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March 4, 1998

Paul Cloeren MacDonald, MD

Author Affiliations

Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1998;279(9):719. doi:10.1001/jama.279.9.719

Paul Cloeren MacDonald, MD, 67, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, died November 25, 1997, of disseminated carcinoma. He held the Cecil H. and Ida Green Distinguished Chair in Reproductive Biology and was director of the Cecil H. and Ida Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences.

Dr MacDonald

Dr MacDonald was born in Oklahoma and his family moved to Texas during his early years. After graduation from Southern Methodist University and Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, he completed his internship in 1956 at Methodist Hospital of Dallas and then served in the US Navy for 2 years. He returned to Dallas for residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at Parkland Memorial Hospital and then studied steroid biochemistry with Dr Seymour Lieberman at Columbia University. After his return to Southwestern Medical School, he rapidly earned a reputation as an astute clinician, a gifted teacher, and a brilliant investigator. He was one of a relatively small group of clinical scientists whose career was spent wedding basic sciences with obstetrics, gynecology, and human reproduction. His earliest scientific discoveries included elucidation of the origin and interconversion of gonadal and adrenal steroid hormones in children, women, and men.

Dr MacDonald served as chairman of obstetrics and gynecology from 1970 to 1977 and developed a close relationship with well-known philanthropists Mr and Mrs Cecil H. Green, cofounders of Texas Instruments. The Greens' interest included improvements in perinatal outcomes, and they endowed the Cecil H. and Ida Green Center for Reproductive Sciences headed by Dr MacDonald as the Green Distinguished Chair in Reproductive Biology. The accomplishments of Dr MacDonald and the team of clinicians and scientists he recruited to the Green Center included biochemical and molecular foundations of the initiation of human parturition; pathophysiology of pregnancy-induced hypertension; physiology and pathophysiology of endometrium; extraglandular estrogen formation in postmenopausal women and its relationship to obesity, age, and endometrial cancer; dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate as the precursor of placental estrogen in human pregnancy; and human fetal lung development and respiratory distress syndrome.

For more than 25 years, Dr MacDonald directed a major training program in reproductive physiology. Many clinician-scientists and postdoctoral fellows who trained with him are, or have served as, division chiefs, departmental chairs, or deans of medical schools. Dr MacDonald received a number of distinguished appointments and awards and served on study sections, peer review committees, and task forces for the National Institutes of Health and the March of Dimes. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 1987 and in 1997 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. One particularly cherished honor was the Paul C. MacDonald Professorship in Obstetrics and Gynecology established by his trainees in conjunction with community obstetrician-gynecologists. A tireless worker, Dr MacDonald always found time to offer help and to stimulate young clinicians and scientists. He demanded perfection of himself as well as those with whom he worked, but always gave full credit to the entire team for their successes. He will be fondly remembered for his provocative insights into human reproduction and for his remarkable humanity.

Dr MacDonald and his wife of 45 years, Sue, have 3 sons and daughters-in-law: Cary and Tami, Rusty and Barbara, and Scott and Becky, and 8 grandchildren, Erik, Cassy, Jason, Erin, Heather, Jenny, Ryan, and Missy.