William Joe Ledger, M.D.
Dr. William J. Ledger practices at Weill Cornell Ob/Gyn’s 68th Street office. He specializes in gynecology and infectious disease.
“We have barely scratched the surface of our knowledge of infectious disease, but research breakthroughs are being reported at a dizzying pace. Who would have thought that a bacterium is the cause of stomach ulcers or that a virus is the cause of cervical cancer? We now approach these diseases with infectious-disease diagnostic tools and infectious-disease prevention and treatment strategies.”
Dr. William Ledger has been recognized for decades as a pioneer in the diagnosis and treatment of gynecologic infections. He is an expert in vulvovaginal infections and disease. He was a founder and first president of the Infectious Diseases Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology, and was the first obstetrician-gynecologist elected to the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the National Foundation of Infectious Disease. He is the sole author of the first and second editions of Infection in the Female and co-author with Steven Witkin of Vulvovaginal Infections. Dr. Ledger is also the author of more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed medical journals. He was the chief investigator at one of the major test sites for the currently approved quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, and has been the chief investigator in a series of trials of immunoenhancing agents to speed the elimination of HPV infections in women.
Dr. Ledger entered medical school during the Korean War and fulfilled the requirements of his student deferral by serving two years in the Air Force after internship as a medical officer assigned to the obstetric-gynecologic service. After the Air Force, he completed his residency training at Temple University Medical School, followed by fulltime academic positions at the University of Michigan and the University of California before coming to Weill Cornell Medical College in 1979.
In his nearly fifty-year academic medical practice, he has witnessed broad changes in both the practice and make-up of medical practitioners in obstetrics and gynecology. In his medical school graduating class of 125, for example, there were just seven women, but while Dr. Ledger was Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of its residency program from 1979 to 1999, the majority of the residency graduates were women.
A former collegiate varsity football player, who did wear a helmet, Dr. Ledger is a Nordic Trak enthusiast who plays doubles tennis two to three times a week. He remains active both in teaching and in gynecologic practice and research. He is excited about every day at Weill Cornell, stimulated by the enthusiasm of the intelligent medical students and residents. He enjoys teaching them, emphasizing humanistic values and a commitment to providing the best care for women. These were the qualities that first attracted him to the practice of obstetrics and gynecology.
“There is an academic culture here at Weill Cornell that supports teaching and learning. It is great to have top-quality students, residents, and faculty who ask questions and exchange ideas. It encourages all of us to be involved in the process of continuing education, and it makes great doctors.”
A graduate of Princeton University, Dr. Ledger received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. A former Chairman of the Cornell University Medical College Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Ledger is currently the Given Foundation Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1979.