Founding of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Before there was a Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Baylor University College of Medicine in Dallas provided training in the women’s health care under the leadership of Calvin R. Hannah, M.D., Professor and Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology from 1908 to 1940.

By the 1930s, the specialty was maturing and underwent a reorganization with the incorporation in 1930 of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) – the third oldest medical specialty in the country.

The formation of ABOG led to formalized training in the specialty along with requirements for board certification. As more specialists in obstetrics and gynecology were trained and began delivering babies, they surpassed family physicians who had delivered the largest percentage of infants prior to the 1940s¹.

When Baylor University College of Medicine moved from Dallas to Houston in 1943, many of the Baylor faculty remained in Dallas – including a number of faculty from the obstetrics and gynecology service. This contingent formed the new Southwestern Medical School in 1943².

Hired on November 1, 1943, the Department's first chairman was William F. Mengert, M.D. (1943–1955). He has the distinction of being the first full-time faculty member in a clinical department at the new Southwestern Medical College.

And, thus, the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology was born.


¹ The early history of obstetrics and gynecology in Dallas is documented in Adams, Ruben H., Jr., Beck, Jay M. Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor University Medical Center. BUMC Proceedings Jul 2002; 15(3):268-274.

² On December 15, 1943, Southwestern Medical College received its accreditation as the 68th medical school in the United States. In January 1949, Southwestern Medical Foundation proposed that Southwestern Medical College become part of the University of Texas System. On September 1, 1949, Southwestern Medical School of The University of Texas began operations with a class of 100.