Alan Rubin, 87, of Center City, a retired obstetrician and gynecologist and a prolific contributor to medical research, died at home Monday, May 16, of complications from Parkinson's disease.
Dr. Rubin had a practice in Center City, served on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, and was chief of gynecology at the former Graduate Hospital when he retired in 1989. Before that, he was chairman of the obstetrics and gynecology department at Albert Einstein Medical Center.
In 1964, he described the Rubin Maneuver, a technique he developed to free infants' shoulders during difficult deliveries, in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Also in the 1960s, he was one of the first physicians to demonstrate a link between diabetes in men and erectile dysfunction. At the time, the condition was thought to be largely psychological, said his son Stephen C. Rubin, chief of gynecological oncology at Penn Medicine.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Dr. Rubin did groundbreaking research, funded by the National Cancer Institute, on cancer in women. He was one of the first to recognize a hereditary link in some women with breast cancer. He was an early user of tissue cultures as a method of screening drugs for use as anticancer agents, his son said.
Dr. Rubin grew up in Tacony and graduated from Frankford High School. He attended Penn for two years and went on to its medical school. After graduating in 1947, he spent a year teaching and doing research in the school's department of pharmacology, then completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
He and his wife, Helen Metz Rubin, an anesthesiologist, met as residents at Penn and married in 1947. In 1951, they teamed up to study how Dramamine, used for motion sickness, prevented nausea after anesthesia.
Dr. Rubin served on the executive committee of Penn's Medical Alumni Society for 49 years and was the society's president in 1962. He was a longtime member of the Planned Parenthood Physicians Advisory Committee in Philadelphia and for many years headed fund-raising for the Federation Allied Jewish Appeal at HUP. From 1967 to 1973, he served on the Citizens Council on City Planning in Philadelphia.
A devoted fisherman and gardener, Dr. Rubin grew vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers at his homes in Philadelphia and Loveladies, N.J. He was particularly proud of a fig tree he planted and nurtured through more than 20 years of harsh Long Beach Island winters; to this day, his son said, it bears delicious fruit.
Besides his son, Dr. Rubin is survived by sons Blake and Alan; a brother; seven grandchildren; and a great-grandson. His wife died in 1995.
Services are private.
Memorial donations may be made to the Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center at Pennsylvania Hospital, 330 S. Ninth St., Philadelphia 19107.