Women’s Health Track

  • The Women’s Health Track (WH track)–the first of its kind—was established in 1994 by Dr. Melissa McNeil for residents with a strong interest in developing expertise in health issues that are unique to women, are more common in women, and present differently in women.

Components of training in this program include the following:

Comprehensive Internal Medicine: First and foremost, residents in this track are trained as internal medicine physicians and spend the same amount of time on wards and in intensive care units as other residents in the categorical residency program. Our residents also have ample opportunity to rotate through subspecialty electives during their 3 years of training.

Focus on Women’s Health: WH track residents will practice their outpatient clinical duties in one of two specialized comprehensive women’s health centers, and will be precepted by faculty specifically trained in women’s health. Residents will also rotate through specialized 4-week WH electives including Magee-Women’s Hospital Emergency Department, Adolescent Medicine, and 3 dedicated WH ambulatory rotations with access to multiple subspecialty clinics. There is a core WH didactic curriculum for all interns and an additional advanced women’s health didactic curriculum for all WH track residents. The Section of Women’s Health also hosts a lunch lecture conference series once a week that provides a collaborative learning opportunity between internal medicine, OBGYN, and the Center for Innovative Research on Gender Health Equity (CONVERGE). 

Routine Breast and Gynecologic Care: Residents develop expertise in breast exams, pelvic exams, cervical cancer screening, family planning, preconception counseling, post-partum care, management of menstrual dysfunction, vaginitis, menopause, interpersonal violence, and sexual trauma. Residents will also be exposed to a variety of procedures including endometrial biopsy, colposcopy, nexplanon, and IUD insertion.

Preventive Counseling: This training prepares residents to counsel patients about current issues in women’s health, such as mammography screening, hormone therapy, and other preventive health needs.

Focus on Mental Health: Residents are trained to diagnose and manage mental health conditions common to women and to understand the relationship of these conditions to medical illness and the hormonal state. Topics such as depression, anxiety disorders, somatization, substance use, and post-partum depression are included.

Gender Affirming Care: Our faculty proudly care for a gender-diverse patient population. Residents will learn how to manage gender-affirming medications and provide comprehensive medical, preventive, reproductive, and affirming care for these patients. 

Exceptional Mentorship: Residents are paired with a dedicated women’s health faculty advisor upon entering internship. In addition to their MD training, all women’s health faculty have received a graduate degree (Master’s in Medical Education, Master’s in Clinical Research, or Master’s in Public Health), and have specific training in all aspects of clinical women’s health. This is a close community of faculty; all residents benefit both from their personal and professional relationship with their direct mentor, and the mentorship provided by the group, which occurs formally and informally throughout the 3 years of residency.

Our graduates have excelled in general and subspecialty careers alike. Residents completing the WH track have joined practices to provide gender-specific care, matched into women’s health/general internal medicine fellowships, and have defined women’s health niches for themselves in every major medicine subspecialty, including cardiology, gastroenterology, hematology/oncology, nephrology, endocrinology, rheumatology, and pulmonary/critical care medicine.

The Department of Medicine offers several positions in the Women’s Health Track each year. For additional information about this track, please contact Dr. Sarah Tilstra. For more information about general application procedures, visit our How to Apply page. For a printable pdf overview of the Women’s Health Track, please click here.

Women’s Health Track

5-6 Months of Inpatient Floors
* 3-4 Months General Medicine
* 1-2 Months specialty floors (Cardiology, Hematology/Oncology)

1 Month Medical ICU or CCU

1 Month Ambulatory Block

1-2 Months Electives

1 Month Magee-Women's Hospital ED

2 Weeks Night Float

Continuity clinic 1 full day per week every other month (elective month)

4 Months of Inpatient Floors
* 2 Months General Medicine
* 1-2 Months specialty floors (Cardiology, Hematology/Oncology)

1-2 Months ICU (Medical ICU or CCU)

2 Women's Health Ambulatory rotation

1 Month Outpatient Geriatrics

3-4 Months Electives

1 Month Night Float

Continuity clinic 1 full day per week every other month (elective month)

3-4 Months of Inpatient Floors
* 2 Months General Medicine
* 1-2 Months specialty floors (Cardiology, Hematology/Oncology)

1-2 Months ICU (Medical ICU or CCU)

1 Women's Health Ambulatory

1 Women's Health Adolescent Medicine

2-3 Months Electives

1 Month Outpatient Geriatrics

Continuity clinic 1 full day per week every other month (elective month)

Sarah Tilstra, MD, MS

Director, Women’s Health Track

Deborah DiNardo, MD, MS

Director, VA Pittsburgh Advanced Fellowship in Women’s Health

Melissa McNeil, MD, MPH

Dr. McNeil founded the Women’s Health Track and was leader in it until she retired in 2021.

“The women’s health track provided me with both great internal medicine training as well as in-depth experience with women’s health issues. The program has allowed me to feel comfortable discussing and treating a wide variety of female specific medical concerns. The best part about participating in the women’s health track, was meeting invaluable mentors along the way. They not only guided and inspired me throughout residency, but continue to provide me with career advice today.”

Rachel Vanderberg, MD

Women's Health Track