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Dedicated to Helping Mothers Who Need it Most
Obstetricians named to endowed faculty positions continue research with women and infants
The labor and delivery of a child can be one of the most amazing experiences in a parent’s life. It can also be one of the most trying.
As the fetus grows, complications can arise. The threats of cancer, hereditary illnesses, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases can devastate both the mother’s and the newborn’s chances of a healthy life.
But obstetricians like Susan Ramin, M.D. and Manju Monga, M.D., of The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, have dedicated their life’s work to helping mothers who need it most. Both recently were named to endowed positions that they said will allow them to continue vital research on pregnant women and their infants.
Monga, whose primary interest is medical complications in pregnancy and preterm labor, has been named to the Berel Held, M.D., Professorship in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences.
The Held Professorship was created in honor of Berel Held, M.D., the first professor and chairman of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the Medical School, serving from 1972-83. Held was instrumental in establishing the department.
Monga has been a part of the UT family for more than 16 years, completing her maternal-fetal medicine fellowship at the school, then joining the faculty in 1993. She has served as director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine since September 2006.
“I’m honored to be named to the Held Professorship,” she said.
Monga said she will use income from the endowment to strengthen future research by aiding a new generation of medical professionals.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to benefit from excellent mentorship here at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston,” she said. “I want to use this endowment to help our junior faculty. They’re our school’s future torch-bearers, and it’s important they get the support they need.”
Monga said the professorship will seed new fields of research. The endowment will train faculty in research techniques and clinical trials, Monga said.
Ramin joined the health science center faculty in August 1998 as director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship Program. She was named to the Held Professorship in October 2003. Last fall, she was appointed department chair following the exit of Larry Gilstrap, M.D., who held the position for 10 years.
With the promotion to leadership of the department, Ramin was named to the Emma Sue Hightower Professorship in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, an endowed position traditionally held by the chair of the department. Ramin’s new appointment effectively vacated the Held Professorship, to which Monga has been named.
Ramin, whose primary interest is in complicated and high-risk pregnancies, said the funding of this professorship will help her further establish the infrastructure for clinical and basic science research in maternal-fetal medicine and women’s health care.
“Being awarded this professorship was an honor, an absolute honor,” Ramin said.
Ramin also has long been a part of the UT family, completing her residency and maternal-fetal medicine fellowship at the UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. She joined the Southwestern faculty in 1990 and served from 1996-98 as director of the Maternal- Fetal Medicine Fellowship Program there.
Without endowments such as the Emma Sue Hightower and Berel Held professorships, research on women’s health care would be much more difficult, Ramin said.
“Research costs money, and these endowments make it possible,” she said. “Without these funds, it would be impossible. They’re critical to advancing health care.”
The department’s Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine offers consultations to patients with a variety of high-risk obstetrical complications, as well as ongoing prenatal care and counseling for patients with medical problems or complicated obstetrical histories or for those who just want up-to-date information prior to attempting pregnancy.
By Andy Summa for Institutional Advancement
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