Read the latest news about the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Penn Ob/Gyn Chair Receives Jacobi Medallion

Dr. Howell wtih Jacobi medallion award

Congratulations to Dr. Elizabeth A. Howell—recipient of the 2021 Jacobi Medallion. The Jacobi Medallion has been awarded by The Mount Sinai Alumni since 1952 for distinguished achievement in the field of medicine or extraordinary service. Dr. Howell’s interests lie at the intersection between quality of care and disparities in maternal and infant mortality and morbidity and postpartum depression, and its impact on underserved communities. Watch the 2021 Jacobi Medallion Ceremony.

Recognition of Excellence

Dr. DaCarla Albright  and Dr. Roxanne Unger were officially inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha National Honor Medical Society by the Perelman School of Medicine Class of 2021Alpha Omega Alpha isthe only national honor medical society in the world. Its raison d’ etre can be expressed in a phrase: to recognize and perpetuate excellence in the medical profession. As stated in the society’s constitution, “Alpha Omega Alpha is organized for educational purposes exclusively and not for profit, and its aims shall be the promotion of scholarship and research in medical schools, the encouragement of a high standard of character and conduct among medical students and graduates, and the recognition of high attainment in medical science, practice, and related fields.”

John Rock Lecture & Resident Research Day 

Arnold Advincula headshotThe 18th Annual John Rock Lecture & Resident Research Day took place virtually on May 20, 2021.  Residents presented their research and invited lecturer, Dr. Arnold P. Advincula, Chief of Gynecology at Sloane Hospital for Women, Columbia University Medical Center/New York Presbyterian, delivered the John Rock Lecture entitled A Self-Destruction and the Changing Landscape to Gynecologic Surgery: Where Do We Go From Here?

Another Ob/Gyn Resident Recognized for Teaching Excellence

Congratulations to Hannah Ryles, MD who received the 2021 Perelman School of Medicine Teaching Award and was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society as a result of her excellence in teaching and empathetic approach to medical care.

White House Invites OB/GYN Chair to Participate in Important Roundtable Discussion on Black Maternal Health

Dr. Howell speaking at the White House

What a Moment!  Elizabeth A. Howell, MD, MPP represented Penn Medicine on April 13, 2021 at the White House.  Along with Vice President Harris, Dr. Howell spoke to Black women touched by miscarriage and challenging childbirths and detailed ways society and the medical community need to do better.  The full video can be viewed on the White House YouTube page.

Ob/Gyn Resident Recognized for Excellence in Clinical Teaching 

Congratulations to Dr. Leigh Ann Humphries who has been chosen to receive the 2021 Dean's Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching by Housestaff. This award recognizes clinical teaching excellence and  commitment to medical education by outstanding housestaff and is given to a single resident in the health system.

Identifying High Value Health Care

Dr. Heidi Harvie is in a leadership role for the newly created Leonard Davis Institute Cost-Effectiveness Analysis working group. The primary goal of Identifying High-Value Health Care Working Group is to bring together Penn investigators to build Penn's capacity to provide high-quality, evidence-based analyses that contribute to the improvement of population health in the United States.  Cost-effectiveness analysis is by it's nature multidisciplinary, combining clinical medicine, epidemiology, simulation modeling, statistics, economics, and other disciplines, so this working group welcomes investigators from clinical care and related disciplines who share the goal of identifying the best uses of the resources the U.S. devotes to medical care. Click here to visit the LDI website for more details.

Bringing Gynecologic Cancer Care Closer to Patients

Penn LDI just published a blog by Dr. Katherine Hicks-Courant on a recent study looking at changes in access to gynecologic cancer care from 2015-2019.  Katherine and her colleagues found that gynecologic oncologists were working at more clinics and hospitals and covering a greater geographic, thus providing greater access to care and reducing rural disparities.  Click here to read the full post

Fighting COVID Vaccine Mistrust in the Black Community

Dr. Florencia Greer Polite, chief of the Division of General Obstetrics and Gynecology, is on a mission to dispel skepticism around the safety and importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine by building trust between Black Americans and the medical community.  Dr. Polite spoke with NBC10's Tracy Davidson about potential solutions.  Click here to watch.

Maternal Child & Equity Summit

On January 12, Dr. Elizabeth Howell co-chaired the Maternal Child & Equity Summit alongside The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York Academy of Medicine which featured cutting-edge research and discussions on advancing maternal and child health equity.  Click here if you are interested in viewing the recording.

Another Ob/Gyn Elected to the Penn Medicine Academy of Master Clinicians

Mathew N. Beshara, MDCongratulations to Dr. Mathew Beshara on being elected to the Penn Medicine Academy of Master Clinicians.   This award recognizes clinicians who consistently exemplify the highest standards of clinical excellence, teaching, humanism and professionalism.  Election to the Academy is the highest clinical honor to be bestowed on a Penn physician.

Members of this Academy serve as ambassadors to Penn Medicine, providing feedback to leadership on how to promote the ideal patient experience.  Four other Ob/Gyn faculty, Drs. Mark Morgan, Steven Sondheimer, Wanda Ronner, and Robert Giuntoli II, are also members of this prestigious Academy.

Ashley Haggerty, MD Recognized with Trailblazer Award

Dr. Haggerty in pajamasCongratulations to Dr. Haggerty recipient of the 2020 Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation's Teal Trailblazer Award.  She was honored at the Party in Your PJ's virtual celebration in honor of the 20th Anniversary of the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation on December 5th. 

New Vice Chair for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity 

Dr. Abike James has been appointed Vice Chair for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.   In this role, she will work closely with the department chair to oversee, promote and facilitate excellence in diversity, inclusion, equity, and antiracism efforts across all aspects of the department.

Penn Awarded $4.5 Million NIH Grant to Create a Comprehensive Resource for Women's Health

Junhyong Kim, PhD, Chair and Patricia M. Williams Professor of Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences, and Kate O'Neill, MD MTR, Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Perelman School of Medicine, have been awarded a Human BioMolecular Atlas Program grant supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development and the Common Fund of the National Institutes of Health.  Drs. Kim and O'Neill are leading a multi-disciplinary team to create a comprehensive resource for women's health by documenting the molecular characteristics of individual cells in the female reproductive system.  Read entire article here.  

New Possibilities for Parenthood

The University of Pennsylvania is one of three centers in the United States actively conducting a research study in which uterus transplants are performed on women with absolute uterine factor infertility (AUFI) in order to help them achieve parenthood (UNTIL trial). AUFI occurs when individuals are born without a uterus or have their uterus surgically removed and affects one in 500 women. Currently if these women and couples wish to have families, another woman must carry the pregnancy (through adoption or use of a gestational carrier). Uterus transplant has the potential to help these women carry their children. 13 children have been born around the world to women who have had uterus transplants.

Over 150 women with AUFI from >25 states have applied to Penn's UNTIL trial to be uterus transplant recipients. The uterus being transplanted may come from a deceased organ donor or from a healthy woman who has completed her childbearing.

For more information about being a uterus transplant donor or recipient, go to or contact Dan Zhao at 215-615-5162.

Women's Health Publication Nominated Top 10

The Clinical Research Forum has selected Dr. Courtney A. Schreiber's study "Mifepristone Pretreatment for the Medical Management of Early Pregnancy Loss" published in the New England Journal of Medicine one of the top 10 clinical research publications of the year. Congratulations to Dr. Shreiber and her co-authors Drs. Kurt T. Barnhart and Sarita R. Sonalkar.

Text Messaging Proves Successful in Monitoring Postpartum Hypertension

Heart Safe Motherhood, a text-based intervention for hypertension, received the Clinical Innovation Award from Vizient. This award recognizes innovative solutions from health care organizations that have implemented digital health technology solutions that improved clinical efficiency or care delivery resulting in improved patient experience.

Learn more about Heart Safe Motherhood

2021 Awards & Honors

  • Dr. Maureen Byrne received the Sharon Youcha Compassionate Patient Care Award for excellent patient care with compassion, empathy and respect, and listens and treats the patient as a whole person.
  • Dr. Corazon Irizarry received the Robert R. Rascoe, MD Award for Excellence in Ambulatory Patient Care. This award recognizes a chief resident who has demonstrated compassionate care and concern for our patients. The recipient was selected by the attendings and nursing staff in the Helen O. Dickens Center for Women's Health.
  • Dr. Efe Cudjoe – Midwife's Intern Award
  • Dr. Nia Bhadra Heintz – Midwife's Golden Mitt Award

2021 Teaching Awards

  • Dr. Whitney Bender – Fellow Teaching Award for Excellence in Resident Education
  • Dr. Dimitrios Nasioudis – Resident Research Award for Excellence in Research
  • Dr. Leigh Ann Humphries – Resident Teaching Award for Excellence in Medical Student Education
  • Dr. Mary DeAgostino-Kelly – Faculty Award for Excellence in Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Christna Werth - Collaborative Award for Resident Teaching Excellence

New Faculty

  • Dr. Kristin Gerson joined Maternal Fetal Medicine in July 2021
  • Dr Hayley S. Quant joined Maternal Fetal Medicine in January 2021
  • Dr. P. Kaitlyn Edelson joined Maternal Fetal Medicine in October 2020
  • Dr. Elizabeth Howell joined the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in September 2020.
  • Dr. Caroline Cox joined Penn Urogynecology in August 2020
  • Dr. Rebecca F. Hamm joined Maternal Fetal Medicine in August 2020
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