Leslee Subak appointed new chair of obstetrics and gynecology

Subak, who earned her medical degree at Stanford, is an expert in urogynecology, particularly in researching and treating urinary incontinence in women.

Leslee Subak

Leslee Subak, MD, has been appointed the chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, effective May 1.

Subak will succeed Jonathan Berek, MD, the Laurie Kraus Lacob Professor, who has served as chair of the department since 2005.

Subak earned her medical degree at the Stanford School of Medicine in 1991 and went on to a distinguished career as a scientist, clinician and educator at the University of California-San Francisco, where she’s now a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science, of epidemiology and biostatistics, and of urology. She is an expert in urogynecology and pelvic surgery, and is the principal investigator for federally funded research projects on the epidemiology of urinary incontinence in women, evaluating treatments for urinary incontinence.

“Leslee has made indispensable contributions to the fields of obstetrics and gynecology,” said Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, in a statement announcing the appointment. “Her astute leadership of major clinical and translational research programs has led to fundamental discoveries in many areas of women’s health, and her own scientific investigations have significantly advanced the treatment of women suffering from urinary incontinence.”

I love building and participating in collaborations.

Subak’s research has focused on multidisciplinary approaches to treating incontinence in women, including cooperation between basic and clinical investigators researching the female bladder, pelvic floor and urethra; and among clinicians and experts in epidemiology and biostatistics. She is an expert on the economic impacts of incontinence and has shown that weight loss can be an effective treatment for the condition. Subak is also dedicated to training the next generation of leaders in women’s health, running fellowship and junior faculty K-12 training programs.

“I look forward to helping each member of the department to thrive in her or his unique career path,” she said in an email. “This, in turn, nurtures excellence in all we do. As a team, I am confident that we will advance each of our academic missions, become the preeminent health care provider for women in the greater Bay Area (and beyond), and have fun doing it!”

Subak said she’s excited about returning to Stanford. She met her future wife, Linda McAllister, MD, PhD, when they were medical students at Stanford. And Subak said they and their three teenagers are “huge” fans of Stanford women’s soccer and basketball.

“I am looking forward to being back at a university with the wealth of undergraduate and graduate programs and broad opportunities to teach and collaborate,” she said. “Stanford’s culture of collaboration — starting with Dean Minor and hospital leadership and extending to the department chairs, faculty and staff — is phenomenal and a perfect fit for my approach and philosophy. I love building and participating in collaborations — across departments, schools and continents and across clinical, training and research missions. Helping to continue and advance the shared vision of the outstanding Stanford Obstetrics and Gynecology Department will be an honor.”

The search committee for the chair position was led by Ron Pearl, MD, professor and chair of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine; and Maria Grazia Roncarolo, MD, professor of pediatrics and of medicine.

Minor offered special thanks to Berek, the outgoing chair. “During his tenure, the department witnessed tremendous achievements, including the creation and expansion of our Women’s Cancer Center, growth of our various women’s health and wellness programs and recruitment of top faculty.”

Subak concurred: “I am so fortunate to take the helm from Dr. Jonathan Berek, an innovative, compassionate and steady steward. I will work tirelessly to fill his large shoes and continue the trajectory of growth and excellence.”

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