Ipas mourns the loss of Ward Cates, international leader in sexual and reproductive health

Friday, March 25, 2016

Ward Cates

Ipas is saddened by the death of Willard (Ward) Cates, Jr., MD, MPH, an esteemed colleague and pioneer in the field of sexual and reproductive health. Dr. Cates was president emeritus of research and a distinguished scientist at FHI 360, one of the world’s leading international non-governmental organizations.

In 2004, Ipas presented the Pouru Bhiwandiwala Leadership Award to Dr. Cates in recognition of his many “outstanding contributions to promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights and advancing women’s access to high-quality abortion care.”  In the words of Janie Benson, Ipas vice president, research and evaluation: “His research helped establish the safety of abortion procedures in the U.S. and contributed immeasurably to the health and well-being of women around the world.”

Dr. Cates joined FHI 360 (then Family Health International), as a researcher in 1994, designing groundbreaking studies and implementing programs on the prevention of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. He authored more than 450 scientific publications, including many on contraception, sexually transmitted infections, and abortion. Prior to joining FHI, Dr. Cates spent 20 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a number of leadership roles, including chief of the Abortion Surveillance Branch, director of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and director of the Division of Training.

Among many distinctions, Dr. Cates was a skilled epidemiologist, who received his MD and MPH from Yale University and also held an MA in History from Cambridge University. Dr. Cates was honored numerous times for his professional accomplishments, and his leadership was sought after by medical associations and scientific societies across the country. He served on numerous governing boards, including those of the American Public Health Association, the American STD Association, the American College of Preventive Medicine and the Guttmacher Institute.