UC Riverside’s School of Medicine (SOM) recently received accreditation for its Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) program.

The OB/GYN residency program will begin matriculating students this upcoming July and will initially consist of four residents. The program will then increase that number by four residents each year until 2020, when there will be a total of 16 residents. Residency programs, one of the final steps for aspiring physicians is a period of training, in which, newly graduated medical students will “spend three to seven years of professional training under the supervision of senior physician educators,” according to the American Medical Association website.

Deborah Deas, dean of the UCR SOM, explained the significance of opening the OB/GYN residency program here at UCR. In an interview with UCR Today, Deas explained that, “For women’s health services, there is a documented shortage of obstetricians and gynecologists in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Creating a new residency program is one of the most effective ways to move the supply of OB/GYNs in the right direction. That is because a strong predictor of physicians’ practice location is where they complete residency training.”

In a phone interview with the Highlander, Leila Magistrado, a fourth-year medical student at SOM, has finished the application portion in the overall process of applying to residency programs, and is currently in the process of interviewing with different programs. She said that her interest and overall motivation in pursuing the OB/GYN field as a whole can be attributed to the “diverse range of experiences” that can be gained in the field. She elaborated by saying that in OB/GYN, “You have the opportunity to build a relationship with your patient in a very important part of their lives.” She also added that the surgical aspect and procedures performed in the field, such as the general gynecological surgeries and more specific procedures like the caesarean section, appealed to her.

Magistrado also resonated with Deas’ goal of providing more women’s health services to the Inland Empire, saying, “It’s always been a passion of mine — fighting for women’s rights, trying to fight for equality for women in terms of healthcare.” With regards to the opening of the UCR SOM’s OB/GYN program, Magistrado was excited to see that her home institution would be opening a program of its own.

Professor and Chair of the SOM’s OB/GYN program Karen Noblett, in an open message and greeting to SOM, is optimistic about the developing program, saying, “As we look forward to matching our first class of four residents, we are looking for special individuals who have a pioneering spirit and are excited at the prospect of creating a legacy of excellence.” She added how unique the UCR SOM’s program will be, explaining how, “We have created an innovative curriculum that is not only focused on an outstanding clinical experience, but also on the learning environment which includes extensive simulation training as well as new rotations in integrative medicine and wellness.”

The primary location of the OB/GYN training will occur at the Riverside Community Hospital. However, residents will also have the opportunity to interact with patients in the Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Fontana, the Planned Parenthood Health Center in San Bernardino and in the UCR Women’s Health Clinic. And for Magistrado, she believes that this unique feature of the program will definitely provide more exposure and experience for the residents. Additionally, the curriculum being offered in the program will provide residents the opportunity to spend rotations in other related departments, such as the emergency department, that OB/GYN residents will be collaborating with.

Magistrado hopes to continue building her critical thinking skills during her residency, as well as “improving patient care to further build my bedside manner,” as well as developing the skills to ultimately be an independent provider in the future.