Our History

Although Obstetrical services were not offered at Mount Sinai until almost 100 years after its founding in 1852, the Gynecology service came into early prominence in 1877 when medical and surgical services were established. In that year, the first gynecologist was appointed at the hospital, marking an early step toward specialization in the institution.

In the intervening 113 years, the Mount Sinai Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science has made seminal contributions to the field, transforming itself into a full-fledged academic and clinical enterprise, incorporating the newest branches of science and research into its curriculum, and in the practice of medicine.

We stand on the shoulders of these giants.

  • 1875 - Paul F. Munde was named the first Chief of the Outpatient Gynecology Clinic. He also served as president of the American Gynecological Society and was named honorary president of the International Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

  • 1877 - Emil Noeggerath was appointed the first Gynecologist at Mount Sinai Hospital. He published seminal papers on gonorrhea and carcinoma and in collaboration with another Mount Sinai legend Abraham Jacobi. He was one of the founding editors of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Diseases and Women and Children.

  • 1892 - Joseph Brettauer and Florian Krug assumed joint leadership of the Department. Brettauer was a legendary surgeon. He served as president of both the New York Obstetrical Society and the American Gynecological society. Krug introduced the Trendelenberg position for gynecologic surgery to America.

  • 1916 - Hiram Vineberg succeeds Krug. His most important contribution to the Hospital was his nurturing and mentoring of young physicians and gynecologists. He served as president of the New York Obstetrical Society and as first vice president of the American Gynecological Society.

  • 1925 - Robert Tilden Frank assumed leadership of Department. Known as one of the "fathers" of reproductive endocrinology, Frank is among the first to demonstrate the female sex hormone in the follicular fluid of the ovary. He created a rapid rat test for pregnancy, developed the first test to measure the levels of circulating estrogens in the blood, and originated an operative technique for the construction of an artificial vagina. He coined the term PMS in 1931.

  • 1937 - Isidor Clinton Rubin succeeds Frank. He peformed the first tubal insufflation using oxygen, which was the first non-surgical method to test the patency of the Fallopian tubes; he also developed a Kymograph for better interpretation of the results. Rubin was among the first to apply x-rays in the practice of Gynecology, he wrote extensively on early carcinoma of the uterus and was the first to describe sudden shoulder pain as a symptom of a ruptured ectopic pregnancy.

  • 1958 - Samuel Geist served as Co-Director with Rubin and assumed leadership of the Department upon Rubin's death in 1958. Geist was one of the first to study ovarian theca cell tumors. He performed the first tubal insufflation using oxygen, which was the first non-surgical method to test the patency of the Fallopian tubes. His text on ovarian tumors became a classic in its time.

  • 1947 - Morris Goldberger appointed Chief of the Department. He helped shape the plans for the Department's new clinical and research facilities. In1952, the Klingenstein Pavillion opened, providing the most modern and comprehensive obstetrical and nursery services in New York City.

  • 1952 - Alan Guttmacher was chosen Chief of the newly named Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He created a multi-disciplinary team approach to care presaging the development of Maternal and Fetal Health as a sub-specialty of OB/GYN. He led the drive for improved reproductive health and freedom of choice for all women, efforts that ultimately lead to the availability and acceptance of contraceptive methodologies and abortion rights at a time when these were not standard elements of female medical care. Guttmacher also provided pelvic infectious disease services to all women who came to Mount Sinai. He went on to serve as president of Planned Parenthood.

  • 1962 - Saul Gusberg succeeds Guttmacher. An expert in Gynecologic Oncology, he established the first program and fellowship in this specialty. He proposed including factors such as uterine size and histologic features in patients with endometrial cancer in a staging system which formed the basis for FIGO, the internationally accepted staging system. As founding chairman of the Department in the new Icahn School of Medicine, Gusberg's tenure was notable for a marked increase in the number of women admitted to the school and for more women entering the specialty of OB/GYN. He launched a cervical cancer screening project in the New York City Municipal Hospital System that ultimately resulted in a significant reduction in the prevalence of the disease. His team demonstrated the presence of cell-mediated immunity in patients with cervical, ovarian and endometrial cancers – a finding that would establish a basis for the benefits of immunotherapy and they were among the first to demonstrate the utility of cisplatinum in the treatment of patients with advanced epithelial ovarian cancer and squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix. Gusberg also introduced minimally-invasive surgery to the Division and added training in laparoscopic procedures to the fellowship program.

  • 1981 - Nathan G. Kase succeeds Gusberg. A specialist in gynecology and reproductive endocrinology, Kase provided the first demonstration that the human ovary could synthesize testosterone in vitro. His publications on the use of Clomid and Pergonal provided regimens that became the standard of care for the administration of these drugs. Kase co-authored the first edition of Clinical Gynecology, Endocrinology and Infertility which went on to become the largest-selling text in the specialty of OB/GYN. He established a new division of perinatology and maternal fetal medicine and dramatically enhanced the Department's preeminence in reproductive endocrinology. Kase also stressed excellence in research, especially in developmental biology and molecular biology. He appointed one of the first African-American faculty members at Mount Sinai and modernized the Department's physical plant. In 1985, Kase was appointed Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine.

  • 1985 - Richard Berkowitz was appointed Chairman of the newly renamed Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology. His years as chairman produced many achievements: the introduction of the modern use of ultrasound to the practice of perinatal medicine; an increase in the number of deliveries in the obstetrical service and in the number of OB/GYN residents; the first successful intrauterine transfusion of blood given by the intravascular route directly into an umbilical vessel without the use of fetoscopy; and, an expansion in the use of minimally invasive surgery in the staging and treatment of gynecologic malignancies. An increase in the number of infectious disease specialists to the Department led to its becoming a leader in research into the epidemiology and management of HIV infection in OB/GYN patients and the first to document that the use of antiviral therapy during labor and the neonatal period dramatically reduce vertical transmission of the HIV virus from pregnant women to their babies. The Department's research also demonstrated for the first time that the efficiency of IVF could be greatly increased if the sperm were assisted in reaching the surface of the egg.

  • 2003 - Michael Brodman assumed leadership as only the fourth chairman of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science. As a pioneer in Urogynecology and pelvic reconstructive surgery, he established the Divisions of Urogynecology, Family Planning, Minimally-Invasive Surgery, Global Women's Health, as well as a fellowship training program in Urogynecology. He expanded the Divisions of Reproductive Science, Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Gynecologic Oncology, ushering in a new era of innovation and technological advances. Dr. Brodman has served as the President of the Mount Sinai Faculty Practice and President of the Medical Board. He has created a code of professionalism at Mount Sinai and continues to work at the regional level on patient safety, continuing our long tradition of providing excellence in patient care, education and research to benefit women at all stages of their lives.