A Legacy Eight Decades in the Making

The Dodek family has an inspiring history of service and generosity to the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the George Washington University’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), beginning when Samuel M. Dodek, BA ’23, joined the department in 1932. Since then, the Dodeks have had an indelible impact across the university as active alumni, educators, researchers, and benefactors.

Oscar I. Dodek Sr. and Mildred S. Dodek established the chair of obstetrics and gynecology to honor Oscar’s brother Samuel Dodek and their son, Oscar I. Dodek Jr., MD ’56, JD ’85. In 1982, Dodek Jr. and his parents endowed the Oscar I. and Mildred S. Dodek and Joan B. and Oscar I. Dodek, Jr. Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a powerful testament to the family’s continued commitment to GW and to the advancement of women’s health.

“There were no fellowships in reproductive endocrinology in 1963, when I was discharged after two years as a Captain in the United States Medical Corps,” Dodek Jr. remembers. But that wasn’t about to slow him down.

Joan B. Dodek and Oscar I. Dodek, Jr., MD '56, JD '85, with Dr. Nancy D. Gaba, MD ’93, RESD ’97 (center) at her installation in October.

Joan B. Dodek and Oscar I. Dodek Jr., MD ’56, JD ’85, with Dr. Nancy D. Gaba, MD ’93, RESD ’97, FACOG (center) at her installation ceremony in October.

Dodek Jr. was among the first physicians in the D.C.-area to specialize in reproductive health and the first board-certified reproductive endocrinologist in the region. At GW, the family established the department of reproductive endocrinology in 1978, and Dodek Jr. contributed one major clinical advance after another to improve the health and protect the fertility of women.

This year, Dodek Jr., who still serves as Emeritus Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at SMHS, has increased his commitment to the professorship his family endowed with a generous bequest intention in honor of Dr. Nancy D. Gaba, MD ’93, RESD ’97, FACOG, who was appointed as the new chair of the department earlier this year.

“We have known Nancy for two decades as a dedicated, knowledgeable physician and a professor who understands the essence of student and resident academics,” he said at the ceremony to install Dr. Gaba on October 8.

Dr. Gaba joins a distinguished group of leaders who have held this title, including Allan B. Weingold, MD; Harold Fox, MD; and, most recently, John Larsen, MD. A nationally-recognized clinician and educator, Dr. Gaba—like the Dodeks—holds a deep and longstanding connection to GW. “I feel that I have grown up here and some of the most impactful things that have ever happened to me happened here at GW,” she said at the installation event.

This legacy of academic and clinical excellence endures thanks to the loyal generosity of the Dodek family.

“I am so grateful to the Dodek family for always encouraging me, for being such generous benefactors of the department that I love,” she said. “Oscar and Joan, thank you so much for your activism, for being such terrific role models, and for all you do for GW and for the Washington, D.C., community.”


Endowed positions are the highest honor bestowed on faculty and help bolster the research and academic opportunities at GW and its schools and programs. Learn how you can help Enhance Academics at the George Washington University as part of Making History: The Campaign for GW.

Author: GW Impact

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