Zhang reflects on training time, shares what’s next after Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship

After three years of intense fellowship training in the UW Ob-Gyn Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Ran (Catherine) Zhang, MD, MPH, is preparing to graduate. Zhang shares what’s next after fellowship, the important lessons she will carry forward, and messages of gratitude for people who shaped her time in fellowship.

What are you looking forward to about your next career step when you join the UW Ob-Gyn Division of Gynecologic Oncology faculty?

I'm excited to continue to hone my teaching and mentoring skills- we have an excellent residency and fellowship program that I want to play an active role in improving. Through cross-disciplinary collaboration I have also been able to formulate a pilot study looking at circulating tumor DNA in HPV-driven cancers. This is a project I'm very much looking forward to continuing to work on as UW Gyn Onc faculty. 

What are your proudest accomplishments during fellowship? 

Publishing a video and manuscript (with co-fellow Dr. Wagar) on an innovative surgical technique which has garnered a lot of attention nationally and was selected as SGO 2022 top 50 abstracts. I have also really enjoyed my role in guiding residents and medical students in their growth as surgeons and clinicians. Being selected as the recipient of the annual Humanism in Medicine award by the palliative care fellows was also truly an honor. I have so much respect and admiration for our UW palliative care colleagues.

How do you feel UW Ob-Gyn prepared you for success after fellowship? 

UW fellowship provided excellent training in all surgical modalities (laparoscopic, robotic, single port, open), management of complex medical and social situations and end of life care, as well as chemotherapy/targeted therapeutics/immunotherapy administration. I feel as prepared as I can be for this transition to faculty.

Any special shout-outs or thanks to faculty, staff, other trainees who really shaped your training time here? 

I am unable to sufficiently thank everyone who has shaped me during my fellowship. Drs. Barroilhet, Patankar, and Hartenbach were and continue to be incredible research mentors. Dr. Spencer big thanks for always being available to us fellows and striving to make our fellowship program the best it can be. Dr. Rice even in retirement made time to advocate for me during my job search and continues to serve as a mentor and for that I am so grateful. I have learned so much from all the faculty and staff in the gyn onc division and feel so fortunate to be able to continue to work with them!