History of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

The opening of Coleman Hospital

On October 20, 1927, Coleman Hospital officially opened. It was the only hospital in Indiana designed and restricted to female patients. Now Coleman Hall on the IU Indianapolis campus, a bronze tablet reminds those who pass through the building, “This hospital was given by Mr. and Mrs. William H. Coleman in living memory of their daughter, Suemma Vajen Coleman Atkins, AD, 1927.” Suemma Coleman Atkins died on April 16, 1924, of chronic renal disease, which was a complication of her only pregnancy. Mr. and Mrs. Coleman retained an active interest in the hospital until their deaths in 1946 and 1947, respectively. Mr. Coleman, who became ill late in his life, was the only male patient ever to be admitted to the hospital.

Historic black and white photo of Coleman Hospital

The first Chairs

During Coleman Hospital's lifetime, it had an outstanding record for service, teaching and research. Immediately after its opening, the hospital was used to its fullest extent. It was often necessary to place beds in the corridors to handle the number of patients. Because of the quality of its physicians, it quickly became a state referral center for difficult and complicated obstetrical problems. Well over 65,000 babies were delivered during the lifetime of Coleman Hospital. During those years, every Indiana University School of Medicine OB-GYN student learned to do their first normal deliveries there.

In the early years, the gynecology and obstetrics divisions were separate entities: 

Chair of Gynecology

Chair of Obstetrics

Orange G. Pfaff, 1927
A. M. Mendenhall, 1927-34
Frank Walker, 1926-36 Frank Beckman, 1935-46
Carl Habich, 1937, 1946

Combining departments for greater success

In 1942, the one-year residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Indiana University Medical Center was extended to three years. In 1946, a combined Obstetrical and Gynecological Department was established. Carl Huber, MD, became the first professor and chair in 1948. Between 1946 and 1950, Huber developed an informal relationship between the OB-GYN residency program at IU Medical Center and the Marion County General Hospital (later renamed Wishard Memorial Hospital and now known as Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital). In 1950, the residency programs were combined. 

In 1967, Huber was named Indiana University’s first Coleman Professor and endowed-named chair in IU School of Medicine. In 1970, the department moved from Coleman Hospital to the newly opened University Hospital. Because knowledge in the medical field was constantly increasing, it became apparent that an additional year of residency experience and learning would benefit future OB-GYN physicians. Therefore, in June 1974, the OB-GYN residency program became a four-year curriculum.

1996 to present day

In 1996, the IU program consolidated with the Methodist training program under the Indiana University School of Medicine title. In 1996, an endowed professorship in the memory of Clarence Ehrlich, MD, was established. Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital, Riley Hospital for Children and IU Health University Hospital formally consolidated on January 1, 1997, under the name IU Health Partners. From new faculty and divisions to exceptional fellowships and research, the department has grown tremendously in the last 10 years. 

Coleman Professor and Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Clarence E. Ehrlich Professor and Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Carl P. Huber, MD, 1948–1969 Frederick B. Stehman, MD, 1994–2008

Charles A. Hunter, MD, 1969–1981

Lee Learman, MD, 2008–2015
Clarence E. Ehrlich, MD, 1981–1992
Jeffrey Rothenberg, MD, 2015–2016 (Interim)
  Jeffrey F. Peipert, MD, 2016–2024
  Lisa Landrum, MD, PhD, 2024–Present (Interim)