Original Research Article| Volume 123, 110005, July 2023

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Complex Family Planning fellowship graduates’ intended practice plans and barriers to practicing in areas of unmet need



      To describe practice patterns and challenges encountered by Complex Family Planning (CFP) fellowship graduates.

      Study design

      We invited all 110 obstetrics and gynecology physicians who graduated from the CFP fellowship from 2017–2020 via email to complete an anonymous online survey. We inquired about demographics, intended and obtained postfellowship positions, and successes and challenges in obtaining jobs. We used Fisher's exact test to assess if the proportion of graduates who grew up, attended residency, and completed fellowship in a US region (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West) and practiced in that same region differed.


      Ninety-nine (90.0%) graduates completed the survey. When entering fellowship, most (n = 92 [92.9%]) expected to practice in an academic environment. About half (n = 49 [49.5%]) pursued fellowship with the intent to practice in a location with an unmet need for abortion providers, of which 22 (44.9%) did so. Forty-nine (49.5%) respondents did not practice after fellowship where they initially intended, citing common challenges of job availability, family-related concerns, safety concerns, and relationship status changes. We found associations between regions where graduates completed residency and currently practice (p = 0.004), driven primarily by higher associations in the South (76.9%) and West (70.6%) and a lower association in the Midwest (22.7%). We found no association between current practice region and where graduates grew up (p = 0.15) or completed fellowship (p = 0.23).


      CFP fellowship graduates from 2017–2020 primarily intended to practice in academic environments with half planning to practice in underserved locations. However, more than half of those who entered fellowship hoping to fill an unmet need for abortion providers did not do so.


      About half of CFP fellowship graduates from 2017–2020 intended to obtain positions in areas they defined as having an unmet need for abortion provision. Personal life and job barriers prevented many from serving in such positions after fellowship. Practice location intentions and outcomes may be different in a post-Dobbs environment.


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