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Obituary: Mohamed Yusoff Dawood

M.B., Ch.B., M.D., M.MED. FRCOG, FACS, FACOG
1943–2008

Dr. Mohamed Yusoff Dawood was born on September 13, 1943, in Singapore. One of six children, he was the third child of Sheikh Dawood bin Ebrahmshah and Fatimah binte Mohammed Hussain. As a student at the Telok Karau Primary School and the Raffles Institution, Dr. Dawood received numerous scholarships. In 1963, Dr. Dawood was awarded the Singapore Government Open Scholarship in Medicine to attend the University of Sheffield, England. At Sheffield, Dr. Dawood won several awards including the Holroyd Prize in Anesthesiology and the Sigmund Schutz Prize in Obstetrics and Gynecology. He graduated in 1968 with an M.B.Ch.B, with distinction in Obstetrics and Gynecology, and subsequently received his M.D. from the same university. Following graduation, Dr. Dawood returned to Singapore where he completed his Master of Medicine in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Singapore and received the Fourth Asian Congress Gold Medal for the top performance on the M.Med Examination in Obstetrics and Gynecology. In 1973, Dr. Dawood also received the Regional Council Gold Medal from the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynecology for the top performance on the M.R.C.O.G examination and was awarded the Gold Medal for Outstanding Young Singaporean by the Singapore Jaycees. In 1974, Dr. Dawood left Singapore for the University of Melbourne. Soon after, he moved to the United States where he completed a year as Chief Resident in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center and subsequently joined the faculty at Cornell University Medical College as an Associate Professor.

While working at Cornell, Dr. Dawood met and married his colleague and friend, Dr. Firyal Sultana Khan. Soon after their marriage, the couple moved to the University of Illinois College Of Medicine in Chicago where Dr. Dawood was Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology. In 1990, Dr. Dawood moved to Houston, Texas, where he assumed the position of Berel Held Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology at the University of Texas Medical School. In 2001, Dr. Dawood was appointed Professor and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2004, Dr. Dawood moved to West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown, West Virginia, to assume the position of Professor and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Most recently, in 2007, Dr. Dawood and his family moved to Springfield, Massachusetts where Dr. Dawood was the Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baystate Medical Center, a teaching affiliate of Tufts University School of Medicine.

Dr. Dawood was a leading expert in infertility and in vitro fertilization and helped many couples to conceive children. During his forty year career in medicine, Dr. Dawood authored or coauthored over 300 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and books in addition to serving as reviewer or editorial board member for many peer reviewed journals in obstetrics and gynecology. In the early 1970s, Dr. Dawood was instrumental in developing the radioimmunoassay of Oxytocin, which he used for numerous studies on the role of Oxytocin in human labor. Dr. Dawood is also known for his studies on trophoblastic disease, infertility, dysmenorrhea, menopause, the biology of endometriosis, and the regulation of the corpus luteum. In addition to his work as a scientist, Dr. Dawood cherished his role as a teacher and mentored many medical students, residents, and fellows during his career.

Dr. Dawood is remembered by his colleagues for his passion for medicine and surgery, his intelligence, and his enduring sense of humor. His laughter was always loud, and his smile always brightened afternoon meetings. Dr. Dawood's dedication to medicine was surpassed only by his devotion to fatherhood. Dr. Dawood could often be heard describing his children's activities and always found time amidst a busy career life to attend his children's school plays, sporting events, and parents' days, and even to wear a cowboy hat to one of his children's “Go Texan Day” celebrations. At home, Dr. Dawood spent his free time gardening and many weekend afternoons amidst his vegetable plots in his yard. Immensely hard-working, principled, honest, driven, and guided by a deep faith in God, Dr. Dawood will be remembered as one of those rare individuals with unceasing energy in all aspects of life.

Dr. Dawood is survived by his wife of 30 years, Dr. Firyal S Khan and his children, Fatimah, Fauzia, Firdaus, and Hassan. Fatimah, his eldest child, is a pediatrician and is currently pursuing a research fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, after having graduated from Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Fauzia graduated from New York University in 2007 with a degree in Political Science and Middle East Studies. She will enter law school at Yale University in 2009. She currently resides in Cairo, Egypt, where she works for the United Nations Development Program. Dr. Dawood's youngest children, Firdaus and Hassan, are twins and are currently finishing their third year of university at Barnard College in New York City and College of William & Mary in Virginia, respectively.