Sean Francis, MD, FPMRS
Interim Chairman, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Women's Health
Division Director and Program Director, Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery


Welcome to the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Women's Health

For 185 years, we have provided excellence in patient care, education, and clinical / basic science research. Throughout name changes, we have continued to provide the best care offered for the women of Louisville and surrounding areas. We share a rich history of scientific inquiry and innovation.

In 1833 as the Louisville Medical Institute, advances in obstetrical care centered around the use of anesthesia and the vaginal speculum.

By 1913, the obstetrical training course was a formalized written one that occurred in the third and fourth years of medical school: In the third year, students learned the “anatomical, mechanical, and clinical features of normal labor, and the signs and diagnosis of pregnancy”; two lectures per week employed “lantern slides, charts, maps, and demonstrations on the manikin.” There were weekly quizzes. The sequence of study during the fourth year taught “abnormal conditions occurring during pregnancy, labor, and puerperium; the application of forceps; and performance of obstetrical operations.” Students witnessed surgery at the Louisville Public Hospital and attended hour-long rounds twice daily in the mornings and afternoons. Resident physicians lived in the hospital and attended “Maternity Dispensary” neighborhood clinics.

Until World War I, deliveries occurred at home: Medical students were dispatched with a “house officer” for supervision; only complicated cases came to the hospital, and even then, cesarean sections were avoided if at all possible, with forceps used instead. The cesarean rate was 3%. An active home delivery service was maintained by the department until 1955.

Today, "residents" retain the name, and there remains a remnant structure of the early curriculum, but our department has expanded to include eight divisions and subdivisions - obstetrics and gynecology, maternal fetal medicine, gynecologic oncology, reproductive endocrine and infertility, family planning, female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery, minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, and research. Within these areas, our faculty attendings serve a diverse population presenting with a range of complex problems that we successfully treat, such as pelvic disease, infertility, cancer, and pregnancy complications.

Although the specialty of obstetrics and gynecology and its subspecialties have transitioned throughout the years, our department still follows its original mission and remains committed to providing comprehensive gynecologic and obstetric care, education, and research.

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