Message from Department Chair, Deborah Krakow, MD

Deborah Krakow, MD

Each year the month of March provides an occasion to recognize contributions of women to history and to contemporary society.  Originally declared National Women’s History Week in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter, we now use the entire month of March to recognize women whose historic achievements have gone unnoticed, and draw attention to women who are making a difference in the world today.  We also have an opportunity to shine light on societal challenges that negatively impact women’s lives, such as inequities in health care for women. 

Up until the latter part of the 20th century standards of care for women were largely built on discoveries made in care for men.  Only in the past 30 years have gender differences in health research slowly begun to demonstrate that many diseases, such as heart disease, present differently in women. 

Our specialty focuses almost entirely on women, and gender bias is less significant in our standards of care.  However other disparities create barriers that become challenges for women and girls that can put their well-being at risk.  Race and ethnicity, education, where you live, income and other social determinants are among many barriers that can impact access to and quality of care for women. 

Recognizing and addressing inequities in care for women is a key part of our efforts to provide the highest quality OBGYN services at UCLA Health.  In this issue of OBGYNews you will read about the work of one of our newest faculty, Dr. Dana Chase, and her efforts to expand the department’s gynecologic cancer clinical trials portfolio to underrepresented patient populations, aiming to improve care outcomes and quality of life.  One of the highlights of her work is a focus on women 70 and older, a cohort that has not been well represented in oncology research. 

You will be introduced to the UCLA Center for Women’s Pelvic Health, a multidisciplinary program that brings together specialists from OBGYN and Urology, providing care to women with dysfunction in the pelvic diaphragm.  Recent findings suggest many disparities among women with urogynecologic disorders including age, race and access to care, resulting in patients whose pelvic floor disorders go untreated.  This program is providing services tailored for women, focused on improving access to care, education and treatment.    

And, finally, you’ll hear about a newly endowed Chair, our first in UCLA OBGYN.  The Nancy Marks Endowed Chair in Women’s Health will be held by Dr. Beth Karlan, providing resources that will advance her research, including efforts to improve representation of all women in scientific study.  How appropriate that this Chair is funded by a woman, held by a woman, and focused on care and research to improve the lives of women.

As we pause to mark the contributions of women around the world, we also celebrate all the faculty, care providers and staff that are helping our Department offer best in class care to improve the well-being of our patients.   

Deborah Krakow, MD
Chair, UCLA Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Spring 2023 Issue Contents


Clinical Update: Center for Women’s Pelvic Health
Faculty Profile: Dana Chase, MD
Education Update: Urogynecology
Donor Spotlight: Nancy Marks Endowed Chair in Women’s Health Research
Alumni Profile: Oliver Dorigo, MD, PhD
New and Noteworthy