Dr. Estil Strawn – an MCW Faculty, Mentor and Teacher who Overcomes Great Obstacles to Reach Goals

January 30, 2015  |  Department News
Estil Y. Strawn, Jr., MD

Estil Y. Strawn, Jr., MD

Some people choose an alternative path in life, and some have alternatives thrust upon them. Dr. Estil Strawn, now professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Medical College of Wisconsin and director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertilty, is firmly among the latter.

Born in St. Louis but raised in Milwaukee, Strawn’s academic challenges began in elementary school, when he was identified as having “superior ability.” His family was invited to transfer him to a west-side school for academically gifted pupils ­– without realizing he was African-American. When that was noticed, the offer was withdrawn, and Strawn’s parents had to appeal the decision to the School Board.

Strawn’s parents eventually moved the family to suburban Whitefish Bay, and in high school he entered a program that would have accelerated him into a pre-med program at UW-Milwaukee and then Marquette University College of Medicine (which became MCW).

“To my surprise and disappointment, I was then not accepted,” Strawn said. “I ended up going to Michigan for two years, then one year at UW-Madison before I was accepted into medical school there. I never did get an undergraduate degree.”

Strawn bucked another trend when after residency, in 1984, he went directly into family practice rather than pursuing a fellowship, and spent five years seeing patients before deciding to specialize in infertility – specifically, the developing science of in vitro fertilization.

“Nobody wanted me,” Strawn said. “Because I went straight into practice, I was thought to be ‘not sound academically and lacking in motivation.’”

MCW disagreed. Fast forward to today, and Strawn is now a full professor, mentor, and superb clinician, running one of the busiest infertility programs in southeastern Wisconsin.

Medical College of Wisconsin,
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
9200 West Wisconsin Ave.,
Milwaukee, WI 53226-3522
Phone: (414) 805-6600
24-Hour Emergency Line: (414) 805-6700

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

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