Local Obituaries

Pioneer in women’s healthcare, Dr. Harold Schulman dies at 85

Dr. Harold Schulman, a pioneer in treating women’s health.
Dr. Harold Schulman, a pioneer in treating women’s health.

Dr. Harold Schulman, his daughter Sandra Schulman says, “was born to a single, 15-year-old Russian Jewish immigrant in a slum in Newark, New Jersey, and went on to be a pioneering doctor in research on women’s health and an advocate for reproductive rights.”

Schulman, who died at 85 on Sept. 17 at his home in Pleasantville, New York, began that trailblazing work during his residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital when, in 1961, Schulman worked alongside Dr. Georgios Papanikolaou, inventor of the pap smear. The procedure remains a standard practice for cervical screening.

Schulman published a paper on Papanikolaou’s work, was an instructor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Miami at the time, and went on to develop Doppler ultrasound as a way to identify the cancers in women, like uterine and fallopian, that previously were diagnosed too late.

“This has saved thousands of lives,” said Sandra Schulman, a writer based in Miami.

Schulman, who earned his bachelor’s at the University of Florida in 1951 and medical degree at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta in 1955, went on to publish more than 185 scientific papers and three books on women’s health, including “Women’s Secrets, Men’s Muscles, Unveiled: A Gynecologist’s Exploration of Body, Mind, and Spirit” in 2009.

After leaving Jackson in 1961, Schulman became an associate professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and during his 12-year tenure there oversaw the departments of obstetrics and gynecology at four New York City hospitals — Jacobi Medical Center, Lincoln Medical Center, Montefiore Medical Center and Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center.

Schulman, a candidate for Rhodes Scholar, appeared before Congress to testify on Roe vs. Wade.

He was also a lover of theater, opera and the arts, collected Salvador Dali, and spent his last Father’s Day in June with his daughter at Queens Museum in New York where she sat on a panel about the punk rock group the Ramones. They followed a couple months later with a date at the Metropolitan Opera for a performance of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly.”

He loved reading, too. His shelves in his home library swelled with more than 1,000 books. When he died, his daughter said, he was surrounded by his family, dog and copies of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology — “a little light reading.”

Schulman is also survived by his wife Rosemarie, children Stanley Harold Schulman, Gina Marin Schulman Riback and grandson Miles Joseph Riback.

Howard Cohen: 305-376-3619, @HowardCohen