Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Iowa: Three leaders and 51 years

Roy M. Pitkin, Professor Emeritus, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA


In his history of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the University of Iowa College of Medicine, William C. Keettel traced the evolution of the department from its origin in 1870 until 1980. This article will focus on a particular segment of the department’s history, that from 1926 to 1977, in which the department grew and developed to a position of national stature. During this 51-year period, departmental leadership was provided by three individuals, E. D. Plass (1926-1951), John H. Randall (1952-1959), and William C. Keettel (1959-1977) and this paper will consider these three men and their contributions to the department’s growth and development. The 1980 department history provided most of the basis of the article, although a small amount of the Randall section and a substantial amount of the Keettel section reflect my personal perspective and recollections.