Miriam Rosenthal

Dr. Miriam Rosenthal, 92, of Cleveland, passed away July 30, 2020. Miriam was born June 8, 1928, in New York City.

Dr. Miriam “Mim” Rosenthal was a remarkable person. The youngest sibling of a prominent family in Mount Vernon, N.Y., where her father, Jacob Bernstein, was the city judge, she was raised in a culture that honored education and music. She was an excellent student who also loved the outdoors, summer camp and nature. Her mother and sister were excellent musicians as was Mim.

She attended Mount Holyoke College and then George Washington University School of Medicine, where she was one of the top students and served in the coveted Osler Medical Service as an intern. She also trained in internal medicine at Peter Bent Brigham before beginning her psychiatric training at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Dr. Rosenthal was a professor in the departments of psychiatry and reproductive biology at CWRU SOM and MacDonald Women’s Hospital for more than 40 years and remained involved in department activities even after her retirement in 2003 as professor emeritus.

She was an early leader in the mental health of women and a superb clinician and teacher. She trained hundreds of young physicians about the psychiatric issues in medically ill patients with a focus upon women’s health. Dr. Rosenthal was responsible for co-creating the Behavioral Medicine Division of OB-GYN at University Hospitals.

A true pioneer in the field of women’s mental health, she developed a model for integrating behavioral medicine and mental health care into a women’s health/OB-GYN setting that has endured as a model for many other major academic centers. She published numerous articles in textbooks and medical journals.

Within the hospital and medical school, Dr. Rosenthal (“Mim” to most of her colleagues) was a favorite mentor, teacher and supervisor to generations of medical students, residents and faculty in OB-GYN and psychiatry. She volunteered her time generously to both departments and across all the CWRU teaching hospitals. She chaired the MacDonald Hospital ethics committee for more than 20 years until her retirement and continued to provide wise counsel in a gentle manner, long after she retired.

Her legacy is honored in psychiatry by the annual Miriam Rosenthal Lecture on Women’s Health and Reproductive Medicine, and by an annual Miriam Rosenthal Prize for graduating medical students.

Outside of Cleveland, Dr. Rosenthal had a strong national reputation as a pioneer and a leader in women’s mental health. She was particularly known for her leadership and expertise in the fields of reproductive medicine, menopause and perinatal mood disorders. She served on the board of trustees for the North American Menopause Society, was elected chair of the Mental Health Professional Group of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the ASRM.

Beyond all her lifetime achievements and professional success, Mim was universally loved. There has never been a person who met her that didn’t instantly experience her genuine warmth and kindness. She was an eternal optimist and always saw the best in everyone.

Mim is survived by her husband, Melvin, also a beloved SOM emeritus from the department of internal medicine. Her three children also loved music and are successful professionals. Jim, a well-known attorney in Cleveland; Ann Rosenthal-Massey is a professor of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin; and Jeanne Rosenthal-McGlaughlin is an epidemiologist and senior executive at a clinical research organization. Mim’s husband, Dr. Melvin Rosenthal, formerly medical director of St. Luke’s Hospital in Cleveland, was a perfect partner who loved music and medicine as well. She leaves us with important memories and life lessons that will always be with us. Her family grieves but celebrates their close relationship with her.

The family hopes to have a memorial service and celebration in the upcoming year.

Donations can be sent to the Miriam Rosenthal Endowment Fund at the CWRU School of Medicine. Please contact Julie Austin, development officer at CWRU SOM, via email at jsa26@cwru.edu.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at bkbmc.com for the Rosenthal family.