Family Medicine Obstetrics Fellowship

Get comprehensive obstetrics care training at Essentia Health’s Obstetrics Fellowship at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, Minnesota.

“If you’re a family medicine resident thinking about taking the fellowship, I would strongly encourage you to do so. The skills that I was able to gather during the fellowship—not just surgical obstetric skills, but taking care of general obstetric patients and becoming more comfortable taking care of high-risk obstetric patients—are integral to my ability to coordinate care in my rural community.”

—Dr. Andrew Snider, Essentia Health Obstetrics Fellowship alumnus

The 12-month program is designed to provide concentrated practical experience for family medicine physicians who intend to practice in a rural community. One to two applicants are awarded the fellowship each year.

The Obstetric Fellowship Program at Essentia Health Video Transcript

Smiling doctor in white lab coat, stethoscope draped around his neck.

ANDREW SNIDER: My name is Andrew Snider. I'm a family physician in Ashland, Wisconsin. I practice full spectrum family medicine care.

Text, Obstetric Fellowship ProgramLogo, Essentia HealthAmerican flag hangs over street sign, Main St.

I think the benefits of working in a rural community are that you feel part of the community. You go to the grocery store, people see you and know who you are.

Text, Andrew Snider, MD, Family Medicine with OB, Essentia Health, Ashland

In that level you're just their neighbor. Of course they know that you're the doctor, but you're able to see them and interact with them on a very basic level.

Figure stands in a small fishing boat that slowly glides over still water. On the shore, low rolling hills covered with rows of trees.

That can be challenging at times, but it's also extremely rewarding and it's fun. It really makes you feel this is what life is about and this is why I came to the community. CHRISTINA MARSHALL:

Christina Marshall, Specialist, Medical and Health Sciences Education, Essentia Institute of Rural Health

My name is Christina Marshall and I'm the coordinator for the obstetric Fellowship at Essentia Health.

Text, The Goal

The goal of the Fellowship was to provide family medicine physicians, trained in obstetric care to be able to provide c-sections in rural hospitals.

Text, Candidates

Candidates for our OB Fellowship are current family medicine residents and family medicine physicians looking to be able to provide obstetrics, including c-sections in rural hospitals.

Text, Fellowship Rotation

The fellow can expect to spend 20 weeks in obstetrics. They will have 12 weeks in a rural community, they have four weeks of emergency medicine trauma, they have four weeks of critical care, and then they have eight weeks of elective time.

Andrew Snider

ANDREW SNIDER: Coming out of residency I knew I wanted to be a full spectrum family physician. I saw the Fellowship program as a chance to take my skills to a higher level, specifically c-section training. I was able to do many more c-sections than I ever would have been able to do during residency. I was able to take electives in critical care, management of patients on ventilators, being able to do such critical care skills as placing chest tubes, placing central lines, releasing of arterial lines. In addition I did some work with the urologist and I became more skilled in performing vasectomies. All of these skills I am able to take to the rural community to provide a higher level of care. CHRISTINA MARSHALL: The importance of the training and the Fellowship for the family medicine physician is they get additional skills before going out to rural community so they're able to provide full spectrum care, be able to stabilize patients before they have to be transferred, being able to keep patients in a small community rather than having a transfer them to a larger facility.

Large red barn with loft full of hay. Windmill stands taller than trees, rusty red tractor near farm house, white water tower.

ANDREW SNIDER: In rural communities the aspect of being able to provide obstetrical care is integral to family medicine.

Essentia Health Ashland Clinic

Without this our patients would be traveling about an hour and a half to deliver.

Mileage sign, Iron River, 16, Superior, 56.

And without being able to provide c-sections there is no way that we could provide obstetrical care in the community. As hard as you try to predict what's going to be complicated and not, there's no way to do that. And we have to have physicians in the community that can do c-sections if any doctors are going to provide obstetrical care there. CHRISTINA MARSHALL: An important aspect of the OB Fellowship is training the physicians on the management of the c-section decision. It's important they get this training in the Fellowship, as typically in a residency you're getting more of the technical skills. You are called in on the c-section to do the actual procedure and don't get to do the management of the patient and when to make the important call. ANDREW SNIDER: I think the Fellowship helped me transition to everyday practice because when you come out of residency you're obviously under a high degree of supervision. During the Fellowship I was certainly supervised, but it allowed me to and I was forced to act more independently. The Fellowship requires you to teach. I spent a lot of time teaching residents, teaching medical students during the Fellowship and assuming that leadership role. Thus, when I went into practice I didn't feel as much of a novice. I felt as though I was a more seasoned provider.

White church, cross atop steeple

CHRISTINA MARSHALL: After graduation of the Fellowship program, you will be able to obtain c-section privileges at a rural hospital and you'll be able to go into rural practice ready to take on anything that comes your way.

ANDREW SNIDER: If you're a family medicine resident thinking about taking the Fellowship, I would strongly encourage you to do so. The skills that I was able to gather during the Fellowship, not just surgical obstetric skills, but taking care of general obstetric patients and becoming more comfortable taking care of high risk obstetrical patients are integral to my ability to coordinate that care in my rural community.


Text, Essentia Health congratulates our fellows, Andrew Snider, MD, Practicing at the Essentia Health Ashland Clinic, Paula Hedin, MD, Practicing at the Essentia Health Deer River Clinic, Brielle Loe, MD, Practicing at the Essentia Health Ely Clinic, Angela Gatzke-Plamann, MD, Practicing in rural Wisconsin, Lisa Young, D. O. , Practicing in rural Arizona,Logo, Essentia Health, here with you

Manage Pregnancies

Gain experience managing high-risk and complicated pregnancies and births. Care for women affected by:

  • Abnormal labor progress
  • Antepartum hemorrhage
  • Complicated laceration repairs
  • Fetal distress
  • Hypertension
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Infections
  • Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)
  • Malpresentation
  • Premature labor
  • Preterm labor
  • Postmaturity
  • Postpartum hemorrhage
  • Preeclampsia
  • Retained placenta
  • Shoulder dystocia

Expand your delivery and surgical OB skills as you perform a wide range of procedures, such as:

  • Assisted vaginal deliveries, such as forceps delivery and vacuum extraction
  • Caesarean sections (C-sections)
  • Manual removal of placenta
  • Post-partum dilation and curettage (D&C)
  • Post-partum tubal ligation
  • Vaginal births

C-Section Training

Build on the technical skills you learned in residency. As an obstetric fellow, you’ll not only gain experience performing cesarean births, you’ll improve your ability to manage patients and determine when a C-section is necessary. After your fellowship, you’ll be able to obtain C-section privileges at a rural hospital and feel confident caring for mothers-to-be.


Count on Essentia Health to help you become familiar with our facilities, policies, procedures, and technology. You’ll attend a comprehensive physician orientation and learn how to use our integrated electronic health record (EHR) system.


Train at Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center (Duluth)—where you’ll be part of a team that delivers more than 1,300 babies each year—and at outpatient clinics in surrounding rural communities. Your rotations will include:

  • Obstetrics (20 weeks)
  • Outpatient primary care at a rural clinic location (12 weeks)
  • Critical care (four weeks)
  • Emergency/trauma (four weeks)
  • Electives (four weeks)

Professional Development

Be part of a team creating innovative solutions to improve health care in rural settings. Network and build professional development skills at conferences for obstetric specialists. Access resources and services offered by Essentia’s health sciences library.

Teaching Experience

Get experience as an instructor when you:

  • Serve as a preceptor for family medicine residents
  • Teach third- and fourth-year medical students during their clinical rotations
  • Participate in OB rounds, lectures, simulation training, and a year-end OB-GYN in-service

Improve Health Outcomes for Women & Babies

Many women living in rural communities have to travel far from home for obstetrical care. Equip yourself to provide maternity services in a rural community so your patients can get the care they need closer to home.

You can make a difference in rural communities. Read profiles of our current fellows and why they chose the Obstetrics Fellowship at Essentia Health.

Advance your skills as full-spectrum family medicine physician. Become an OB fellow at Essentia Health.

Apply Now

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