Gifts surpass $500,000 to establish chair in honor of Gant

By Rachel Skei Donihoo 

April 2010

Friends, colleagues, family members and former students of respected obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Norman Gant have united to create a chair in his honor at
UT Southwestern.

Recently named professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynecology, Dr. Gant served on the medical center’s faculty for 42 years. The fundraising campaign to create the endowment was initiated when he announced his retirement in 2009.

The Norman F. Gant Jr., M.D., Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology was established with contributions totaling more than $500,000.

Dr. Norman Gant

“Our ability to raise significant funds, particularly in light of the country’s economic crisis, underscores the impact Dr. Gant has had on all who’ve had the pleasure of knowing him,” said Dr. Steven Bloom, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology. “He is a passionate advocate for pregnant women and babies and is immensely admired for his years of service to his field and to his patients. The many donors were clearly sending Dr. Gant a message of gratitude and affection, and we’re very grateful for their generosity.”

Dr. Bloom co-chaired the fundraising campaign with Dr. Alvin “Bud” Brekken, a former UT Southwestern professor and well-known leader in obstetrics and gynecology.

“It’s quite humbling,” Dr. Gant said. “They raised that money during a recession, for goodness’ sake.”

He said he is most proud of being part of the department’s growth over his career: “We were a very small department with few faculty, and it’s grown into a nationally and internationally known department.”

A former chairman of obstetrics and gynecology, Dr. Gant served as executive director of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology from 1993 to 2009. The nonprofit group certifies obstetricians and gynecologists and approves U.S. graduate medical education programs in the specialties.

In recognition of his service, the board last year endowed a two-year fellowship to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine in his honor. The grant — the first IOM fellowship ever named after a person — introduces early-career faculty members to women’s health policy issues from the perspectives of legislators, patient interest groups and industry representatives.

A native of Wichita Falls, Dr. Gant received his medical degree in 1964 from
UT Southwestern, where he also completed his residency and fellowships. He joined the faculty in 1968 and served as chairman from 1977 to 1983.

Dr. Gant’s research largely focused on fetal development and pregnancy complications, especially preeclampsia, a potentially deadly condition that includes high blood pressure, fluid retention and kidney damage. Dr. Gant co-developed the “roll-over” test, used for many years to predict whether a woman was in danger of developing preeclampsia.

He was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2001 and was inducted as a fellow in the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Dr. Gant served as editor of the 17th to 21st editions of Williams Obstetrics, the leading textbook in the field, and helped found the Texas Perinatal Association in 1989.

His professional recognitions include the Baden-Gibbs Award from the Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Career Achievement Award from the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. Good Housekeeping and The Best Doctors in America list singled out Dr. Gant as one of the best doctors for women in the U.S.

“Norman Gant truly is a pillar in his field, and his advocacy of women’s health has affected and improved clinical care worldwide,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, president of
UT Southwestern. “The success of this campaign is a testament to his leadership and character, and we’re very grateful to those who chose to honor him — and our medical center — in this way.”

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Dr. Bloom holds the Mary Dees McDermott Hicks Chair in Medical Science.

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