Tribute to Mary G. Hammond, M.D.

Mary G. Hammond, M.D.

June 9 , 2011
by: Roger D. Kempers, M.D.
Orginally published in Fertil Steril 2011;95:2436

Mary G. Hammond, M.D. died in Boston, Massachusetts on March 9, 2011 of a complication following surgery from a rare form of intestinal cancer. She was born in Huntsville, Alabama on June 3, 1943. Her undergraduate degree was earned at the University of Pennsylvania, master’s degree at the University of Washington and medical degree at the University of Florida. Following a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Duke University she completed a Fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She then remained on the faculty there and spent her entire professional career in the area.

At the University of North Carolina she rose through the ranks to Associate Professor and served as Director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Fertility. She was later a Clinical Associate in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Duke University. She practiced with admiration and unswerving loyalty, for her entire career, with her mentor and associate, the distinguished reproductive endocrinologist and surgeon, Luther M. Talbert, M.D. They were both widely respected for their commitment to research, teaching, and patient care, and were paired in a large, successful clinical practice.

Dr. Hammond belonged to over a dozen important professional societies including the American Gynecologic and Obstetrical Society and the Society for Gynecologic Investigation. She also served as an examiner for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) she served on several committees but was particularly active in the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). There she was elected to the Board of Directors in 1986 where she served on the Finance Committee for three years. She was then elected to the Presidential chain and went on in 1996 to become the second woman President of the ASRM. She was a valued member of the editorial boards of Fertility and Sterility and Obstetrics and Gynecology Reports. In addition she was an ad hoc reviewer for five other respected journals.

While at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine she served on a number of important committees and was President of the Association for Professional Women in Medicine. She was active in teaching at both the medical school and postgraduate levels. Her list of invited lectures is impressive and she was a popular faculty member on postgraduate courses. Throughout her career she maintained an active interest in basic and clinical research and authored or coauthored 40 articles published in peer review journals. Additionally, she authored numerous book chapters and coauthored three editions of a valuable textbook on the management of patients with infertility.

Dr. Hammond moved on into retirement from private practice in 2002 with the same enthusiasm that had marked her years of medical practice. In her local community of Ferrington Village, she was active in the homeowners group and did volunteer work in several organizations. She was editor of their newspaper, the medical director for a nonprofit service organization, and active in their women’s group dedicated to philanthropic causes. Perhaps one of her greatest joys was finally having the time with her husband John E. Hammond, Ph.D. to travel extensively. She carefully planned their own itineraries and they spent many happy weeks traveling widely throughout Europe, China, Central America, and the Caribbean. She also enjoyed spending time and visiting tourist destinations in this country with her granddaughter Alexandria.

Dr. Mary Hammond had an unwavering commitment to women’s health and was known and admired for her kindness, gentleness, and humility. She and her husband, only days short of their 40th wedding anniversary, were totally devoted to each other. Both he and their son Stephen were at her bedside at the time of her untimely death. She touched and graced the lives of many. A memorial service was held for her in Ferrington Village, Pittsboro, North Carolina on March 31, 2011. She is mourned and will be deeply missed by all of us who had the privilege of knowing her. 

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