Remembering Dr. Martin L. Stone
1920 - 2012
As we look forward to all that 2013 will bring, it is important to look back for a moment and remember Dr. Martin L. Stone, who passed away in November.
District II members are fortunate that Dr. Stone chose to spend his entire career in New York. We benefited from his insight, leadership and influence throughout his accomplished career and his life.
Following the completion of his residency, Dr. Stone accepted a full-time faculty position at New York Medical College’s Flower and Fifth Avenue Hospitals in Manhattan and quickly became the youngest Chair of the Department in the country. As Dr. Stone himself said, he always loved a challenge. He rose to meet this challenge by building a department full of talented physicians, researchers and fellows, many of whom became leaders in their own right, advancing our knowledge, and mentoring younger generations.
Following his resounding success in New York, Dr. Stone accepted another challenge – build the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at a brand new medical school at Stony Brook University. He identified rising young stars, selected them as leaders of his divisions, and with his support and mentorship, created, once again, a highly successful department. There he continued to inspire medical students to choose the specialty for their career, residents to participate in exciting research projects, his faculty in becoming national leaders, and his colleagues to emulate him.
Although all of these accomplishments would have been enough to celebrate, Dr. Stone contributed to growth and development in other areas of our field. Perhaps the most significant contribution was that he and others recognized the need for obstetrics and gynecology to be organized. He became one of the Founding Fellows of ACOG in 1952, and helped promote the organization and its goals throughout his career. He became its President, beginning his office at the annual meeting in 1978 in New York City. His insightful address focused on the fact that we were at a critical point in medicine with a future likely to hold a lot more regulatory control – he suggested we needed to play a leading role in this transition.
Dr. Stone did not focus only on national ACOG. He always had been a stalwart supporter of the District, encouraging his faculty, residents and students to attend the annual meetings, contribute scientific research, and promoting members of the District to national committees, and actively mentoring those he identified as capable of rising to challenges. With focus on the future, Dr. Stone and his gracious and talented wife, Nancy, established the “Junior Fellow Research Day Contest” with an annual prize for the winner. His many contributions to the District and its growth were recognized in 2006 by the “Lifetime Achievement Award”. The District also established the first named lecture at the Annual District Meeting in his honor, made possible by fundraising efforts of those who benefitted from his mentorship.
Dr. Stone’s persona was larger than life. An innovator, steadfast mentor and a strong and capable leader, he was able to cast a discerning eye on the future. Throughout his career, he was always either the initiator of innovation, or an early supporter, possessing the enviable ability to discern the winners in people, ideas and actions. His contribution to women’s health through research, clinical care, and leadership was truly remarkable. Words seem inadequate to summarize such a productive and full life. Dr. Stone believed in simplicity. So, thank you, Dr. Stone, for being truly larger than life.