The Gilstrap OB/GYN Fellowship: Bridging Clinical Practice with Public Health


Now welcoming its fourth class of fellows, the Gilstrap Fellowship offers a unique opportunity for obstetrician gynecologists to expand their work into public health. Gilstrap Fellows gain knowledge, experience and contacts by working at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with a special focus on infectious diseases in pregnancy.

The Gilstrap Fellowship honors the career and achievements of Dr. Larry C. Gilstrap III, who served the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) for 10 years; first as the director of evaluation and then as the executive director. He subspecialized in maternal-fetal medicine with an emphasis on infectious diseases, authoring hundreds of peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and textbooks. After his retirement in 2017, ABOG partnered with the CDC Foundation and CDC to create a fellowship in his name to inspire a new generation of obstetrician gynecologists.

Though obstetrician gynecologists (OB/GYNs) are typically trained to provide quality health care to people at all stages of life, the focus is on the care of the individual and may overlook larger public health issues.

“Medical school training and residency focus on the micro level–on individual healthcare,” explained Aliza Machefsky, MD, 2020-2022 Gilstrap Fellow and assistant professor in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Emory University’s School of Medicine. “With its unique and tailored focus on infectious diseases and STI prevention in women and pregnant people, the Gilstrap Fellowship challenged me to look at healthcare from a macro perspective. It was exciting to be a voice and advocate for women's healthcare and to make a difference in a much broader sense.”

The Gilstrap Fellowship’s inaugural fellow, Shivika Trivedi, MD, MSc, was welcomed in 2017 and divided her time between CDC’s Division of STD Prevention and Division of Reproductive Health. During her tenure, she reviewed case data on syphilis with an emphasis on congenital syphilis and analyzed antiretroviral therapies for pregnant people living with HIV. Subsequent fellows have conducted further research on syphilis and explored topics related to other sexually transmitted infections, tuberculosis and health equity.

For the first time since its inception, the fellowship welcomes two fellows for the 2022-2023 term, an expansion that allows for cross-collaboration with CDC’s Division of Birth Defects and Infant Disorders, Division of Reproductive Health and Division of STD Prevention. This expansion also comes with a new standardized curriculum and brings together a team of mentors and program coordinators to strengthen the support network.

For obstetrician gynecologists interested in pursuing public health careers, the Gilstrap Fellowship provides a unique opportunity. “I appreciated the fellowship’s support of staying clinically active, which is hard for obstetrician gynecologists pursuing public health careers,” said Kate Miele, MD, MA, 2019-2020 Gilstrap Fellow and medical officer with the Prenatal Substance Exposure Surveillance and Research Team at CDC. “It was also an honor to be able to attend national expert meetings. I stayed at CDC after the fellowship ended, and I use the skills and connections I made through the fellowship every day.”

To apply for the Gilstrap Fellowship, visit our recruitment page.

To learn more about the history of the Gilstrap Fellowship, visit our website.

LSamuel headshot for website
Lily Samuel is a communications officer for the CDC Foundation.