, an expert in the topic/content area of the trainee’s research, and an expert in the methodologies being used in the project. 

Outside of formal mentoring meetings, trainees have nearly daily contact with the fellowship faculty, in clinical work, didactic sessions, administrative meetings, and because our offices are all co-located in a small family planning pod.  All faculty welcome informal meetings and questions at any time.  Fellows may be able to participate in physician coaching as well, part of our leadership and resilience programming.

Michigan Medicine Didactic Curriculum

In addition to research training, our Program has a didactic teaching program that ensures trainees are up to date on the most current research and literature on important topics in contraception, abortion, and family planning care of medically complex patients.

In addition to family planning-specific didactics, we promote cross-specialty learning across all fellowship and advanced training programs. The University of Michigan Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology is home to ten ACGME and non-ACGME accredited fellowships in obstetrics and gynecology. Fellows across all programs participate in a Common Fellow Curriculum, which consists of twice-yearly half-day didactic sessions, focussing on issues that fellows in any specialty have in common. In addition, the department sponsors social events for fellows and advanced trainees across all specialties to further encourage collaboration and to help fellows build both a professional and personal network. 

We are also committed to advocacy education.  This takes place through a novel didactic curriculum on evidence based physician communication, as well as through (to the extent desired)  active participation in media interviews, legislative testimony, participation in amicus briefs, and attendance at advocacy events sponsored by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Physicians for Reproductive Health. 

Trainees also are able to spend two months engaged in an elective of their choosing.  This could be clinical in nature, or focused on research, advocacy, working in a low-resource setting domestically or internationally, or another activity that is important to the trainees future path.

Application Information

  • Completion of an ACGME accredited residency program 

  • Completion of all three USMLE exams

Due to Department of Labor prevailing wage regulations, we are unable to consider applicants that possess any type of visa.

Applicants submit their applications via the Society for Family Planning Website.

Applications for 2021 are currently closed. 

Program Leadership

Lisa Harris, MD, PhD

Program Director

Vanessa K. Dalton, MD, MPH

Associate Program Director

Meghan Seewald, MA

Research and Administrative Manager
L4000 University Hospital South
1500 East Medical Center Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5276