On Thursday, June 15, the public square at the intersection of Harrison Avenue and Worcester Square was dedicated to Kenneth Edelin, MD, former BUSM associate dean for Minority Affairs (now Diversity and Multicultural Affairs), professor and chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Boston City Hospital (now known as Boston Medical Center). Edelin died in December 2013 at the age of 74.
Edelin made headlines in 1975 when he was convicted of manslaughter for performing a legal abortion two years earlier in 1973, which was overturned on appeal in a landmark test of medical, legal, religious and political questions surrounding abortion in America. He was recognized for his concern for indigent patients, and spoke often of the need for legal and safe abortions as a necessary alternative to the dangerous back-alley practices of the past.
More than 100 friends, family and colleagues gathered at the dedication and listened to remarks from his widow Barbara Edelin, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, BMC President and CEO Kate Walsh, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts CEO Jennifer Childs-Roshak, MD, and City Councilor At-Large Ayanna Pressley.
“Having arrived at BU in the early 1980s as a young anesthesia resident, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Edelin on innumerable occasions,” said Rafael Ortega, MD, Professor, Anesthesiology and Associate Dean, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. “During surgical procedures I saw an intimate side of him, which was reserved for those who claim the operating room as their home. As I sat among the audience at the dedication ceremony, where so many leaders expressed admiration and respect for his legacy of equality and opportunity, I felt privileged to have cared for his patients with him, and overwhelmingly challenged by having followed in his giant footsteps as associate dean for diversity and multicultural affairs.”