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The 80th Meeting of the Kane King Dodek Obstetrical Society: A Time of Remembrance and Celebration

The 80th meeting of the Kane King Dodek Obstetrical Society, held May 17, was filled with excitement, yet also a tone of remembrance. The Kane King Dodek Obstetrical Society, a professional organization honoring medical students who excel in obstetrics and gynecology, was founded in 1937 by Samuel Mayer Dodek, M.D., M.A.O., to honor Albert Freeman Africanus King, M.D., professor of obstetrics at the George Washington University from 1871–1913 and dean of the medical school from 1879-94. In 1945, Howard Kane, M.D.’1912, professor of obstetrics and genecology — who actually delivered Oscar I. Dodek Jr., M.D. — was memorialized with the addition of his name to the society. Upon the 50th anniversary of the society, Samuel Dodek, M.D., was added to the society’s name.

This year’s meeting of the society would be the first in many years without Oscar I. Dodek Jr., M.D. ’56, J.D. ’85, Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology, who passed away earlier this year. At each annual meeting, Oscar I. Dodek Jr. would enthusiastically welcome new members of the society, and he was particularly proud of this medical honor society.

This year, Nancy Gaba, M.D. ’93, RESD ’97, Oscar I. and Mildred S. Dodek and Joan B. and Oscar I. Dodek Jr. Professor and Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, opened the event by welcoming the attendees and gave a history of the society — and recognized the personal attributes that Oscar I. Dodek Jr., M.D. would bring to each meeting, including his affinity for traditions. In honor of a tie-switching ceremony he would perform in the middle of his remarks each year to recognize the work of several presidents, Gaba donned a scarf emblazoned with the names of each president. There was also a moment of silence dedicated to remember Oscar I. Dodek Jr.

Paul M. Fine, M.D. ’71, B.A. ’68, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine, Medical Director Emeritus at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, and an outspoken advocate for women’s health, delivered the evening’s keynote address. During his remarks, Fine spoke of his relationship with Oscar I. Dodek Jr. and his wife, Joan, sharing memories of the support he felt from the Dodek family during times that were difficult to serve as an expert on women’s health issues and women’s rights issues. Fine closed his remarks by stating that there is no better specialty than obstetrics and gynecology, and he reminded the attendees to always remember humanity and human dignity.  

At the close of the meeting, the 2017 Class of Kane King Dodek Society inductees, which included graduating fourth-year medical students and graduating residents, were called by name and presented with a certificate of membership.