News » A Message from CEO and Dean Barbara L. Bass About the Passing of Dr. John Larsen

A Message from CEO and Dean Barbara L. Bass About the Passing of Dr. John Larsen

Dear Colleagues,

It is with great sadness that I share the news of the passing of John W. Larsen Jr., MD, FACOG, FACMG, 
Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology, on Jan. 6, 2021.

For more than 42 years Dr. Larsen was a beloved fixture in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, joining the George Washington University faculty in 1975 as an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and ultimately rising to become chair in 2004. He made positive contributions to the careers of thousands of physicians.

He was also among a notable list of GW physicians to hold the Oscar I. Dodek and Mildred S. Dodek and Joan B. and Oscar I. Dodek Jr., MD '56, JD '85, professorship, established in 1982, including Allan B. Weingold, MD, HON '98, Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Harold E. Fox, MD; and current Dodek Professor and Chair, Nancy D. Gaba, MD '93, RESD '97. Larsen also served as medical director of the MFA and as a trustee of GW Hospital.

Dr. Larsen was a fellow of both the American College of Gynecology and the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics. Among his many accomplishments, in 2016, he received the prestigious Hellman Midwifery Partnership Award, in recognition for having demonstrated outstanding support for midwifery. He is credited with bringing midwifery care back to GW Hospital after an absence of more than 20 years. Dr. Larsen also helped expand access to comprehensive, evidence-based obstetric care at GW Hospital.

He was a graduate of Dartmouth College in 1964 where he earned his undergraduate degree, and he earned his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College in 1968. As a United States Army Special Forces Green Beret, Dr. Larsen trained in mountain and winter warfare in the early 1960s.

Dr. Larsen is survived by many loved ones including his wife, Joan, and his children. In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made in Dr. Larsen's memory to the GW Ob/Gyn Education Fund, linked here. The Fund provides critical support for resident wellness, research, and enhanced educational opportunities in patient care, advocacy, and global health.

Memorial services are still being planned. As information becomes available, we will share as appropriate. We invite you to visit Dr. Larsen's obituary at

Warmest regards,

Barbara Lee Bass, MD
Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean, GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Professor of Surgery
The George Washington University
CEO, The GW Medical Faculty Associates