Dr. John J. Mikuta, former chief of the division of gynecologic oncology and Franklin Payne Professor Emeritus of Gynecologic Oncology at the Perelman School of Medicine, passed away January 25, 2013, at age 88.
Dr. Mikuta spent his entire career at Penn. After earning both his BA and MD from the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Mikuta interned at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) from 1948 to 1949 and was a resident in obstetrics and gynecology there from 1951 to 1954. Between his internship and residency, he served in the US Army at Osaka General Hospital and as assistant chief of the medical service at Camp Breckenridge Army Hospital.
Dr. Mikuta served as chairman of Penn's division of gynecologic oncology for 30 years, stepping down in 1993, but continued to see patients for another ten years. He was appointed assistant professor in 1962 and was promoted to full professor in 1972. In addition to his faculty appointments at HUP, Dr. Mikuta held administrative positions at Philadelphia General Hospital (1951 to 1970) and Pennsylvania Hospital (honorary staff since 1975).
"He was so personally influential that he inspired a lot of people who wanted to do what he did," said Dr. Stephen Rubin, who succeeded him as division chief. "He was a consummate physician and surgeon. He emphasized the importance of treating the whole patient and not just her disease."
Considered one of the founding fathers of the specialties of gynecologic oncology, he was among the co-founders of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists in 1969, and he served as its president in 1973. Dr. Mikuta was a member of many national professional and scientific societies, including the American Association for Advancement of Science, the American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society and the American Cancer Society, just to name a few. Former oncology fellows honored him with a Festschrift in 1990 and by establishing the honorary John J. Mikuta Society in 1984.
In recognition of his many contributions to the alumni community and his remarkable commitment to Penn Medicine, Dr. Mikuta received the inaugural Penn Medicine Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
Additionally, he was recognized by the department of obstetrics and gynecology through the creation of the John J. Mikuta, MD, Award for Professionalism in Women's Health. He was a faithful supporter of medical education at Penn through the John J. Mikuta, MD, Endowed Scholarship, which he established.
Dr. Mikuta is survived by his wife, Margaret; daughter, Ann M. Murray; sons, Mark and Paul; a brother, Daniel; nine grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
Memorial contributions can be made to the John J. and Margaret Mikuta
Scholarship Fund, c/o Penn Medicine, 3535 Market St., Suite 750, Philadelphia,