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Paul received his BA degree magna cum laude from Carroll College, Helena, Montana in 1957, and his MD degree magna cum laude from Loyala University, Chicago, Illinois in 1962. After 2 years of duty as a medical officer in the United States Navy, he completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the Little Company of Mary Hospital in Chicago in 1968. He then decided to pursue a career in gynecologic oncology, 3 years before subspecialization was officially approved by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He completed fellowship training at the MD Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute in Houston, Texas in 1970.
After a brief stint at the University of Indiana, Paul moved to the University of Southern California (USC) in 1972, where he joined Phil DiSaia and Duane Townsend to start their gynecologic oncology program. He became the inaugural Director of the Gynecologic Oncology Program at the Los Angeles County–USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center when that Center was founded in 1983, and subsequently, became the Charles and Helen Ann Langmade Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the USC Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles, California. He retired in 2013 after 41 years’ service to the university and to the lower socioeconomic women of central Los Angeles.
During his academic career, Paul trained many US and international fellows, particularly those from Canada. His calm demeanor under pressure, his surgical skills, and his vast knowledge and understanding of the literature endeared him to all of his trainees. He was a major contributor to the literature, and the author of two major textbooks. Morrow’s Gynecologic Cancer Surgery was compulsory reading for all aspiring gynecologic cancer surgeons. He was undoubtedly one of the most influential gynecological oncologists of his era.
Paul was the first US gynecologic oncologist to take a more international perspective regarding the interchange of knowledge between like-minded practitioners around the world. In the 1970s, US practitioners tended to be rather parochial, because the United States was significantly ahead of the rest of the world in radical surgery for gynecological cancers. In 1981, he organized the first International Congress of Gynecological Oncology in Dublin. Two years later, he organized the second International Congress in Edinburgh, and in 1985, he organized a third International Congress in London. He was keen to see for himself what was happening in other parts of the world, so that he could bring the best approaches back to his patients. These international congresses proved to be forerunners for a new International Gynecologic Cancer Society.
Paul was a humble man of small stature, but an intellectual giant in the field. He was quiet and unassuming but was always surrounded by many registrants during coffee breaks at scientific meetings, keen to hear his thoughts on the latest literature, or to seek his advice on the management of a particular patient. He had a dry sense of humor and it was always a pleasure to be in his company. He was devoted to his family and to his Catholic faith, and will be sorely missed. His legacy will continue through his writings, and through the fellows that he trained, many of whom have gone on to become international leaders in their own right.
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Competing interests None declared.
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