Portrait of Ryan Spencer
Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, FACOG
Associate Professor (CHS), Residency Program Director, Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Program Director
Gynecologic Oncology

Office Address

UW Hospital and Clinics
H4/646
600 Highland Ave
Madison, WI, 53792

Clinic Address

Gynecology Oncology Clinic
600 Highland Ave
Madison, WI, 53705
Phone: 608-265-1700

Administrative Assistant

B.S. Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
M.D. Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY
Residency Harvard Integrated Residency Program at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
Fellowship University of Wisconsin/University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison, WI
M.S. University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology - General Obstetrics and Gynecology 

American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology - Gynecologic Oncology

Residency Program Director 

Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Program Director

UW Health Rising Star Leadership Award 

UW Health Rising Star Clinical Award Nominee 

OB/GYN Residency Teaching Award,
UW Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology 

SGO/GOG MentorshipProgram Funding Award,
Society of Gynecologic Oncology 

Karl A. Rudat Award,
UW Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

National Rural Health Association 

Society of Gynecologic Oncology 

APGO/CREOG 

American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Fellow 

American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Diplomate 

American Society of Clinical Oncology 

Gold Foundation for Humanism in Medicine Society 

Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society

Dr. Spencer - Research interests

Funding disparities in gynecologic cancers, health care disparities and improvement in quality of care, and quality of life interventions for cancer patients

Residency Program, Rural Residency Track and Resident Research Program

Dr. Spencer became the Residency Program Director in 2019 after spending time as both the associate Program Director of the residency and the Gynecologic Oncology fellowship. He has been the director of the Rural Residency Track since 2018 – the first-of-its-kind ob-gyn program in the country.

He spent a number of years cultivating the Resident Research Program in the department and has developed both the Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Programs for the Ob-Gyn residency and Gynecologic Oncology fellowship, as well as the Wellness Programs for both.

Spencer to become UW Health ADIO

Please help us congratulate Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, associate professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, on a very exciting career development! Spencer has accepted an offer to become the UW Health Associate Designated Institutional Official (ADIO), Graduate Medical Education (GME). Dr. Spencer will take on this new .25FTE role on July 1, 2024.

As ADIO, Spencer will help provide oversight and administration of each of UW Health’s ACGME-accredited programs, ensuring compliance with the ACGME institutional, common, and specialty- and subspecialty-specific program requirements. Among other responsibilities, Spencer will serve on the UW Health Graduate Medical Education Committee, share best practices across the UW Health GME community, provide oversight and monitoring of individual program Annual Program Evaluations and Accreditation Data System updates, and much more. He will be an integral part of ensuring that GME programs support the UW Health mission of delivering Remarkable Healthcare that is high-quality, efficient, and satisfying for patients, providers, and staff.

The ADIO role required previous GME leadership, with which Spencer has ample experience. Spencer served as director of the Department of Ob-Gyn Residency Program from 2019-2023. During his time as Residency Program Director, Spencer led the residency through uniquely challenging times, including the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty of the Dobbs decision. He has also been the Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Director since 2022.

In addition to the GME leadership roles Spencer has held in our department, he has also been a regional and national leader in rural ob-gyn training: he has been the director of the UW Ob-Gyn Rural Residency Track since 2018 and became the Central Hub Lead for HRSA’s Rural Residency Program Technical Assistance Center, which guides new rural residency training programs through development and sustainability, since 2021.

Thankfully, we will not lose Spencer’s exceptional educational leadership: he will continue to serve as the Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Director and the Director of the Rural Residency Track for the foreseeable future.

Spencer’s long-demonstrated dedication to improving the GME programs and experience in our department make him uniquely well-suited to this institutional leadership role. Congratulations, Dr. Spencer!

Rural Ob-Gyn Residency mentioned in UW SMPH article

A new story from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health highlights several programs aimed at increasing the number of physicians practicing in rural parts of the state. Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, Associate Professor (CHS) in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, explained the importance of the UW Department of Ob-Gyn Rural Residency Track in the article. 

In “Training doctors for rural practice helps meet statewide need,” Spencer and other experts in the field discuss the need for greater access to medical resources in rural communities and the need for more rural training programs. They also walked through many of the duties and benefits for being a medical resident within a rural setting:

“We are in a challenging situation. The number of obstetric providers in rural areas is dropping and we have to work hard now on rural training, or it’s going to be monumentally worse in the next 5-10 years.”

Read the whole article here.

**by Ob-Gyn Communications Intern Paige Stevenson

Spencer presents at AAMC Group on Resident Affairs conference

Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, associate professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, presented at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Group on Resident Affairs Professional Development Conference in Arlington, VA in early April 2024. 

Spencer presented a project that analyzed resident and fellow evaluation systems across all UW Health GME programs; the project resulted in streamlined evaluation policies and created standardized processes and best practices for the institution. 

In addition to presenting at the conference, Spencer was invited to become a member of the AAMC Group on Resident Affairs (GRA). The GRA has 2-3 representatives from each of its member institutions and is responsible for creating and disseminating best practices and principles for GME across medical specialties. Spencer recently completed the AAMC GME Leadership Program. 

Incredible work, Dr. Spencer! 

Spencer invited to co-chair the PROLOG 9th Edition of Gynecologic Oncology and Critical Care

Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, associate professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, was invited by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to co-chair the ninth edition of PROLOG: Gynecologic Oncology and Critical Care.

The PROLOG (Personal Review of Learning in Obstetrics and Gynecology) books are self-directed study resources for ob-gyn physicians and trainees. The Gynecologic Oncology and Critical Care edition will cover epidemiologic factors that contribute to the risks of various malignancies, physical and surgical findings related to specific stages of malignant disease, appropriate surgical and nonsurgical management for various types of cancer, and much more.

As the co-chair, Spencer will select key focus topics for the book and work with item writers to advise and edit questions and learning points over the two-year period leading up to the new edition.

Congratulations on this exciting appointment, Dr. Spencer!

Spencer selected for ACGME Residency Tracks in Programs Work Group

Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, associate professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, was invited to join the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Residency Tracks in Programs Work Group. 

This work group will contribute to the ACGME’s learning about different types of “track” experiences across all specialties. They will offer considerations for how best to identify these tracks within the Accreditation Data System (ADS), support these training experiences, and utilize ACGME’s Rural Data Enhancement (RDE) project. 

Congratulations on this well-deserved honor, Dr. Spencer!  

Spencer joins panel on GME grants at Wisconsin Healthcare Workforce Summit

Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, associate professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, participated in the 2023 Wisconsin Healthcare Workforce Summit, hosted by the Wisconsin Collaborative for Rural Graduate Medical Education (WCRGME) October 29-31, 2023. 

During the summit, Spencer joined the GME Grant Programs panel discussion to talk about residency development and expansion in Wisconsin utilizing state grants. Spencer was joined by colleagues from Gunderson Health System, Aurora Health Care, and Medical College of Wisconsin. 

Incredible work, Dr. Spencer! 

Spencer co-authors article about rural health disparities in Quarterly Magazine

Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, associate professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, co-authored an article in the Fall 2023 issue of Quarterly Magazine, the UW School of Medicine and Public Health’s alumni publication, that outlines rural health disparities and highlights programs in the School of Medicine and Public Health designed to alleviate them. 

In “Easing Rural Health Disparities” (page 40), Spencer and co-author Jillian Landeck, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, discuss the ongoing challenges to health care access in rural Wisconsin and outline the UW SMPH programs developed to help address the disparities in Wisconsin: 

“The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) is recognized as a national leader for its long tradition of supporting residency programs that train outstanding physicians for rural Wisconsin.... In 2017, the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology began the nation’s first rural track in this field. Trainees gain six months of rural experience in Wisconsin. Funding through the Wisconsin Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program and Wisconsin DHS has helped create and support these tracks.” 

Read the whole article here 

Spencer receives Rural Health Day Community Hero Award

Congratulations to Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, associate professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, who received a Rural Health Day Community Hero Award from the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health in November!

Spencer was nominated by the Wisconsin Collaborative for Rural Graduate Medical Education (WCRGME) for his efforts to expand rural maternity care training in Wisconsin and across the country. He is the Central Hub Lead for the Rural Residency Program Development Technical Assistance Center, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration.

Wisconsin Office of Rural Health Rural Communities Program Manager Kevin Jacobson shared this about Spencer:

“Dr. Spencer is an example of a provider who goes the extra mile to bring about change in rural community’s health. On behalf of the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health I want to present this certificate recognizing Dr. Ryan Spencer as a Rural Health Day Community Hero.”

Congratulations, Dr. Spencer, on this well-deserved honor!

Spencer to present WCRGME Rural Medicine Grand Rounds on August 9

Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, associate professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology and Residency Program Director, will present the first-ever Wisconsin Collaborative for Rural GME Rural Medicine Grand Rounds on August 9, 2023!

Spencer will present the lecture “Maternal Deserts” via Zoom from 12-1pm.

Meeting ID: 895 0272 6489

Passcode: 2023

Spencer accepted into AAMC 2023-2024 GME Leadership Development Certificate Program

Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, associate professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology as well as UW Ob-Gyn Residency Program Director and Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Director, was selected to participate in the 2023-24 Association of American Medical Colleges GME Leadership Development Certificate Program.

The GME Leadership Development Certificate helps participants build the leadership capabilities, knowledge, and skills essential for high-performing GME leaders. As part of the program, Spencer will participate in in-person and virtual learning modules, develop and implement a learning project, and present at the 2024 AAMC Group on Resident Affairs annual meeting.

Congratulations, Dr. Spencer!

Spencer co-authors Dean’s Corner article on rural training in Wisconsin Medical Journal

Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, associate professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology and Residency Program Director, co-authored an editorial piece in the latest issue of the Wisconsin Medical Journal about the importance of rural physician training with UW SMPH Dean Robert Golden, MD, and Department of Family Medicine and Community Health Assistant Professor Jillian Landeck, MD. 

In “Addressing Health Disparities Through Rural Training,” Spencer and co-authors discuss the ongoing challenges to health care access in rural Wisconsin and outline the UW SMPH programs developed to help address the disparities in Wisconsin: 

Many members of the SMPH community have recognized the critical need for a broad spectrum of physicians in rural areas. The school has become a recognized national leader in its support of rural training across multiple specialties. In 2016, the Department of Surgery launched its rural residency track, which places one general surgery resident each year into rural areas of Wisconsin for 12 months of training. In 2017, the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology began the nation’s first rural track in this field; trainees in this track gain six months of rural experience. Funding opportunities through the Wisconsin Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program allow for the creation and ongoing support of rural residency tracks across Wisconsin.” 

Read the whole article here! 

Spencer brings chemotherapy shortages to legislators’ attention at House Cancer Caucus briefing

On June 6, Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, associate professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, helped organize and participated in the Society of Gynecologic Oncology’s House Cancer Caucus briefing on chemotherapy shortages. Spencer is the chair of the SGO’s Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Committee.

The briefing was co-sponsored by Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY). Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and their staff were present to learn about the current chemotherapy crisis and steps to alleviate these in the future.

Incredible work, Dr. Spencer!

Residency leadership transition: Spencer to step down, Kelly to become Residency Program Director

Later this summer, the UW Ob-Gyn Residency Program will undergo a leadership transition – current Residency Program Director Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, will step down from this role. Bridget Kelly, MD, current associate residency program director, will become Residency Program Director on September 1, 2023. Please help us thank Dr. Spencer for his many years of incredible leadership and welcome Dr. Kelly to this new position!

Spencer became the residency program director in 2019 after serving as associate program director since 2018. He spent a number of years cultivating the Resident Research Program in the department and has developed both the Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Programs for the Ob-Gyn residency and Gynecologic Oncology fellowship, as well as the Wellness Programs for both. He has been a regional and national leader in rural ob-gyn training: he has been the director of the UW Ob-Gyn Rural Residency Track since 2018 and became the Central Hub Lead for HRSA’s Rural Residency Program Technical Assistance Center, which guides new rural residency training programs through development and sustainability, since 2021.

Spencer has led the UW Ob-Gyn residency program through uniquely challenging times, including the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty of the Dobbs decision. We are very thankful for Dr. Spencer’s tremendous contributions to the residency program, and glad he will continue on in his current role as Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Program Director.

Kelly has served as Associate Residency Program Director since July 2019. In that role, she has developed educational curriculum, goals and objectives; supervised and evaluated residents; helped guide resident recruitment and selection; and had a strong influence on resident wellbeing and work environment. Before joining our department, she was the Associate Residency Program Director for the ob-gyn residency at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island/Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She earned multiple Excellence in Teaching awards while at Brown.

She has also served on the UW SMPH Resident Education Committee since 2019 and co-chaired the UW Ob-Gyn Education Committee since 2020. Dr. Kelly’s background and experience make her an excellent choice for the next Residency Program Director, who will enhance the teaching and learning environment for UW Ob-Gyn residents and department faculty.

Please help us thank Dr. Spencer for his service in this role and congratulate Dr. Kelly on this exciting new opportunity!

Spencer and Zorbas talk women’s health research funding with Congress

On March 9, 2022, members of the UW Department of Ob-Gyn discussed funding for women’s health research with members of the Wisconsin congressional delegation during a virtual advocacy day organized by the Women First Research Coalition.

In conversations with Senator Tammy Baldwin and Representative Mark Pocan, department Research Manager Andrea Zorbas, MBA, MS, Residency Program Director and gynecologic oncologist Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, and retired chair Laurel Rice, MD discussed the pressing need for increased research funding focused on women’s health. 

Requested support included expanded funding from the Department of Defense and the National Cancer Institute for ovarian and endometrial cancer research, expanded investment in career development programs, studies to identify gaps in women’s health research funding, and more.

Spencer receives SGO Congressional Ambassador Award

Congratulations to Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, associate professor in the UW Ob-Gyn Division of Gynecologic Oncology, who received the Society of Gynecologic Oncology Congressional Ambassador Award! Spencer received the award during the 2023 SGO Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer in March 2023.

The Congressional Ambassador Award recognizes SGO members who have worked hard to educate our elected and appointed officials in Washington, DC, to promote health care policy changes and annual federal funding increases to positively impact the field of gynecologic oncology and the women who are impacted with gynecologic cancer malignancies.

Spencer has been an active participant in SGO congressional advocacy efforts for several years. In 2023, he also attended the ACOG Congressional Leadership Conference and visited Wisconsin legislators to discuss health care access and other key issues affecting reproductive health in Wisconsin.

Congratulations, Dr. Spencer, on this well-deserved honor!

UW Ob-Gyn presentations at 2023 Society of Gynecologic Oncology conference

UW Ob-Gyn faculty, advanced practice providers, fellows, and residents prepared an impressive slate of presentations and posters, and served in key leadership roles, for the 2023 Society of Gynecologic Oncology Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer! Here are just some of their exciting contributions to the conference, which took place March 25-28, 2023 in Tampa, FL:

Associate Proefssor Lisa Barroilhet, MD, MS:

Vice Chair of the Patient Education Committee

Professor Ellen Hartenbach, MD:

Poster: “The genomic profile of high-grade serous ovarian cancer and the association with platinum-resistance”

Poster: “Thromboembolic Events in Gynecologic Cancer Patients Treated with Chemotherapy”

Ob-Gyn Resident Rachel Mojdehbakhsh, MD:

Poster: “Radical hysterectomy case volume and cervical cancer treatment in the era of COVID-19: A multi-institutional analysis” 

Gynecologic Oncology Fellow Lauren Montemorano, MD:

Poster: “Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Recruitment in the Virtual Era: An Evaluation of Program Websites and Survey of Applicant Preferences” (Lauren Montemorano MD, Connor C Wang MD, Ankitha Madde MD, J Stuart Ferriss MD, Bunja J Rungruang MD, Ryan Spencer MD, MS)

Poster: “The genomic profile of high-grade serous ovarian cancer and the association with platinum-resistance” (Lauren Montemorano MD, Jessica D Lang PhD, Zoey Shultz BA, Alma Farooque BA, Meredith Hyun MS, Richard Chappell PhD, Ellen Hartenbach MD)

Poster: “A comparison of early-occurring and late-occurring incisional hernias after trans-umbilical versus circumbilical midline laparotomy in gynecologic oncology patients” (Connor C Wang, Alexandra Andes, Aaditi Naik, Lauren Montemorano, Ahmed Al-Niaimi)

Joanne Rash, PA:

Special Interest Session for Allied Health Professionals: Provider Wellbeing: Hope to be Found

Rash finished her board terms as the first elected APP representative on the SGO board!

Professor Stephen Rose, MD:

Poster: “Radical hysterectomy case volume and cervical cancer treatment in the era of COVID-19: A multi-institutional analysis”

Associate Professor Ryan Spencer, MD, MS:

Spencer was selected to serve as the SGO representative on the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ political action committee (Ob-GynPAC).

Spencer received the Congressional Ambassador Award, given annually to SGO members who have worked hard to educate our elected and appointed officials in Washington, DC, to promote health care policy changes and annual federal funding increases to positively impact the field of gynecologic oncology and the women who are impacted with gynecologic cancer malignancies.

Chair, SGO Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Committee

Co-Lead, Gynecologic Oncology Standardized Letter of Evaluation (SLOE) Task Force

Poster: “Gynecologic oncology fellowship recruitment in the virtual era: an evaluation of program websites and survey of applicant preferences.” (Senior author on this multi-institutional project with Johns Hopkins, Duke, and Medical College of Georgia.)

Presentations during SGO Program Directors Network meeting:

Gynecologic Oncology SLOEs

Updates from the ABOG Reproductive Health Summit

Associate Professor Sumer Wallace, MD, MS:

Serves on Policy, Quality, & Outcomes task force for the Health Policy and Socioeconomic committee

Ob-Gyn Resident Connor Wang, MD:

Poster: “A Comparison of Early-Occuring and Late-Occuring Incisional Hernias After Trans-Umbilical Versus Circumbilical Midline Laparotomy in Gynecologic Oncology Patients”

Gynecologic Oncology Fellow Catherine Zhang, MD, MPH:

Featured Oral Poster Session: “A Quality Improvement Project to Implement Oral Anticoagulant Thromboprophylaxis in Ambulatory Gynecologic Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy”

Congratulations to all on this incredible showing!

Obstetrics and Gynecology features video demonstration of fluorescein mapping for Paget’s Disease

In February, UW Ob-Gyn gynecologic oncology fellows Catherine Zhang, MD, MPH and Matt Wagar, MD, published a new Procedures and Instruments piece, “Fluorescein Mapping in Vulvar Paget Disease”, in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Co-authors on the article include Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, associate professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, and David Kushner, MD, professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology.

In the article, Zhang, Wagar, and co-authors describe a two-step procedure to identify areas of disease when treating Paget disease, and describe their results using this method to treat eight patients. Obstetrics and Gynecology recently shared a case demonstration video of the technique on their YouTube channel.

You can watch the technique video here!

Faculty and residents attend 2023 ACOG Congressional Leadership Conference

UW Ob-Gyn faculty and residents learned about effective engagement and visited members of the Wisconsin congressional delegation during the 2023 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Congressional Leadership Conference March 5-7 in Washington, D.C.

UW Ob-Gyn Residency Director and Associate Professor Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, Clerkship Coordinator and Assistant Professor Laura Jacques, MD, resident Benjamin Pickus, MD, PGY-2, and resident Margaret Harrison, MD, PGY-3 attended informational sessions about effective advocacy and met with Wisconsin legislators to discuss health care access and other key issues affecting reproductive health in Wisconsin. Their time in DC included a visit with Senator Tammy Baldwin.

Thank you all for bringing important health issues to Wisconsin legislators’ attention!

UW Ob-Gyn brings presentations, posters, film to 2023 CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting

The Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics hosted their 2023 Annual Meeting in National Harbor, MD February 27-March 1. Faculty, residents, fellows, students, and staff in the UW Department of Ob-Gyn brought a variety of presentations to this education-focused conference. Just some of their incredible offerings:

Discussion Den: “Recognizing Small Potholes Before You Lose a Hubcap” – Ryan Spencer, MD, MS; Bridget Kelly, MD; Jody Silva, M.Ed; Ariel Sorenson, MS

Discussion Den: “Implementing a Resident to Resident Near Peer Laparoscopic Fundamentals Skills Curriculum” – Matthew Wagar, MD; Rachel Mojdehbakhsh, MD; Maya Gross, MD, MPH; Sumer Wallace, MD, MS; Ashely Jennings, MD

Film Festival: “Zoom In on Abortion: Experience with a Virtual Values Clarification Workshop” – Jacquelyn Askins; Rob Garza; Elise Cowley; Alma Farooque; Zoey Shultz; Laura Jacques, MD

Oral Abstract: “Building in a Small Town: Maintaining Procedural Volume in a Rural Ob-Gyn Residency Program” – Charlotte Urban; Jody Silva, M.Ed; Ryan Spencer, MD, MS

Oral Abstract: “Practice Makes Proficient: Implementation of an Advanced Robotic Surgery Pathway for Obstetrics and Gynecology Residents” – Maya Gross, MD, MPH; Matthew Wagar, MD; Sumer Wallace, MD, MS; Jennifer Karnowski, MD

Oral Abstract: “Building Bridges, Not Walls: Experiences of Medical Trainees with Values Clarification Workshops on Abortion” – Elise Cowley; Taryn Valley, MA; Alma Farooque; Zooey Shultz; Margaret Williams, MD; Laura Jacques, MD

Elise earned second place Best Oral Abstract award for her presentation!

APGO Surgical Education Scholars Poster: “Utilization of a Structured Adverse Event Debrief Framework to Confront Second-Victim Syndrome in Ob-Gyn Residents” – Ryan Spencer, MD, MS; Laura Jacques, MD

Poster: “Bridging the Virtual Divide: Ob-Gyn Residency Applicant Experiences with Virtual Interviews” – Laura Jacques, MD; Elise Cowley; Ryan Spencer, MD, MS

Poster: “Medical Student Attitudes Around Abortion and Reproductive Justice at One Midwestern Institution” – Erin Nacev, MD, MPH; Taryn Valley, MA; Mireya Taboada, MD, MPH

Congratulations to all the presenters!

Zhang, Wagar publish in Obstetrics and Gynecology

UW Ob-Gyn gynecologic oncology fellows Catherine Zhang, MD, MPH and Matt Wagar, MD, published a new Procedures and Instruments piece in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Co-authors on the article include Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, associate professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, and David Kushner, MD, professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology.

In “Fluorescein Mapping in Vulvar Paget Disease”, Zhang, Wagar, and co-authors describe a two-step procedure to identify areas of disease when treating Paget disease, and describe their results using this method to treat eight patients. Their conclusions are optimistic: 

“We report a technique for the injection of fluorescein sodium for the visualization of vulvar Paget disease capable of providing accurate surgical margins and identification of occult satellite lesions with a high degree of safety and a favorable cost profile. This staged approach to vulvectomy could offer improved accuracy of resection for vulvar Paget disease with few drawbacks.”

Read the whole article here!

Spencer discusses rural GME opportunities with ACGME blog

As part of an ongoing series of interviews with programs offering rural graduate medical education experiences, UW Ob-Gyn Residency Program Director Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, spoke with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) about the successes and challenges of sustaining the nation’s first-ever rural ob-gyn residency track: 

ACGME: What advice do you have for those interested in establishing rural GME experiences?

Dr. Spencer: Any work worth doing is going to present challenge. Always remember and advocate for the mission – because it is a worthy one. Don’t reinvent any wheel…ever. Talk to anyone and everyone you can find about what they have done to be successful and what pitfalls they encountered. Find those both at your institution and in the country who do this work and create your network. The people doing rural GME throughout the country want you to succeed as much as you do and we want to help you.

Read the rest of “Partnerships to Establish and Sustain Rural GME”. Incredible work, Dr. Spencer!

Wang published in AJOG

UW Ob-Gyn resident Connor Wang, MD, PGY-4, is the lead author on new research in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology!

In “Trends in public- and industry-funded uterine cancer clinical trials and disability-adjusted life years from 2007 to 2019”, Wang and co-authors Shannon Rush, MD, Shitanshu Uppal, MD, Laurel Rice, MD, and Ryan Spencer, MD, MS queried a database to determine the number of years lost to death or disability from endometrial cancer along with the number of new clinical trials opened each year from 2007-2019.

This study showed that when taking into consideration societal cancer burden metrics, endometrial cancer has undergone a significant decline in the relative number of available clinical trials in the prior 13 years for which data is available. This data can be used to help shape policy around funding for endometrial cancer clinical trials.

Read the whole study here!

Mojdehbakhsh publishes in Gynecologic Oncology Reports

A new article from UW Ob-Gyn resident Rachel Mojdehbakhsh, MD, PGY-4 was published in Gynecologic Oncology Reports! Co-authors on the article include UW SMPH medical student and Shapiro Summer Student Carolina Hurtado and Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, associate professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology.

In “The long game: Telemedicine patient satisfaction metrics and methods of recurrence detection for gynecologic cancer patients throughout the initial year of the COVID-19 pandemic”, Mojdehbakhsh and co-authors used a survey study and retrospective cohort study of patients who received telemedicine care between April 2020 and March 2021:

“We demonstrated a persistence in high patient satisfaction rates with telemedicine over one year into the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, patients overwhelmingly welcomed ongoing use of telemedicine in practice. Our findings are in accordance with a growing body of literature that patient reported symptoms are the most used method of detection and therefore amenable to telemedicine surveillance.”

Read the whole study here!

Spencer presents at RRPD/THCPD conference

On August 31, 2022, UW Ob-Gyn Residency Program Director Ryan Spencer, MD, MS presented at the Rural Residency Planning and Development / Teaching Health Center Planning and Development Grantees Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Spencer presented “Creating an Effective Resident Evaluation System” on the second day of the three-day event for recipients of grants to expand their rural training opportunities. As you may remember, Spencer is the Central Hub Lead for the Rural Residency Program Development Technical Assistance Center (RRPD-TAC), funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration.

Incredible work, Dr. Spencer!

UW SMPH Shapiro research student Hailey Milakovich presents at SGO conference

Huge congratulations to UW SMPH phase II medical student Hailey Milakovich, who gave an oral plenary presentation at the 2022 Society of Gynecologic Oncology Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer!

Milakovich presented “What’s the Value of a Pelvic Exam? Endometrial Cancer Surveillance in the Era of Telemedicine.” The presentation was featured in the SGO Women’s Cancer News, a daily briefing on important gynecologic cancer research and updates sent to all members of the SGO.

Ryan Spencer, MD, MS of the UW Ob-Gyn Division of Gynecologic Oncology, was the faculty mentor on this Shapiro Summer Research project.

Spencer nominated for Dean’s Excellence in Medical Student Mentorship Award

Congratulations to Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, associate professor in Division of Gynecologic Oncology, director of the Gynecologic Oncology fellowship, and director of the UW Ob-Gyn residency program! Spencer was nominated for the UW SMPH Dean’s Excellence in Medical Student Mentorship Award.

These awards recognize faculty members who exemplify dedication and excellence in medical student research mentorship. One of Spencer’s mentees recently brought a poster to the Society of Gynecologic Oncology Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer in Phoenix!

Congratulations, Dr. Spencer!

Presentations, posters, and more at the 2022 CREOG/APGO Annual Meeting!

UW Ob-Gyn faculty, residents, and affiliated medical students with interest and expertise in medical education showcased their work at the CREOG/APGO Annual Meeting​! The conference, which was organized around the theme “Together Again, Together Forever: Med Ed Family Reunion”, took place in Orlando, Florida March 9-12. Some of the exciting highlights from our department:

Ryan McDonald, MD, of the UW Ob-Gyn Division of Academic Specialists in Ob-Gyn, graduated from the APGO Academic Scholars and Leaders Program! Read more about his experience in the program and how UW Ob-Gyn Faculty Development Funds supported his training!

Laura Jacques, MD, director of medical student education and assistant professor in the Division of Academic Specialists in Ob-Gyn, presented during the breakout session “Getting the Right Ingredients for Your Sauce: An Innovative Tool for Applicant-Program Compatibility”. (Presenters: Seine Chiang, MD, Jesse Rafel, MD, Jenci Hawthorne, MD, Jennifer Hamm, MD, Laura Jacques, MD, Lauren Holt, Medical Student)

Jacques and Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, residency program director and gynecologic oncology fellowship director and associate professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, presented during the breakout session “A Crying Shame: A Structured Debriefing Workshop to Reduce Second-Victim Syndrome in Obstetrics and Gynecology Residents”. (Presenters: Laura Jacques, MD, Beverly Gray, MD, Samantha Hoffman, MD, Tamika Alexander, MD, Jessica Francis, MD, Ryan Spencer, MD, MS)

Jacques also co-authored the oral abstract “The More Cooks in the Kitchen the Better the Sauce? Impact of an Abortion VCAT Workshop on Medical Students”. (Authors: Elise Cowley, Medical Student, Jessie Chen, MD, Jessika Ralph, MD, MSCI, Allison Linton, MD, MPH, Sarah Hutto, MD, MPH, Laura Jacques, MD)

People in the department also brought many posters to the conference, including one that received second place in the conference poster awards!

Congratulations to the authors of “Ingredients for teaching confidence: A Fourth-year medical student clinical teaching elective”, which earned second place in the CREOG/APGO Annual Meeting Poster Awards! Authors: Kristen Kreh, John Poehlmann, Katharina Stewart, Amy Godecker, Laura Jacques

Opinions at the Thanksgiving Table: A comparison of medical student and resident attitudes about abortion” – Jessie Chen, Elise Cowley, Jessika Ralph, Amy Godecker, Daniel Pellicer, Laura Jacques

An Educational Program to Implement a Well-Validated Screening Tool for Opioid Use Disorder in Pregnancy” – Ryan McDonald, Samantha Haefner, Kaley Gyorfi, Heidi Brown

Congratulations to all on an impressive showing at the conference!

Spencer steps into Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Director role

As of February 1, 2022, Ryan Spencer, MD, MS, is the new director of the UW Ob-Gyn Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship! Spencer takes over for Division of Gynecologic Oncology Director Stephen Rose, MD, who has led the fellowship since 2011.

Spencer has served as Associate Fellowship Director since 2017 and has been invaluable in supporting our fellows and the program in that time. Spencer will continue in his role as Ob-Gyn Residency Director, allowing seamless collaboration and oversight of trainee programs in our department.

Congratulations, Dr. Spencer!

Wetterhahn and Spencer discuss rural residency with TMJ4 in Milwaukee

Access to ob-gyn health care in rural Wisconsin has trended downward over the last couple decades. In this interview with WTMJ-TV Milwaukee, UW Ob-Gyn Residency Program Director Ryan Spencer, MD discusses the motivation behind creating the first rural ob-gyn residency training track in the country.

In “UW Health hopes to curb rural Wisconsin’s OBGYN shortage”, UW Ob-Gyn rural resident Madeline Wetterhahn, MD, PGY-3 also talks about what drew her to the rural residency:

""Part of my inspiration for wanting to go back is my dad, who is a family medicine doctor in way northern New York. And, seeing the impact that he had on his community and seeing how his patients interact with him - whether it's at a grocery store or a restaurant or a school meeting - all of that has played into why I want to do that," she said."

Check out the whole story here.

Spencer appointed as central hub leader for THCGME grant

UW Ob-Gyn Residency Program Director Ryan Spencer, MD, has been appointed as the Central Hub Leader for the Teaching Health Center Technical Assistance Center. In this role, he will oversee the development of new residency programs in Teaching Health Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in the Central U.S.

The center is funded by a HRSA grant for $3.5 million over a 3-year period. The center is part of a three-institute consortium in partnership with the University of Washington (home of the Western U.S. Hub) and the University of North Carolina (home of the Eastern U.S. Hub).

Learn more about the Teaching Health Center Technical Assistance Center here. Congratulations, Dr. Spencer!

Rural residency (and first graduate) featured on Minneapolis news

In June 2021, Laura McDowell, MD became the first graduate of the first rural ob-gyn residency program in the country when she finished her residency training in the UW Department of Ob-Gyn. Following graduation, McDowell moved to Willmar, Minnesota to join a general ob-gyn practice.

Her experience as a rural ob-gyn physician is highlighted in this story from KSTP in Minneapolis:

“McDowell is the first graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology rural track program, a first of its kind in the nation. For six months of her four years of residency, she spent time in rural communities across Wisconsin.

“What stood out to me was, well, certainly there are providers out in these locations but some of them were only one provider and not necessarily by choice,” she said. “Just the storage of having OB-GYN physicians in these locations was a concern.””

In the story, UW Ob-Gyn Residency Program Director Ryan Spencer, MD also discusses the shortages in ob-gyn physicians in Wisconsin and beyond that make rural training programs so crucial.

Watch the whole story here!

Spencer appointed as hub lead for HRSA Rural Residency Program Development Center

UW Ob-Gyn Residency Program Director Ryan Spencer, MD, has been appointed to be the Central Hub Lead for the Rural Residency Program Development Technical Assistance Center (RRPD-TAC). The RRPD-TAC is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The grant provides $4.6 million of total funding over four years. In this role, Dr. Spencer will oversee the development and sustainability of rural residency programs funded through HRSA across all specialties throughout the central United States. HRSA provides approximately $11 million of funding each year to initiate new rural residency programs.

The center is part of a three-institute consortium in partnership with the University of Washington (home of the Western U.S. Hub) and the University of North Carolina (home of the Eastern U.S. Hub).

Learn more about the RRPD-TAC here. Congratulations, Dr. Spencer!

UW-Madison Department of Ob-Gyn thanks rural training partners on National Rural Health Day

As the state of Wisconsin celebrates National Rural Health Day on November 18, 2021, the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology would like to thank the physicians and partners across Wisconsin who are training future ob-gyn physicians in rural practice.


The UW–Madison Department of Ob-Gyn created the first rural ob-gyn residency training track in the country to help address shortages in the ob-gyn workforce. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration, the U.S. currently faces a shortage of 9,000 obstetrician-gynecologists nationwide. The shortage is expected to grow to 22,000 by 2050. One in three Wisconsin counties and one in two counties nationwide do not have a practicing ob-gyn.


As part of the rural ob-gyn residency track, residents spend some of their training time at rural hospitals in the region. While on these rotations, the rural track residents get hands-on experience providing ob-gyn care – including prenatal and obstetric care, gynecologic cancer screenings and management of complicated gynecological problems – to people in small communities. 


“Rural training for ob-gyn residents has an important role in increasing the number of physicians prepared for rural practice, and addressing the growing rural-urban disparities in women’s health outcomes,” says UW Ob-Gyn Residency Program Director Ryan Spencer, MD. “We are grateful to work with so many amazing physicians statewide to provide this training opportunity.”


Partnerships with these health care organizations and individuals are invaluable in providing the training experience necessary to prepare rural ob-gyn residents for their future practice:


Aspirus Divine Savior Hospital (Portage, WI) – Brenda Jenkin, MD

SSM Health Monroe Hospital (Monroe, WI) – John Bazley, MD; Jeffrey Dinges, MD; Joseph Ehle, MD; Bibiancy Gutierrez, MD

Waupun Memorial Hospital (Waupun, WI) – Dr. Scott Hansfield

Western Wisconsin Health (Baldwin, WI) – Dennis Hartung, MD; Steven Verbeek, MD


Dr. Jackie Luthardt joined the UW Department of Ob-Gyn in July 2021. Currently in her first year of rural ob-gyn residency training, she has this to say about the program:
“The patient-physician relationship in a rural setting is truly something special and there is such a strong need for providers in these areas,” Dr. Luthardt says. “The rural OB track provides the best of both worlds with academic resources and the opportunity to give back to a rural community during residency, learning to utilize my resources and recognize my limitations that will better prepare me for a future career as a rural ob-gyn.”

Though the UW-Madison rural ob-gyn residency was the first in the nation, residency programs around the country are developing their own rural ob-gyn training tracks. The first trainee recruited to the UW’s rural ob-gyn track, Dr. Laura McDowell, graduated from residency in June 2021. Dr. McDowell is an ob-gyn with Carris Health in Willmar, MN. Current rural ob-gyn residents include Dr. Alexa Lowry, Dr. Madeline Wetterhahn, Dr. Kaley Gyorfi and Dr. Jackie Luthardt. 

Spencer, Rice published in Obstetrics and Gynecology

A new study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology compares operative times in the American College of Surgeons’ National Surgical Quality Improvement Project with physician-reported operative times from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to assess for the impact on RVUs.

Discrepancies Created by Surgeon Self-Reported Operative Time and the Effects on Procedural Relative Value Units and Reimbursement”, by Ryan Spencer, MD, MS and UW Ob-Gyn Department Chair Laurel Rice, MD is a cross-sectional review of registry data. The study found:

“Despite reliable electronic records, the AMA-RUC continues to use inaccurate self-reported RUC surveys for operative times. This results in discrepancies in RVU per hour (and subsequent reimbursement) across specialties and a persistent disparity for women-specific procedures in gynecology. Relative value unit levels should be based on the available objective data to eliminate these disparities.”

Read the whole paper here.

Spencer’s gynecologic cancer research funding disparity mentioned in NIH hearing

Ryan Spencer, MD, of the UW Ob-Gyn Division of Gynecologic Oncology, has studied differences in funding for gynecologic cancer research compared to other cancer types for several years. His work led to the publication of the study “Disparities in the allocation of research funding to gynecologic cancers by Funding to Lethality scores in Gynecologic Oncology in 2018.

In a National Institutes of Health hearing in May 2021, Spencer’s research was referenced by Representative Lois Frankel as part of her questions for National Cancer Institute Director Ned Sharpless, MD.

You can watch Rep. Frankel’s questions here!

Spencer promoted to Associate Professor (CHS)

Ryan Spencer, MD, of the UW Ob-Gyn Division of Gynecologic Oncology, was promoted to Associate Professor (CHS) by the School of Medicine and Public Health CHS Faculty Appointments and Promotions Committee, effective July 1, 2021.

Spencer joined the UW Department of Ob-Gyn in 2012 as a gynecologic oncology fellow. After finishing his fellowship, Spencer joined the Division of Gynecologic Oncology faculty in 2015. In addition, Spencer is director of the UW Ob-Gyn Residency Program and associate director of the Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship.

Congratulations, Dr. Spencer!

Mojdehbakhsh published in Gynecologic Oncology Reports

A quality improvement study by lead author Rachel Mojdehbakhsh, MD, PGY-2, was published in Gynecologic Oncology Reports. Co-authors include Stephen Rose, MD, Megan Peterson, DNP, Laurel Rice, MD, and Ryan Spencer, MD, all of the UW Ob-Gyn Division of Gynecologic Oncology.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic that began in early 2020, industry organizations like the National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommended transitioning some appointments to telemedicine. Mojdehbakhsh’s study, “A quality improvement pathway to rapidly increase telemedicine services in a Gynecologic Oncology clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic with patient satisfaction scores and environmental impact”, outlines efforts at the UW Carbone Cancer Center’s gynecologic oncology clinic to move appointments to telehealth platforms over a short period of time. The study also assessed patient satisfaction with telemedicine visits, and environmental impact of moving visits online.

With multidisciplinary team planning and standardized note templates, transitioning 50% of encounters to telemedicine and achieving high rates of consent documentation were accomplished in four weeks. This increase in telemedicine represented a measurable decrease in the amount of CO  2 emissions. Additionally, patients were overwhelmingly satisfied.”

Read the whole study here – incredible work, Dr. Mojdehbakhsh and Gyn Onc division team!

Gaston, Hoppe, Spencer earn UW Health Excellence Awards

Three faculty from the UW Department of Ob-Gyn were honored at the UW Health Physician Excellence Awards ceremony on December 7, 2020. The virtual ceremony recognized recipients of 17 excellence awards across the health system. Recipients in our department:

Luther Gaston, MD, of the Division of Academic Specialists in Ob-Gyn, received the UW Health Physician Excellence Rising Star – Clinical Educator Awardwhich recognizes outstanding educators, with significant emphasis on teaching residents and medical students, as well as other interdisciplinary team members, patients and their families.

Kara Hoppe, DO, of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, received the UW Health Physician Excellence Rising Star Clinical Practice Awardwhich honors outstanding clinicians who demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to safety and quality patient-and-family centered care.

Ryan Spencer, MD, of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, received the UW Health Physician Excellence Rising Star – Leadership Award.

Congratulations to these wonderful physicians!

Spencer earns UW Health Rising Star Leadership award!

Congratulations to Ryan Spencer, MD, of the UW Ob-Gyn Division of Gynecologic Oncology! Spencer earned the 2020 UW Health Physician Excellence Rising Star – Leadership Award!

Spencer and other awardees will be honored in a virtual ceremony coming up December 7, 2020. Congratulations, Dr. Spencer, on this well-deserved achievement!

Rural Residency earns DHS rural health care grant

Incredible news out of the UW Ob-Gyn Rural Residency track! The program was awarded a Wisconsin Department of Health Services Grant for Rural GME Training. Residency Program Director Ryan Spencer, MD, will serve as PI on the grant.

The DHS grants are intended to “increase access and enhance quality care in rural Wisconsin” by supporting education and training to help rural health care organizations fill important positions. This award is critical for ensuring the financial sustainability of the UW Ob-Gyn Rural Residency track for years to come.

Launched in 2017, the UW Ob-Gyn Rural Residency track is the first rural training program for ob-gyn residents in the country. Many thanks to former residency program director Ellen Hartenbach, MD, for starting the program, and residency program manager Jody Silva for working to secure this grant for the UW Ob-Gyn Rural Residency.

Spencer, Silva, McDowell serve on CREOG rural training panel

On September 23, 2020, members of the UW Ob-Gyn residency team led the panel discussion Increasing the Rural OB/GYN Pipeline: a Pathway for Rural Track Training, presented by the Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology!

Residency program director Ryan Spencer, MD, program manager Jody Silva, M.Ed, and resident Laura McDowell, MD, PGY-4 presented to over 40 residency program directors and department chairs from across the country. They were also joined by Denny Hartung, MD, a training partner from Western Wisconsin Health.

As the first residency program in the nation with a rural training track, our residency team presented data with perspectives from key stakeholders on how to develop and maintain rural ob-gyn training programs. This talk was especially important in light of increasing disparities in rural women’s health care.

First HAGO Conference was a great success!

On September 10-11, the UW Ob-Gyn Division of Gynecologic Oncology hosted the first-ever Heartland Association of Gynecologic Oncology (HAGO) meeting. More than 70 gynecologic oncology professionals tuned in for the virtual conference, which included two keynote presentations and 21 research abstract presentations.

HAGO was founded in 2020 by UW Ob-Gyn Division of Gyn Onc Director Stephen Rose, MD, and the program committee included Ryan Spencer, MD and UW Ob-Gyn Gyn Onc fellowship graduates Andrea O’Shea, MD and Shitanshu Uppal, MD.

Of the 21 abstracts selected for presentation, five were from our department (Matthew Wagar, MD with mentor Sumer Wallace, MDWagar with mentor Makeba Williams, MDShannon Rush, MD with mentor Steve Rose, MDRachel Mojdehbakhsh, MD with mentor Ryan Spencer, MD; and Connor Wang, MD with mentor Spencer).

UW Ob-Gyn Gyn Onc fellow Shannon Rush, MD earned the first Award for Clinical Research for her abstract “65 Revisited: A Revised Markov Model for Evaluating Oophorectomy at the Time of Hysterectomy for Benign Disease”!

Lisa Barroilhet, MD was also an invited distillation presenter and UW Ob-Gyn Department Chair Laurel Rice, MD gave a keynote address and received the inaugural HAGO Award for Service and Leadership.

Our congratulations to everyone involved in planning and preparing the HAGO Conference – incredible work!

Women’s Healthcast: Spencer discusses Endometrial Cancer

September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month. On this episode of the Women’s Healthcast, Ryan Spencer, MD, of the UW Ob-Gyn Division of Gynecologic Oncology, joins us to talk about endometrial cancer, the most common gynecologic cancer in the United States.

In the episode, Spencer covers risk factors for endometrial cancer, what diagnosis and treatment look like, and ways to reduce the risk of developing this type of cancer. He also discusses his research into the national funding disparity for gynecologic cancers compared to other types of cancer.

Listen to “Endometrial Cancer” now!

Did you know the Women’s Healthcast is available on all your favorite podcast platforms? Whether you like to listen on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayStitcherPodbean, or anywhere else, you can find us! (Just search Women’s Healthcast, and while you’re at it, may as well subscribe!)

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