The Ohio State University College of Medicine Fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology

This 3-year fellowship program consists of one year of research followed by two years of clinical training.

The goal of the Ohio State University Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship is to train gynecologic oncologists who are exemplary physicians to care for and provide consultation and comprehensive management to patients with gynecologic cancer. This is accomplished through training fellows to be 1) surgeons, who are able to manage a full range of technical surgical issues and complex medical problems that arise in women with gynecologic cancers; 2) teachers, who can transmit the information learned during their fellowships to the patients they manage as well as to other medical personnel (i.e. obstetrician/gynecologists); and, 3) researchers, whose investigation of the clinical and basic scientific questions will lead to improved outcomes in women with gynecologic cancers.

Each year we interview many qualified candidates for fellowship from around the country competing for one position per year in our program.​​

Fellowship Director: Ritu Salani, MD, MBA

Mailing address:
The Ohio State University College of Medicine
320 W. 10th Ave.
M210 Starling Loving
Columbus, Ohio 43210
Telephone: 614-293-7642

Fax: 614-366-7942

Fellowship Coordinator: Jan Testa (

Prerequisites: Satisfactory completion of an ACGME approved OB/GYN residency program

Please include in your application:

A. Updated Curriculum Vitae

B. Letters of recommendation from the following:
   1. Chairman of your department
   2. Residency director of your department
   3. Division director
   4. A fourth letter of recommendation from an individual of your choice

C. CREOG scores

D. Any other fellowship scores (e.g., Rutledge, Galloway) 

Deadline for Applications: April 30th accepted through ERAS

The Ohio State University College of Medicine Gynecologic Oncology Faculty:

Floor Backes, MD
David Cohn, MD, Fellowship Director, Division Director
Larry Copeland, MD
Jeffrey Fowler, MD
David O’Malley, MD
Ritu Salani, MD, MBA

Current Fellows:

Caroline Billingsley, MD, 3rd year (clinical), from Medical University of South Carolina
Kristin Bixel, MD, 1st year (research)
Adam ElNaggar, MD, 2nd year (clinical) from University of Tennessee, Memphis
Blair Smith, MD, 1st year (research)
JJ Wallbillich, MD, 2nd year (clinical) from University of Texas, Houston

Recent Fellow Publication​s/Presentations​​​​​


The research fellow is expected to either develop an independent research focus or integrate their interests into an existing collaborative research path within the Division of Gynecologic Oncology. Current basic science research projects include 1) immunology and vaccine research in ovarian cancer (specifically peptide design and anti-angiogenic therapy, research by a faculty member in collaboration with PhD immunologist); 2) molecular biology of endometrial cancer (specifically DNA mismatch repair and epigenetic gene silencing, collaboration with PhD molecular biologists); 3) molecular profiling of ovarian cancer (specifically pharmacogenomics, collaboration with PhD molecular biologist); 4) cervical cancer susceptibility (specifically investigation of polymorphisms in TGFBR1); and 5) the role of chemoprevention against cervical cancer (specifically using freeze dried black raspberry extracts).

The Division also has strong clinical research interests focusing on novel therapeutics as well as outcomes research focusing on population science and health disparities (collaboration with PhD population scientists). During the research year, whether the focus is on clinical or basic science, the education of the fellow will be in the development and execution of a research plan based on the scientific method. At OSU and through the Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Division has established extremely successful research collaborations that continue to expand. Throughout the fellowship, the fellows will perform mentored clinical research as projects evolve. Mentorship will be provided by the faculty who is supervising the research.

Clinical Training

Fellows will be operating with faculty surgeons as the primary surgeon or first assistant, or as the primary surgeon with residents as the first assistant and the faculty member as the second assistant. Since each fellow enters their clinical fellowship years with varying levels of skill and previous experience, there is no formal progression of responsibility as the fellow advances from their junior to senior clinical year. Toward the end of the junior and through the senior clinical year, it is expected that, with experience, the fellow will assume more of a primary surgical role. The primary inpatient management will be the responsibility of the clinical fellows. The level of responsibility in patient management should be constant throughout the clinical fellowship years, but the amount of input from the faculty regarding daily management may vary based on the fellows’ prior experience.

Surgical Experience

Members of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology provide comprehensive services for patients diagnosed with gynecologic malignancies, including radical pelvic surgery, pelvic and vaginal reconstruction, advanced laparoscopic and robotic surgery, and care for complications of diseases and treatments. The following are some of the unique clinical services available in the Division:

1. Minimally Invasive Surgery:

a. Advanced laparoscopic surgery in gynecologic oncology has been performed at Ohio State since the 1990s, and continues to play a major role in the surgical management of gynecologic cancer patients.

b. Robotic Surgery – Drs. Fowler, Cohn, O’Malley, Eisenhauer and Salani are certified to perform robotic surgery. To date, we have performed over 600 major robotic surgical cases, including approximately 500 endometrial cancer staging surgeries. This volume establishes the James as one of the leading centers for gynecologic oncology robotic surgery in the country.

2. Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT): A dedicated linear accelerator in our cancer operating rooms makes it possible for selected patients to receive advanced radical pelvic surgeries in combination with intraoperative radiation therapy. This technique has been utilized in patients undergoing exenterative procedures, as well as those undergoing lymph node debulking for recurrent gynecologic cancers.

3. Pelvic reconstructive surgery: Members of the division of gynecologic oncology perform these procedures, including myocutaneous vaginal reconstruction.

4. Urologic and bowel surgeries: Faculty in the division of gynecologic oncology perform these procedures, which include continent urinary diversion.

Didactic Education

Formal didactic education within the Division includes:

- Monthly morbidity and mortality review
- Monthly Departmental Journal Club
- Monthly Divisional Journal Club
- Weekly Gynecologic Oncology Tumor Board
- Weekly Oncology Fellows’ Lecture Series

Journal Club occurs monthly where fellows promote scholarly discussion from pre-selected topics.

Grand Rounds occurs once a week and are presented by fellows, faculty and occasional visiting professors.

Tumor Board occurs once a week where fellows are in charge of selecting patients to be reviewed by a multidisciplinary group of oncologists, pathologists and radiation oncologist for review and discussion of findings, treatment plan, and continued management.

Other Information

Ohio Medical License: The application process should be started immediately after you have been accepted as a fellow. It can take as long as 6 months for the Ohio Medical License process to be completed. Go to and you will also need a Federation Credentials Verification Service application (FCVS) Both of these websites are self explanatory with the license requirements and application.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) 460 W. 10th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210 Phone: 1-800-293-5066 | Email: