Mary Lake Polan, MD, PhD, MPH

Clinical Professor in Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences

YSM.Templates.Web.Models.ViewModels.Organization.OrganizationSpecificProfile.OrganizationMemberViewModel headshot

Years active at Yale: YSM Class of 1975; 1970-1990

Dr. Polan is being recognized for her talent in combining rigorous scientific research with a humanistic clinical approach in a career that has spanned women's health, clinical medicine, medical education and governmental organizations. Dr. Polan earned a PhD in molecular biophysics and biochemistry in 1970, followed by a medical degree from YSM in 1975, then residency and a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology. In 2001, she earned a master’s of public health degree in the Maternal and Child Health Program at the University of California, Berkeley.

She was at YSM until 1990, with intervals as a visiting professor in Iran in 1978 and China in 1986. In 1990, she moved to Stanford University School of Medicine, where she was chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology and is the Katharine Dexter McCormick and Stanley McCormick Memorial Professor until 2005. 

Dr. Polan has published more than 130 articles, chapters, and books. At Stanford her focus has been on reproductive endocrinology and infertility and on gene expression patterns in uterine fibroids. Recently, she organized a team of surgical volunteers to travel to Eritrea to help repair damage caused by prolonged labor during childbirth. 

The National Institutes of Health appointed Dr. Polan co-chair of the Task Force on Opportunities for Research on Women's Health in 199. From 1995 to 1998, she was a member of the Director's Panel on Clinical Research and was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 1993. Dr. Polan also serves on the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the American Medical Women's Association. She is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.