The Investiture of Melissa Simon, MD, MPH, as the Gardner Professor

Northwestern Medicine
News January 09, 2015
From left to right: Drs. Bulun, Simon, Lockwood, and Eric G. Neilson, MD, vice president for medical affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean of the Feinberg School

On December 17, Melissa Andrea Simon, MD, MPH, was formally invested as the George H. Gardner, MD, Professor of Clinical Gynecology. Dr. Simon has been a member of the faculty at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine faculty since 2006. In addition to her endowed academic position, she is an associate professor in the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Preventive Medicine, and Medical Social Sciences, as well as the vice chair of clinical research in obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Simon also is co-program leader for cancer control and survivorship at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

“Since I met her in 2006, Melissa has blossomed quickly, becoming a superstar in a very short period of time,” said Serdar E. Bulun, MD, the John J. Sciarra, MD, PhD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The Gardner Professorship

George H. Gardner, MD, for whom Dr. Simon’s prestigious position is named, left an indelible impact at Northwestern. After receiving his medical school and residency training at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Hospital, Dr. Gardner joined the medical school faculty in 1926. He was named professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1945, a role he served until 1965 when we was named professor emeritus.

Dr. Gardner was widely recognized for training and mentoring numerous residents and fellows who went on to careers in academic medicine and private practice. In 1963, he was named president of the American Gynecological Society, the discipline’s most prestigious society.

A Clear and Passionate VisionDr. Simon’s clinical, research, teaching, and advocacy/policy work centers on medically underserved and minority women across the lifespan. She is a nationally recognized expert in community-engaged research, minority health, health disparities, family violence, and patient navigation. The majority of her research portfolio focuses on leveraging a community-engaged approach. Specifically, she conducts community-based participatory research in partnership with minority communities across the Chicagoland area.

“Melissa exudes positive energy and passion alongside her great intelligence and creativity. She has marshaled her gifts to serve others—she has a clear vision to help all women,” said Charles J. Lockwood, MD, MHCM, senior vice president of University of South Florida Health, dean of the Morsani College of Medicine, and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of South Florida, who served as Dr. Simon’s extoller.

“She possesses a profound social consciousness. She bridges academia and the community in a way that no one else has,” Dr. Lockwood continued.

After receiving her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Chicago and her master’s degree in public health and epidemiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Dr. Simon attended medical school at Rush University, where she graduated with Alpha Omega Alpha honors. She completed her obstetrics and gynecology residency at Yale University School of Medicine, including a year as an administrative chief resident, followed by a fellowship in family planning and reproductive health at Feinberg. She also completed a mini-fellowship in geriatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“I am a product of a huge village,” said Dr. Simon. "It took a lot of people to get me here today. The most important ingredient of my success has been the supporters around me.”

Dr. Lockwood closed his own remarks, “I am in no way surprised by Melissa’s meteoric rise and her myriad accomplishments in this field. She will have no problem filling the obligations of this professorship.”