Sheldon J. Segal
51MS, 52PhD

Achievement 2001

Sheldon J. Segal, 51MS, 52PhD, former director of population sciences of the Rockefeller Foundation and distinguished scientist for the Population Council since 1991, has brought his incisive scientific mind to bear on problems of overpopulation and other concerns of public health for more than four decades.

Segal began his work in reproductive biology as a graduate student in the UI Department of Zoology. After receiving his doctorate, Segal accepted several appointments at the UI, as a research associate and later as a research assistant professor in the Department of Urology, and as a lecturer in the Department of Biology. In 1956, he joined the Population Council at the Rockefeller Institute.

From 1978 to 1991, he served as director of population sciences of the Rockefeller Foundation. In policy making and in research, Segal has had an important impact on procedures that provide women the world over with choices about their control over reproduction. He's widely known as the originator and developer of the Norplant five-year implant for voluntary contraception.

Segal's standing has garnered recognition from foreign governments and institutions in the form of many honorary degrees and appointments. He has served on numerous national and international committees concerned with population problems and women's health, includng United States presidential and legislative committees. Additionally, he has served on boards of directors or as a trustee for a number of prestigious organizations of national and international service, including the World Health Organization, the United Nations Office of Science and Technology, the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, the National Research Council, American Jewish World Service, and the Society for the Study of Social Biology. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine.

In addition to his service as an extraordinary administrator and scientist, Segal has found time to write and cowrite hundreds of scientific publications. He is responsible for more than 200 journal articles, as well as four chapters in science textbooks. He also holds an appointment to the editorial board of six scientific journals. His most recent book, Is Menstruation Obsolete?, published in 1999, has prompted a new way of thinking by women and their gynecologists.

With the help of the Rockefeller Foundation, Segal has developed summer enrichment programs for African Americans at a number of colleges and universities. He has also promoted fellowship programs to enable students from developing countries to advance their education in universities throughout the United States.

For the past ten years, Segal has served as chairman of the board of trustees of the venerable, 115-year-old Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.