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OBGYN Home » Fellowships » Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship

Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship

Our three-year fellowship program provides both strong clinical and basic science experience to prepare individuals for an academic career and clinical practice.

The fellows rotate between two major teaching hospitals: Memorial Hermann Hospital and Lyndon Baines Johnson General Hospital. Memorial Hermann Hospital, which is located in the Texas Medical Center, delivers 3,200 patients annually (40% of which are high risk) and receives approximately 300 maternal transports annually. The service is comprised of approximately one-third teaching clinic patients, 10% faculty private practice patients, one-third HMO patients, and the rest are patients of private physicians in the community. There is a 12-bed Maternal Fetal Special Care Unit for antepartum and critically ill patients, and an in-hospital Antepartum Testing Unit that provides a full range of ultrasound, heart rate monitoring, prenatal diagnostic and invasive procedures.

The outpatient clinics at the Medical Center include a resident clinic, private faculty, and ultrasound clinics. The resident clinic includes a high-risk clinic, which is staffed by Maternal-Fetal Medicine fellows and faculty. The ultrasound and prenatal genetics clinics are part of a busy prenatal diagnosis service. We perform chorionic villus sampling, early and regular amniocenteses, basic and targeted ultrasound exams, invasive fetal procedures and genetic counseling.

The Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ)/Harris County Hospital District delivers approximately 5,500 patients annually, 50% of whom are high-risk. The LBJ Hospital has an 8-bed Special Care Unit for critically ill gravidas, and also houses a full service Antepartum Testing Unit with capabilities for both basic and targeted ultrasound examinations, as well as fetal echocardiography, color doppler flow studies, and prenatal diagnostic services including invasive fetal procedures.

The divisional faculty members are Drs. Sean Blackwell, Lara Friel, Anthony Johnson, Kenneth Moise, and Jerrie Refuerzo, .

  • Dr. Sean Blackwell joined our faculty in July of 2007. He is an Associate Professor and Principal Investigator of the NICHD MFMU Network. He completed his residency and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship at Wayne State University. His areas of interest are fetal brain injury, stillbirth, shoulder dystocia, intrauterine infection, informatics, clinical trials, fetal diagnosis and therapy, CVS, fetal blood sampling, fetal anemia, medical complications, thrombophilia.
  • Dr. Lara Friel joined our faculty in September 2009.
  • Dr. Anthony Johnson joined our faculty in September 2011.
  • Dr. Kenneth Moise joined our faculty in September 2011.
  • Dr. Jerrie Refuerzo joined our faculty in July of 2007 as an Assistant Professor. She completed her residency and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship at Wayne State University. Her areas of interest are medications in pregnancy, critical care obstetrics, maternal medical conditions

The fellowship program encompasses three years. During that time, 12 months are required on clinical Maternal-Fetal Medicine rotations, 6 months of elective rotation (clinical or research), and 18 months are spent on research/didactic rotations. Clinical months are spent on the inpatient obstetrical service at each hospital (Memorial Hermann and LBJ), outpatient Maternal-Fetal Medicine consultation services, and various off-service rotations. The off-service rotations include genetics, infectious diseases, obstetrical anesthesia, neonatology, and critical care. The clinical rotations in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit may be done at either Memorial Hermann Hospital or LBJ, depending on the fellow’s preference. The critical care rotation is a one-month rotation in the 45-bed Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Memorial Hermann Hospital, which is a major Shock/Trauma Unit for the city of Houston. The Critical Care faculty of the Department of Anesthesiology and General Surgery supervises this rotation.

At least 18 months of the three-year fellowship will be spent in a comprehensive research program under the direction of one of the faculty members. It will be the fellow’s choice as to whether the research program will be clinically or basic science oriented. The physical site of the fellow’s research program may be at either Memorial Hermann Hospital or LBJ, again dependent on the fellow’s preference and faculty advisor.

We have developed focused training programs in infectious disease, critical care, genetics, public health, and maternal physiology. These programs may be tailored to provide a Masters of Public Health or Masters of Science in Clinical Research during the three-year fellowship. A combined Critical Care/Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship program is also available, which provides the opportunity for the fellow to meet the requirements to sit for both the critical care and Maternal-Fetal Medicine board exams. At least two courses in the Graduate School of Biological Sciences (GSBS) – including biostatistics – are required for completion of the fellowship. The fellow’s rotation and research schedule can be flexible and is usually tailored to his/her particular needs and interests.

The graduates of our fellowship program have done extremely well in their pursuit of academic careers. We feel that they have become outstanding Maternal-Fetal Medicine clinicians, as well as getting a good start to their basic science and/or clinical research careers.

Also, the University of Texas-Houston Medical School is one of the 14 centers that participate in the National Institutes of Health Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network. This is a five year grant that was awarded for the time period of April 2001-2006.  Participating in this network allows us the opportunity to do randomized clinical trials to further learn about conditions complicating pregnancy and improving the outcome of mothers and their infants.


We now require that all MFM Fellowship applicants submit their applications through ERAS.