Frank C. Greiss Jr., MD

Frank C. Greiss Jr., MD

Frank C. Greiss Jr., MD (August 3, 2015)

Frank C. Greiss, Jr., MD, the former chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Wake Forest School of Medicine, has passed away at his home in Mooresville, NC after a period of ill health. With the exception of his service in the United States Navy, Frank spent his entire professional career at the medical school. He came to the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology as a resident in 1953 and joined the faculty in 1960. In 1972 he was appointed chair of the department and served in that role until his retirement in 1989. His accomplishments during his time on the faculty were remarkable. He was one of the very few chairs of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the country who served as the principal investigator of an NIH grant for over twenty years. His research included many seminal discoveries 68 on the control of uterine blood flow in an animal model (sheep) that have stood the test of time. He was the first to document the changes in uterine blood flow that occur in the periconception period and to establish the importance of estrogen as a mediator of uterine vasodilation at the time of conception and later during pregnancy. His work also showed for the first time that the uterine vascular bed in late pregnancy was fully dilated and responded passively to changes in blood pressure. What made Frank’s work particularly unique was his use of cutting edge technology at the time that was developed at the medical school (the electromagnetic flow meter) to repeatedly measure volume flow to the uterus in the same animals throughout pregnancy in the absence of stress or anesthesia. This work formed the basis of our understanding of the uterine circulation. He was a skilled clinician and many of his research findings, contained in over 80 publications, were translated to direct effects in clinical obstetrics. This was long before the term translational research became popular.

He was also an excellent administrator. He grew a small department into one that had all the subspecialties of Obstetrics and Gynecology fully represented and attained national prominence. Over three decades ago he established one of the first Maternal Fetal Medicine fellowship programs in the United States at the medical school and this program is still training specialists in high risk obstetrics. He was instrumental in developing the consolidated Obstetrical Service at Forsyth Hospital which has served for decades as a model for the efficient delivery of high-quality care for pregnant women throughout the piedmont triad and adjacent regions. Frank served as a superb mentor for many residents, junior, and senior faculty. His personality 69 fostered an impressive sense of camaraderie within his department and his loyalty to the medical school was obvious to all who knew him. He received many awards during his career including the American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Foundation Prize and the distinguished-service award from the NC Obstetrical and Gynecological Society. His research, mentoring and administrative skills all contributed to the prominent role he had in improving health care for women in North Carolina and the nation. He was truly one of the people who helped put the medical school on the national map in terms of research and clinical training. He will be missed by all who knew and worked with him.

– Submitted by James Rose, PhD

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