Dr. William J. Dignam, 86, a founding member of UCLA's department of obstetrics and gynecology and a former senior associate dean for academic affairs at what is now the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, died Dec. 5 at UCLA Medical Center. The cause of death was not announced.
"Dr. Dignam was an outstanding and gifted teacher and clinician who was a role model to many," said Dr. Gautam Chaudhuri, executive chairman of the obstetrics department.
Born in Manchester, N.H., Dignam graduated from Dartmouth in 1941 and earned his medical degree from Harvard in 1943. After he finished his internship, he was a lieutenant in the Navy Medical Corps and later the Naval Reserve.
He completed a residency program in obstetrics and gynecology and another in endocrinology before becoming an instructor at UC San Francisco. He joined the UCLA faculty in 1953 as an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology. He was named an associate professor in 1959, a full professor in 1966 and an emeritus professor in 1991.
According to UCLA, Dignam once estimated that he was the attending physician at 30,000 births.