Our mission is to increase endometriosis awareness, fund landmark research, provide advocacy and support for patients, and educate the public and medical community.
Founders: Padma Lakshmi, Tamer Seckin, MD
Donate Now

Distinguished Gynecologist Who Founded Europe’s First Menopause Clinic Honored with Harry Reich Award

Distinguished Gynecologist Who Founded Europe’s First Menopause Clinic Honored with Harry Reich Award

Dr. Philippe Koninckx has received several awards in an illustrious medical career spanning nearly 50 years, including the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s Distinguished Surgeon Award for endoscopic surgery and endometriosis in 2004. He added another one on May 3.

Koninckx was honored at EndoFound’s Blossom Ball in Manhattan with the organization’s prestigious Harry Reich Award for his many contributions to endocrinology and endoscopic surgery, specifically for endometriosis.

“I have a long history with Harry, attending many meetings with him over the years. I’m very honored by the award,” said Koninckx, now a professor emeritus at five European universities. “Endocrinology, surgery, and endometriosis have been constant in my life.”

The award started in 2010. Reich, now retired, serves on EndoFound’s Scientific Advisory Council and is a lifelong endometriosis specialist and a pioneer in laparoscopic surgery. He performed the first laparoscopic hysterectomy, the first pelvic lymphadenectomy for cancer, and the first excision of cul-de-sac endometriosis that included rectal resection.

Koninckx was one of two recipients of the award on Friday. The other was Dr. Jörg Keckstein, a gynecologist and the former head of the Endometriosis Center Keckstein in Villach, Austria.

Koninckx was involved in developing radioimmunoassays (angiotensin I and II) as a student and introduced as a registrar the assays of LH, FSH, prolactin, estradiol, and progesterone in the OBGYN department at KU Leuven (Belgium’s oldest university). Following a PhD in steroid chemistry, endometriosis, infertility, and peritoneal fluid, he became board-certified in OBGYN and laboratory medicine and a full professor at KU Leuven.

“Besides responsibility for radioimmunoassays, my interests were endocrinology, infertility, and surgery,” Koninckx said. “I started the first menopause clinic on the continent in 1981, did more than 3,000 tubal ligations under local anesthesia, and started laparoscopic surgery in 1986.”

He said two milestones early in his career were the discovery of deep endometriosis with EndoFound’s scientific and medical director, Dr. Dan Martin, and later training Belgian surgeons.

“Philippe is a world-renowned scientist, physician, academician, and friend,” Dr. Martin said. “He has excelled in endocrinology, radioimmunoassay, nuclear medicine, infertility, in vitro fertilization, and minimally invasive surgery.”

Koninckx has authored 269 PubMed papers. He became a visiting professor in Oxford and honorary consultant in the UK in 1996, a visiting professor in Rome (Università Del Sacro Cuore) and honorary professor in Moscow in 2003, and is a founding member of the Indonesian Society for Digestive Endoscopy, Japanese Society of Endometriosis, and Italian Society for Gynecologic Endoscopy.

Koninckx said research in genomics and molecular biology, statistical analysis of data, and surgical techniques have improved with regard to endometriosis. However, he said there is still a lot of work to do.

“Medical treatment has not changed fundamentally, and the future is unclear,” he said. What is missing is structured clinical feedback for basic scientists and continuous medical education of clinicians and surgeons.”

Koninckx said he gave a talk at the National Academy of Surgery in France last year and ended with this statement: “If I were the minister of health, I would invest money in training, quality surgery, and control of quality of surgery. This will create an increase in quality, a decrease in suffering among patients, and a decrease in the cost of endometriosis medicine.”

To read more about Koninckx’s background and past Harry Reich Award winners, visit www.endofound.org/medicalconference/harry-reich-award.