Our History

A Brief History of the Department of OB/GYNat USF Morsani

In 1970 the USF Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology was formed and was one of the first clinical departments in the new University of South Florida College of Medicine. The first chairman was Dr. James M. Ingram who was also one of the earliest clinical appointees to the USF medical school faculty. Dr. Ingram was instrumental in the evolution of our medical school; as president of the Hillsborough County Medical Association, he served as a bridge between the medical school and the greater Tampa Bay community during the time of its formation. Dr. Ingram led one of Tampa's most prominent private practices in obstetrics and gynecology for twenty years before becoming the first chairman of the OB-Gyn department. He enlisted the help of many OB-Gyn practitioners in the community in the early running of the department and established entire new divisions in the major subspecialty areas of obstetrics and gynecology, which were still evolving at this time. Dr. Ingram was intimately involved locally, statewide and nationally in medical politics of his day. He was highly regarded in the Tampa community both as a clinician and as a leader. Throughout the seventeen years of his tenure he provided mature judgment and lent stability to the fledgling department in its formative years and early growth.

During the time that Dr. Ingram was evolving the department of OB/GYN here in Tampa, Dr. William N. Spellacy served as chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville. Dr. Spellacy earned a reputation as an outstanding researcher and teacher earlier in his career on the faculty of the University of Miami Medical School before becoming professor and chairman in Gainesville. Dr. Ingram and Dr. Spellacy knew each other well and collaborated on many occasions regarding issues in academic medicine at the time. Dr. Spellacy left the University of Florida to become chairman of OB-Gyn at the University of Illinois in Chicago where he also performed in an exemplarily manner. But he had sufficient "sand in his shoes" from his time in Gainesville that he found it appealing to return to Florida as the second chairman of OB-Gyn at USF when Dr. Ingram retired in 1977.

Having had the experience of being on three medical school faculties and chairing two prior departments, Dr. Spellacy brought a great deal of experience, breadth and depth of knowledge to the position of chair here in Tampa. Dr. Spellacy was chosen as the second chairman after an in-depth search, and when he came to town he hit the ground running. Because of his prior relationships in Florida, he was familiar with circumstances here and set about putting into place new ideas that he thought would make the department grow and flourish. He brought all of the OB/GYN clinical faculty together under one roof in the Harborside Tower next to Tampa General, increased and improved the research facilities to which the department had access, and broadened the department's involvement in reaching the medically underserved in Tampa by securing the funding for and overseeing the opening the TGH Genesis Clinic, which also increased the resident's exposure and training in clinical medicine. He increased the number of faculty within the traditional subspecialties of reproductive endocrinology and infertility, gynecologic oncology, and maternal fetal medicine. He also formed the division of general obstetrics and gynecology.

Dr. Spellacy is nationally known as an educator, researcher, and academician and has been afforded many of the important honors, including being elected to the Institute of Medicine. He remained as chairman until stepping down in 2002 at which time he continued within the department with full-time clinical and teaching responsibilities as professor and director of the residency program thus providing valuable guidance and the benefit of his experience to those who followed him.

In 2010, the 40th anniversary of the founding of the department, it was recognized by some current faculty and former residents that no alumni group that served the purposes of supporting the department in the future and serving as a connection to its past existed. Thus was born the Ingram-Spellacy Society named after the first two departmental chairmen who nurtured and guided it through 32 of the first 40 years of its existence.