ASRM Remembers Paul McDonough, M.D.
May 12, 2021
Published in: ASRM Bulletin
Dr. McDonough's scientific firsts are many. He was early in understanding the importance of molecular genetics, identification of gene mutations in reproductive disorders, and instrumental in Y chromosome mapping. He was the first to do laparoscopy in the Southeast, first prenatal diagnosis of congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), and the first to diagnose molecular CAH.
His contribution to science and the advancement of women's health are almost without peer. He was a member of dozens of medical societies, and Past President of: The Society of Reproductive Endocrinology, South Atlantic Association of Obstetrics & Gynecology, American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and the North American Society of Pediatric Adolescent Gynecology. He was Associate Editor of the Journal for the American Society of Reproductive Medicine for 20 years, and Editor Emeritus of the Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. He was a member of numerous other editorial boards in obstetrics-gynecology and genetics. In 2007, the MCG Research Institute presented Dr. McDonough a Lifetime Achievement Award for fundamental research leading to insights into disease prevention, progression, or therapy.
“Dr. McDonough was well ahead of his time, his entire life," said Richard Reindollar, M.D., former ASRM Chief Executive Officer. “From the heyday of cytogenetics to the dawning of the era of molecular medicine, he always espoused the importance of understanding genetics for advancing the field of reproductive medicine. He often said that we should cherish the clinical exceptions in nature, for by understanding the etiologies of reproductive disorders we will learn more about normal physiology and move the field forward. There was no better mentor than Paul McDonough,” he added.
In the mid-1960s, he was part of the pioneering group in Medical Genetics who began their investigations when clinical genetics was just beginning. Dr. McDonough started the first Reproductive Endocrine section at MCG in 1966. The MCG training program in Reproductive Endocrinology was, for many years, the only one accredited by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Southeast. At least 14 of his former fellows are currently Directors of Reproductive Endocrine Divisions at medical schools. In recognition of these contributions, he received the Outstanding Faculty Award for the School of Medicine in 1984-85 and the Distinguished Faculty Award for Clinical Science Research in 1990. The Paul G. McDonough Lectureship was established as part of the McDonough Society by his former fellows.
It was from here that Dr. McDonough's medical academic career accelerated. He became world renown and board certified in reproductive endocrinology, genetics, and cytogenetics. He authored over 300 papers, edited several medical journals, served on panels for the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration and became one of the most sought-after speakers in the world.
Dr. McDonough conducted numerous postgraduate courses and delivered many honorary lectureships throughout the world. From 1979 to 1983, Dr. McDonough was Chairman of the Genetics Task Force at the Medical College of Georgia and, from 1983 to 1993, was Acting Director of the Human Genetics Institute at the Medical College of Georgia.
Dr. McDonough's distinguished medical career was the product of ability and an enormous capacity for work. Coming from modest means, he learned at an early age the importance of diligence, drive, and persistence. We all can learn from his example here on earth.
To honor the tremendous impact Dr. McDonough has had on reproductive medicine, the family has asked for donations to be made to ASRM. To make a memorial gift please visit asrm.org or call 205-978-7702 or mail checks to American Society of Reproductive Medicine at 1209 Montgomery Highway in Birmingham, Alabama 35216.
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For almost a century, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has been the global leader in multidisciplinary reproductive medicine research, ethical practice, and education. ASRM impacts reproductive care and science worldwide by creating funding opportunities for advancing reproduction research and discovery, by providing evidence-based education and public health information, and by advocating for reproductive health care professionals and the patients they serve. With members in more than 100 countries, the Society is headquartered in Washington, DC, with additional operations in Birmingham, AL. www.asrm.org
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