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$1.75 Million Gift from Dr. Jo Ann Benda and Dr. Charles Platz to Support Department of Pathology

Dr. Jo Ann Benda and Dr. Charles PlatzA pledge in the amount of $1,750,000 has been received from Dr. Jo Ann Benda and Dr. Charles Platz on November 9, 2022. This gift has been designated for the following newly established funds: 

  • $250,000 will establish the Jo Ann Benda Surgical Pathology Excellence Fund for unrestricted support for the department’s three-part mission of education, research and patient care specifically related to obstetric and gynecologic surgical pathology. 
  • $1,500,000 will establish the Jo Ann Benda Surgical Pathology Professorship to support an obstetric and gynecologic surgical pathologist at any rank who excels at anatomic pathologic practice and/or anatomic pathologic research and who coordinates with colleagues in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in patient care.

Drs. Benda and Platz were both faculty members in Iowa’s Department of Pathology and continue to serve as faculty emeriti. Dr. Benda completed her undergraduate education from Iowa State University. She continued her professional training at the University of Iowa obtaining her medical degree followed by a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and then a residency in Anatomic Pathology. Dr. Platz attended the University of Kansas for his undergraduate degree and obtained his medical degree at the University of Chicago.

This generous donation was made to recognize Dr. Benda for her trailblazing career as a woman pathologist and mentor to many residents and fellows. This is the first named professorship in a woman’s name in the department

Dr. Benda and Dr. Platz continually demonstrated dedication to excellence in clinical care. Dr. Benda, a superb general surgical pathologist, is an acknowledged expert in gynecologic pathology. She served as an active member of the Medical School Admission Committee, the Executive Committee and held the position as the Director of the Pathology course. Her experience and training in Obstetrics and Gynecology was used to connect pathology and clinical findings for patient care, reinforcing the message of the importance of clinical findings to the gross and microscopic pathology to the trainees. She showed great patience with all learners, whatever their length of status in training, whether residents or long-term faculty. She was sought out by colleagues as well as former trainees around the country for her expertise in gynecologic pathology.

Dr. Platz was the core of the surgical pathology section. He was the all-around pathologist for every aspect of surgical pathology and the person whose opinion one sought as a trainee or a colleague for tough or unusual cases. He emphasized to the learners the importance of accurate and precise gross and microscopic descriptions for pathology reports, the cornerstone of the pathologist’s communication with the clinician. He sought perfection in every aspect of pathology.

Together, Jo and Charley significantly influenced and contributed to the section of Surgical Pathology prior to their respective retirements, and continue to do so in their roles as emeriti.   Over their careers, they have cared for thousands of patients and have mentored and contributed to the training of numerous residents, fellows, and trainees.   Their dedication to excellence and their contributions to the department’s academic, clinical and research missions have continued to positively impact the practice of pathology today.

Thursday, December 1, 2022