In January 1968, Hervy E. Averette, MD, and John J. Mikuta, MD, identified a need for the creation of a medical society focused solely on gynecologic oncology. The proposed purpose of the new organization was to “stimulate interest in gynecologic cancer and to promote the training and education of individuals in this area of interest.” The working title for the proposed organization was the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists.
Read a personal reflection on Dr. Averette and Dr. Mikuta and the beginnings of the SGO from former SGO President Richard C. Boronow, MD.
The Founding of SGO
In May 1968, Drs. Averette and Mikuta gathered other likeminded fellows of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to discuss the potential for this new organization. Those in attendance agreed to form a society consisting of obstetrician-gynecologists whose major interest was gynecologic cancer. In January 1969, interested parties were gathered to formalize the creation of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO). Chairman George C. Lewis, Jr., MD, began the session with a challenge to the group:
“If we are to seriously pursue the creation of a new society, we must consider its aims, for it is these aims that will be our reason for existence. The objectives should be to identify those principles, knowledges and skills related to gynecologic malignancy, to guide the development of a subspecialty devoted to this field of interest, to promote the training and certification of specialists in gynecologic malignancy, and to promote research, education and practice of this subspecialty.”
In January 1970, the first Annual Meeting of the SGO was convened. Shortly thereafter, the organization was incorporated in the State of Florida. Also that year, the American Board of Obstetricians and Gynecologists appointed several ad hoc committees to consider an advanced subspecialty certification. The Gynecologic Oncology Committee included five SGO members, including John L. Lewis, Jr., MD, as chairman. In 1972, the subspecialties in Obstetrics and Gynecology were formally approved by the American Board of Medical Specialists. The first written and oral examinations for a certification for Special Competence in Gynecologic Oncology were given in 1974.
SGO changed its name to the Society of Gynecologic Oncology in May 2011, recognizing SGO’s expanded membership, which now includes representatives from the entire cancer care team, including medical and radiation oncologists, pathologists, researchers, gynecologic oncology nurses and physician assistants, palliative care specialists, and social workers.
SGO in April 2012 restructured itself as a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit entity and created a 501(c)(3) entity called the Foundation for Gynecologic Oncology. The Foundation became responsible for education, research, development and fundraising to complete the missions of both groups. As the new 501(c)(6), SGO assumed responsibility for clinical practice, government relations, coding and membership activities.
In January 2016, when the Society of Gynecologic Oncology’s Foundation for Gynecology Oncology and the Foundation for Women’s Cancer (FWC) become one foundation within the SGO. The merged foundation retained the Foundation for Women’s Cancer name, capitalizing on its strong brand recognition in our advocacy and research community.
The new foundation will continue to promote and encourage research in gynecologic oncology and will have the opportunity to significantly expand its investigational footprint. It will maintain core programs such as the Race to End Women’s Cancer and build upon the success of the existing Survivor Courses.
The founding members of SGO represent the pillars of gynecologic oncology.
SGO has been led by these distinguished past presidents.