Daniel R. Mishell, Jr., MD

Daniel R. Mishell, Jr., MD

Daniel R. Mishell, Jr., MD (May 4, 2016)

Daniel R. Mishell Jr., MD, a longtime professor and former chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, died May 4, 2016. He was 84.

Dr. Mishell earned his bachelor and medical degrees from Stanford University, then went on to an internship at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He received his residency training in internal medicine at Bellevue Hospital (Cornell University) and in obstetrics and gynecology at UCLA. He also did a research fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at Uppsala, Sweden. He performed his military service in the U.S. Air Force for two years in the midst of his medical training.

During his time at UCLA, Mishell performed the first immunoassays of human chorionic gonadotrophin in urine and serum, which revolutionized pregnancy testing. He also was the first to describe serum gonadotropin and steroid patterns throughout the menstrual cycle, which allowed women to determine when they were most fertile and most likely to conceive.

A national and international pioneer in the fields of contraception, infertility, and reproductive endocrinology related to menopause, Dr. Mishell was recruited to USC from UCLA in 1969 and went on to serve as chairman from 1978 to 2005. He was appointed the Lyle G. McNeile Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1989. He remained a valued and highly respected member of the department until his retirement on April 4, 2016. Dan was the consummate teacher. He was both feared and revered by the residents. He received the first teaching award given by the residents in 1973. During his career, he trained over 400 residents to provide excellent health, an accomplishment in which he took great pride.

Mishell’s original research resulted in the development of the numerous devices and hormonal treatments used for contraception today, as well as technologies that allowed women who desired pregnancy to more easily conceive. He worked to develop the copper IUD and Norplant, and also conducted the first study of the use of steroid-impregnated vaginal rings for contraception. Other interventions he tested included low-dose birth control pills and injectable and implantable contraceptives.

Mishell was the recipient of numerous prestigious honors. He was named as an honorary member of the Sociedad Mexicana de Nutricion y Endocrinologia, A.C., elected as Fellow ad eundem of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Family Planning. He was elected president of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology from 1986 to 1990, and chairman from 1990 to 1994. He also served as president of the Pacific Coast Fertility Society and the Society for Gynecologic Investigation and served as advisor, board, and council member for numerous national and international committees, task forces, and councils.

Mishell was editor-in-chief of the journal Contraception for more than 40 years, as well as the quarterly Dialogues in Contraception. He was an editor or associate editor of every major journal in the field. He published well over 350 scientific and clinical articles and chapters. He was one of the original four authors of the textbook Comprehensive Gynecology, as well as co-author of a number of gynecologic textbooks and senior editor of Yearbook of Obstetrics and Gynecology for 16 years.

Mishell is survived by his wife, Carol, and his three children, Sandra, Daniel III, and Tanya.

Submitted by Edward J. Quilligan, MD and John O. L. DeLancey, MD

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