Published November 22, 2022
By Bill Bruton
Thaddeus P. Waters, MD, has been installed as the inaugural Amol S. Lele, MD, Professor and Chief of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
“To provide the highest quality medical education, the Jacobs School must recruit, retain and advance the best faculty and learners. New recruits like Dr. Waters are integral to the growth and the future of how we care for our community,” Brashear said. “We have sought — and hired — the brightest and the best. Dr. Waters is another exceptional addition to our school.”
“His research and clinical interests in gestational diabetes and premature births — among other areas — align with our university’s commitment to the greater good,” Brashear added. “In short, he exemplifies the type of faculty member we seek to help us achieve our vision of excellence for the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and for UB.”
“Here at UB, we are intentionally focused on attracting the very best faculty. Dr. Waters clearly embodies this faculty excellence,” Tripathi said. “As we continue to attract exemplary faculty members to the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, we are achieving new levels of excellence in medical education, clinical training and research.”
“I view myself as a custodian and a caretaker of this position and I hope every day that I do justice and honor to her memory and legacy,” Waters said.
Waters, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, completed his medical degree and residency at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia and his fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Washington and Lee University.
He also serves as the medical director for maternal-fetal medicine and the regional perinatal program at Oishei Children’s Hospital.
Waters previously served as director of maternal-fetal medicine, director of labor and delivery and co-director of the Perinatal Center at Rush University in Chicago.
He is a member of the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine, American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine and American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The late Amol S. Lele, MD, was held in the highest regard by her patients, trainees and the many medical professionals with whom she collaborated. Throughout her career, she was recognized for her strong commitment to medicine.
Multiple times, residents she trained voted her as “educator of the year.” In 2013, the Buffalo Prenatal Perinatal Network honored her at its Great Baby Beginnings event for her dedication to children and for the education and mentoring she provided. Lele was also honored as Physician of the Year by the Association of Asian American Physicians.
“Amol S. Lele was a brilliant and beloved member of our UB faculty,” Brashear said. “She was a professor who was both thoughtful and thorough with the countless students she educated, and she was a physician who was as deeply passionate with her patients as she was respected in her field.”
“I know I speak for her colleagues, friends and former students when I say how much Amol is missed by all who were fortunate to know her,” Brashear added. “We are humbled to have this opportunity to carry on Amol’s meaningful legacy of service in her name.”
Lele’s husband, Shashikant B. Lele, MD, clinical professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynecology; and their children, daughter Rajal Lele Young, an attorney; and son Kedar S. Lele, DDS ’98, a pediatric dentist; were on hand for the ceremony.
Following his installation, Waters gave the lecture “Will This Time Be Different? The Promise, Challenges and Limitations of Technology in Obstetrics, From the External Fetal Monitor to Noninvasive Prenatal Testing and CRISPR in Utero Gene Therapy.”
He went through a history of technology in obstetrics and gynecology and its impact, including both successes and failures.
He spoke about ultrasound. What was once a rudimentary technology, it now offers real-time three-dimensional views of the fetus.
“Today, not only can we see the baby, but we can identify anomalies. Out of this we developed a whole area of care called prenatal diagnosis, where we can screen for genetic abnormalities and identify structural issues. This area has evolved from not only diagnosing problems, but fixing them while the baby’s inside the womb,” Waters said.
The ethical issues grow ever more challenging, with CRISPR allowing the possibility of changing DNA in patients.
“The possibilities of CRISPR are amazing, however for now there are more questions than answers,” Waters said. “How do we approach the ethical issues this raises?”
He also addressed inequities in maternal-fetal care facing women of color, and the growing disparities for women in urban areas vs. those in rural areas.
“Technology has made some remarkable advancements for obstetrics, with more to come. However, those advancements have not narrowed the gaps we see in our most persistently challenging outcomes. We have many opportunities to address inequities both locally and regionally, to elevate the care and outcomes for our patients,” Waters said.
The ceremony took place in the Ronald I. Dozoretz, MD ’62 Auditorium at the Jacobs School building.