L. Lewis Wall, MD, DPhil, MBioeth
L. Lewis Wall, MD, DPhil, MBioeth, professor of obstetrics and gynecology, is being honored for his work as a tireless advocate for African women with vesico-vaginal fistulas, a devastating childbirth injury caused by obstructed labor in parts of the world where cesarean section is not available.
In many poor countries labor may last for days without relief, in the process destroying the tissues that separate the bladder from the vagina. Women who suffer this injury become totally incontinent and end up as outcasts. Estimates suggest that nearly 4 million African women currently have a vesico-vaginal fistula.
In 1995, Wall founded the Worldwide Fistula Fund, a charity that provides clinical care for fistula patients and supports public advocacy, surgical training and medical research on the fistula problem. Wall has traveled extensively to perform fistula surgery, give lectures, conduct research, organize international meetings and advocate on behalf of these women. He has raised more than $1 million to construct a fistula hospital in Danja, Niger, which is scheduled for completion in 2011.
Wall was a Rhodes scholar and a Fulbright-Hays fellow. He was voted Teacher of the Year in 2004 by the obstetrics and gynocology residents at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and was named “Continence Care Champion” by the National Association for Continence in 2005. He teaches medical anthropology at Washington University and is also a medical ethicist.
Wall holds a medical degree from the University of Kansas, a doctoral degree in social anthropology from Oxford University, and a master’s degree in bioethics from Monash University in Australia. He completed his residency at Duke University Medical Center and was a urogynecology fellow at St. George’s Hospital Medical School, University of London.