Friday, March 4, 2011

In Memoriam: Masha Etkin, MD, PhD


MASHA ETKIN, MD, PHD, a physician for the MGH Vincent Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology for 25 years, died Feb. 13. Just four days before her death, on Feb. 9, she had celebrated her 70th birthday.

“Dr. Etkin was an outstanding physician who treated her patients with dignity and compassion,” says Isaac Schiff, MD, chief of the MGH Vincent Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology. “Her patients loved her and always spoke of the concern she had for them. She was adored and respected by her faculty colleagues, and our residents and students looked forward to learning from her. We will miss her so much.”

Etkin was born in New York, NY. She earned an undergraduate degree in Biology from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, in 1963, as well as a master’s degree and doctorate in Biology from Yale University in 1968. She then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine from 1969 to 1970.

While she originally was interested in a research career, her daughter, Ilana Greenstein, says Etkin decided her true calling was to become a physician and work with patients. So, at the age of 34, she enrolled in medical school at George Washington University. After two years she transferred to the Boston University School of Medicine, where she graduated with a medical degree in 1978.

Following medical school, Etkin completed an internship at Deaconess-Waltham Hospital and a residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. In 1984, she joined the faculty of what was then the Vincent Gynecology Service, where she became an important member of the newly formed Gynecology Associates located in the Wang Ambulatory Care Center. While she worked primarily on the main campus, for many years, Etkin also cared for patients at the MGH Chelsea HealthCare Center. In addition, she provided consultative gynecological services at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

“She truly loved being a doctor and she loved Mass General,” says Greenstein. “She cherished her interactions with patients, and I think they knew and appreciated that.”

Etkin is survived by her daughter, two grandchildren and two sisters.

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