Albany Med mourns the loss of beloved physician, colleague and mentor Dr. Martha Lepow
With heartfelt sadness, Albany Medical Center announces the passing of beloved physician, colleague, mentor and friend Dr. Martha Lepow at age 94. Considered the nation’s most senior pediatric infectious disease expert, Dr. Lepow leaves behind a legacy that benefitted millions of children and their parents and educated countless medical students and residents with whom she passionately shared her extensive medical knowledge.
“There are few individuals in the history of Albany Med who have contributed as much to our community – and arguably children worldwide -- as Dr. Marty Lepow,” said Dennis P. McKenna, president and CEO at Albany Med. “From her early medical career working on a cure for polio to her years as a distinguished physician leader spanning four decades, she earned the utmost respect, admiration and appreciation of everyone she touched.”
"During her exemplary medical career, Dr. Lepow distinguished herself as an outstanding clinician and physician leader, a tireless researcher and a trusted mentor to not only the thousands of medical students and residents whose lives she touched, but also her fellow faculty and colleagues," said Vincent P. Verdile, MD, ’84, The Lynne and Mark Groban, MD, ’67, Distinguished Dean of Albany Medical College and senior executive vice president for System Care Delivery.
An advocate in encouraging parents to fully vaccinate their children, Dr. Lepow graduated as one of only six women in the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine’s Class of 1952.
Early in her medical career in the 1950s, she worked under the mentorship of Nobel Prize winner Dr. Frederick Robbins who isolated the polio virus in tissue cultures. She helped Dr. Robbins work on trials of the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines. She also worked on clinical trials for vaccines to treat measles, rubella, meningococcal disease and Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) disease.
Dr. Lepow joined the Albany Medical Center staff in 1978 as head of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and program director of the Clinical Studies Center at the Albany Medical College. She subsequently served as chair of the Department of Pediatrics, director of the Cystic Fibrosis Center and director of the Pediatric Residency Program.
In 1994, Double H Ranch, which provides specialized programs and year-round support for children and their families dealing with life-threatening illnesses, recognized the need for increased medical care. Dr. Lepow was instrumental in Albany Med responding to the call by providing medical volunteers and helped foster this vital relationship over subsequent decades.
After retiring in 2018, she retained her professional alignment with several medical societies, continued her work as a consultant to community medical facilities and direct patient care and taught medical students at the College. During the coronavirus pandemic, she routinely led virtual literature review sessions with students.
Among her list of accolades and awards, she received the 2004 Pillars of the Albany Medical Center Award, the Award for Lifetime Contribution in Infectious Disease Education from the American Association of Pediatrics in 2012, the Best Doctor Award in 2013 and 2014 and was inducted into Marquis Who's Who in 2019. She also contributed to almost 100 articles in peer reviewed medical journals.
In honor of her 80th birthday, then Mayor of Albany Gerald Jennings proclaimed March 28, 2007 as Martha Lepow Day in the City of Albany.