Investing in World-Class Excellence in Women's Health
In the past century, the field of obstetrics and gynecology has advanced in remarkable ways. Physicians are able to better diagnose and treat female reproductive system disorders, and the care women receive during and after childbirth has improved. Many such advancements in the George Washington University Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology can be traced to the academic, clinical, and philanthropic contributions of the Dodek family.
The Dodeks have a long history of service to the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS). “At least one Dr. Dodek has been academically involved with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the George Washington University since 1932, when Dr. Samuel Dodek joined the faculty,” said Dr. Dodek’s nephew, Oscar I. Dodek Jr., MD ’56, JD ’85, Clinical Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology at SMHS.
Samuel M. Dodek, MD, CCAS BA ’23, was a beloved Clinical Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology at GW. He was trained as one of America’s first obstetric specialists at a time when gynecology was a part of general surgery. Starting in 1932, he gave lectures on basic obstetrics to GW students—and he would continue to do so for more than 40 years. Dr. Oscar Dodek Jr., who in addition to being a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology was also a clinical professor of biochemistry, taught a course in steroid biochemistry to medical and graduate students and was the first board-certified reproductive endocrinologist in the D.C. area. He helped establish the subspecialty Division of Reproductive Endocrinology in 1978 and presented lectures and conferences on reproductive endocrinology to a generation of students and residents.
In commemoration of these achievements, Dr. Dodek Jr.’s parents, Mildred and Oscar Dodek Sr., established the Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Later Dr. Dodek Jr. and his wife, Joan, made a significant investment to the fund, and it became known as the Oscar I. and Mildred S. Dodek and Joan B. and Oscar I. Dodek Jr. Professor and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The chairmanship has been held by many leaders at GW, including Allan B. Weingold, MD, HON ’98, Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Harold E. Fox, MD; and John W. Larsen Jr., MD, FACOG, professor and Chairman Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology. On Oct. 8, 2014, the GW community convened in Ross Hall to honor the installation of the newest chair, Nancy D. Gaba, MD ’93, RESD ’97, FACOG.
“We have known Nancy for two decades as a dedicated, most knowledgeable physician and professor who understands the essence of student and resident academics,” Dr. Dodek Jr. said at the ceremony.
Having known her as a resident and a professor, Dr. Dodek Jr. believes that Dr. Gaba will expand GW’s tradition of clinical excellence, where the health and safety of the patient come first. He applauded the outstanding clinical studies that are being performed by her department, and believes that Dr. Gaba will build on GW’s tradition of excellence in women’s health care established by such predecessors as Dr. Weingold and Dr. Larsen. To honor Dr. Gaba’s induction, Dr. Dodek Jr. increased his commitment to the fund with a bequest intention.
Dr. Gaba graduated from GW’s MD program in 1993 and completed her internship and residency at GW in 1997, when she held the position of administrative chief resident. In 1997, she joined GW’s faculty, serving as the residency program director in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and, subsequently, as the associate dean for Graduate Medical Education. Dr. Gaba is a current fellow of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is also a member and past president of the Kane-King-Dodek Obstetrical Honor Society, which was established by Dr. Samuel Dodek in 1937. The honor society recognizes students for academic excellence in obstetrics and gynecology.
Dr. Gaba serves as a board examiner for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is currently the president and a founding member of the Society for Academic Specialists in General Obstetrics and Gynecology. Additionally, she has made significant contributions to the field of obstetrics and gynecology through her leadership in education, research, and clinical practice.
“My vision for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology emphasizes three main principles, which are important to me: excellence in patient care, mentorship, and scholarship,” said Dr. Gaba at her installation. The Oscar I. and Mildred S. Dodek and Joan B. and Oscar I. Dodek Jr. Professor and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology fund has supported these principles through the expansion of GW’s strong tradition of advancing women’s health.
This article originally appeared in the 2015 Endowment Report