Martha Lepow, M.D.
Martha Lepow, M.D., was a founding faculty member at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, along with her late husband, Irwin H. Lepow, M.D., Ph.D., who was the first head of Pathology at the school. She taught at UConn from 1967 to 1978 and started the UConn Health’s Department of Pediatrics. Today Dr. Lepow is section head of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Albany Medical Center and professor in its Department of Pediatrics. A pioneer in children’s health care, she is nationally recognized as one of the leading infectious disease specialists in the country. During her 30-plus years at Albany Medical Center, she has served as director of the Clinical Studies Center, the Pediatric Residency Program and the Cystic Fibrosis Center. She was the chair of the Department of Pediatrics for three years in the 1990s and is currently the medical director of one of 10 New York State Centers of Excellence in Pediatric and Adolescent HIV Care.
A 1948 graduate of Oberlin College, Dr. Lepow received her medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 1952, where she was one of six women in a class of 84. She was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. She served her internship in pediatrics at Babies and Children’s Hospital of University Hospitals of Cleveland and completed her residency and fellowship in infectious diseases at MetroHealth Medical Center (formerly City Hospital of Cleveland). During her fellowship, she worked under Dr. Frederick Robbins, who shared the Nobel Prize in physiology in 1954 for isolating the polio virus in tissue culture, and she assisted him in trials of the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines. Following her fellowship, Dr. Lepow served on the pediatrics faculty at Case Western Reserve and as an infectious disease specialist at City Hospital of Cleveland before coming to UConn.
During her 11 years at UConn, she conducted a number of studies of childhood lead poisoning with medical students, culminating in testifying before a congressional committee for the Clean Air Act. She and Ron Gold, M.D., also an early faculty member, worked with Irving Goldschneider, M.D., an early faculty member in the Department of Pathology, on implementing trials of meningococcal vaccine in infants and children.
Dr. Lepow served as a member of the National Institute of Health Task Force on Immunization Practices. She was an assistant editor of the Red Book, a publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Infectious Diseases. The Red Book is devoted to vaccines and common infectious processes in children. It is widely used by practitioners who care for children and is revised every three years.
Dr. Lepow has served with numerous organizations and committees, including the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering; the Whitney M. Young Jr. Health Services, Albany; and the Professional Advisory Committee at the Center for the Disabled, Albany. In 2007, Albany Mayor Gerald Jennings declared March 28 “Martha Lepow Day” to honor her contributions to children’s medicine and the positive effect she has had on countless lives. She recently received an Honorary Doctor of Sciences degree from Oberlin College for her contributions to child health and an award from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Infectious Diseases for Lifetime Contribution to Infectious Diseases Education.
Dr. Lepow is often contacted by the media for her expertise, and she has authored or contributed to numerous medical publications.