MacDonald Years — Education

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Central to the Green Center’s mission was teaching. In the decade between 1975 and 1985, the Green Center and its affiliated departmental laboratories provided predoctoral, postdoctoral, and health care professional career opportunity training for more than 200 individuals from 26 countries.

Given its research emphasis on the initiation of human labor, the Green Center was a natural venue for training M.D. postdoctoral fellows in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. But the Center also trained postdoctoral fellows in the Ob/Gyn subspecialties of gynecologic oncology and maternal-fetal medicine.

Other trainees included M.D.s and Ph.D.s from the Departments of Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Pharmacology, and Physiology, making the Green Center a diverse learning environment.

Training was funded in part by the Cecil H. and Ida Green Training International Scholars Program, the Cecil H. and Ida Green Health Profession Career Opportunities Training Program, and National Institutes of Health (NIH) T-32 Training Grant in the Physiology of Reproduction. Additional support was provided by investigator NIH-R01 grants and the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Pharmacology, and Physiology.

Dr. MacDonald describes the teaching mission of the Green Center in the following excerpt.

Training Program

Karen Bradshaw, M.D., now a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Surgery, participates in a conference circa 1986..

An important goal of the Center is to provide opportunities to pre- and postdoctoral fellows and visiting scholars for the conduct of basic research in the reproductive biology sciences. The training program is designed as a multidisciplinary experience in which trainees with diverse educational backgrounds commonly work side-by-side in the performance of their research projects.

In the conduct of cooperative scientific investigations, an excellent opportunity for the exchange of information between basic and clinical scientists in training is provided. The faculty of the Center supervise and participate in the design, execution, and evaluation of the research projects of each trainee.

Teaching is emphasized by way of didactic, structured lecture series, formal seminars and research conferences, graduate school courses, and informal consultation among preceptors and trainees.

Teaching is emphasized by way of the preparation of the trainees to be teachers. The fundamental skills of manuscript and abstract preparation are addressed in detail; proper techniques for the preparation of audiovisual materials are presented; and, instruction is provided in the skills of public speaking.

Reproductive Endocrinology Training

Subspecialty training is offered to obstetrician-gynecologists in accordance with the purposes and objectives of the Division of Endocrinology of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The training program in reproductive endocrinology encompasses the teaching of:

  • The principles of the physiology and pathophysiology of reproductive biology
  • The fundamentals for diagnosis and management of endocrinopathies of women
  • The diagnosis and medical and surgical management of problems of infertility.
E. William Byrd, Ph.D., with Clare Edman, M.D., circa 1986

Opportunities are presented for the participation of the trainees in microsurgical procedures and in the acquisition of skills in the techniques of in vitro fertilization. Many women and men with infertility and other reproductive endocrinologic disorders are evaluated; and, many are ideal subjects for in-depth investigations designed to define the pathophysiology of a given disorder. Training in the skills of student teaching and in the supervision of house officers in training is an important consideration in this program.

In this training experience, basic research is emphasized. The complexities of reproductive biology are those that evolve about the unknown rather than about the current state of the clinical art. Trainees are instructed in the performance of substantive biomedical investigations in which the design and conduct of experimental procedures and the critical evaluation and interpretation of the data obtained are emphasized.

The goal of the educational experience for each trainee is to provide the knowledge and experience as well as the motivation necessary for the attainment of a successful and satisfying career in academic medicine.

The multidisciplinary approach that we take in the conduct of research in the Center also is fundamental to the philosophy of the training program. The art of communication is emphasized–the ability of scientists of various disciplines to communicate effectively is the cornerstone of successful, cooperative, multidisciplinary research; and, this, we believe, is the cornerstone of ideal postdoctoral training.

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