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In Memoriam: SGO Past President Leo Lagasse, MD

Aug 15, 2022

The Society of Gynecologic Oncology regrets to announce the passing of SGO Past President Leo Lagasse, MD, who died Tuesday, Aug. 2 at the age of 91.

Dr. Lagasse served as SGO President from 1980-1981 and continued to serve the subspecialty in a variety of volunteer roles. In 2013, he was honored as the recipient of the SGO Humanitarianism and Volunteerism Award.

Dr. Lagasse was a trailblazer in the treatment of and research in women’s cancers, with specific interests in uterine preservation and proactive management for recurrent ovarian cancer.

Following his US Air Force service between 1952-1954, he was trained in medicine at the University of Virginia and completed his internship and residency at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in gynecologic oncology.

Dr. Lagasse served as professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and as academic researcher at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The LDL Society, founded by his fellows, continues to honor his excellence and ethics in medicine.

Dr. Lagasse and his wife, Ann, also founded Medicine for Humanity, a medical care and teaching organization committed to the health interests of mothers in underserved populations around the world.

His legacy will continue to be felt for decades to come in the lives of those he educated and mentored and in the field of gynecologic oncology at large.


Comments from Beth Karlan, MD

“Leo was my mentor and friend for over three decades. While his passing was not unexpected, I’ve been reflecting on his legacy and his impact on gynecologic oncology. Leo was a farsighted leader, a master surgeon, a compassionate clinician, and an inspiring teacher. Those who had the privilege to work with him wanted to emulate him. He never settled for the standards of today and always pushed us to do better.

We all have favorite anecdotes from our time spent with Dr. Lagasse and acknowledge that he shaped our own careers. Professionally, he was happiest when he was in the operating room and in service of others. He founded Medicine for Humanity after many missions around the world caring for underserved women with gynecologic cancers. Leo made this a better, kinder world and his influence on gynecologic cancer care will live on through his diaspora of trainees.”


Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Aug. 20 at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Oceanside, CA. A reception will follow at Ocean Hills Country Club. Donations may be made in his memory to