Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.
That ethos, shared by Albert Einstein with members of the Young Israel of Williamsburg synagogue in 1932, has guided Nadine T. Katz, M.D. ’87—professor of obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health at Einstein, medical director of the Einstein campus, and vice president of Montefiore Medical Center—throughout her three decades of service to Einstein. Dr. Katz is the inaugural Irwin R. Merkatz, M.D., Women’s Health Faculty Scholar. “I tried to live up to that standard every day,” said Dr. Katz, who was honored for her excellence as a mentor, educator, and clinician at a May 17 ceremony in the Bronx.
Dr. Katz said she also aims to live up to the high bar set by her mentor, Irwin R. Merkatz, M.D., professor and chair emeritus of obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health and professor emeritus of pediatrics at Einstein, who also attended the event.
During a career that spans more than 50 years, Dr. Merkatz, 89, has become an internationally renowned expert in the research and treatment of high-risk pregnancy. His landmark discovery of the relationship between low levels of maternal serum alpha fetoprotein and the risk of chromosomal abnormalities such as Down’s syndrome have reshaped prenatal care. Dr. Merkatz also helped lead the country’s regionalization of perinatal services, a system that identifies women at highest risk for birth complications and provides specialized care to improve maternal-infant outcomes.
At the time of his retirement in 2015, Dr. Merkatz was the longest-serving and most senior chair within his discipline in the United States. For those who would follow him, he built a department that continues to serve women and families of all socio-demographic backgrounds and does so through an expansive, multidisciplinary care network that stretches from the Bronx to southern Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley. His influence has spread even more widely as countless mentees have assumed leadership positions in prominent universities and health care systems across the nation.
Dr. Merkatz’s legacy at Einstein will endure thanks to the faculty scholar position, which is supported in perpetuity by an endowed fund established in his honor. Since the fund was created, colleagues, friends, family, and others who hold him in high esteem have made numerous contributions—a reflection of the deep impact he’s had on them, the school, and the field itself.
Dr. Merkatz’s biggest contributions, however, may best be reflected by the overwhelming community of loved ones and colleagues who attended the celebration either in person or online.
“I’m thrilled that we are now linked in this very special way forever,” Dr. Katz told her mentor at the event. “You gave me so many lessons about clinical care, leadership, administration, education, research, and, of course, the importance of service.”
Put simply, she added, “You taught me well.”
—Matthew Purcell and Deborah Olsen