Stephen S. Lefrak, MD
Stephen S. Lefrak, MD has been a full-time faculty member of the Washington University Department of Medicine since 1971 and a professor of medicine in the division of pulmonary & critical care medicine since 1984. Lefrak is a master teacher at the bedside, in the classroom, and the lecture hall. His leadership and brilliance are legendary.
Lefrak has served as the assistant dean and director of the Humanities Program in Medicine since its inauguration in 1990. He also served as medical director and principal attending physician of the medical intensive care unit at Jewish Hospital, program director for the house staff for the department of medicine, medical director for the lung volume reduction program from its inception, and initiated the Maritz Lung Center as its medical director.
Lefrak has served many roles: historian, ethicist, patient/advocate, physician/advocate, public relations manager, and of course, premier intensivist. In the latter role, he has functioned as the founding director of the medical intensive care unit as well as the founding director for the post-intensive care rehabilitation unit. He led both of these units to become local and national models of premiere patient care areas partnering with thoracic surgery to develop the world’s first lung volume reduction program (LVR) and serving as its director. Here, he led the way to new techniques for treating lung disease combined with outstanding patient care and teaching services. As the director of the lung volume reduction program, Lefrak provided spirited discussion and advocacy for the patients in a highly selective and high-risk group of potential surgical patients.
Most recently, Lefrak has made contributions to medical education with lectures on ethics and medical history. Those lectures stem from his deep passion, and reflect the work of scholarship and a love for the education process in its purest form. One such effort has been sustained for 25 years — the annual medical grand rounds, which focuses on the Holocaust and the involvement of medicine throughout the genocidal process.
Lefrak attended Colgate University for his undergraduate degree and received his medical degree from State University of New York in 1965. He completed internships, residencies, and fellowships at Boston City Hospital, University Hospital, Kings County Hospital, and Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.
The Washington University Medical Center Alumni Association is pleased to present its Distinguished Service Award to Dr. Lefrak.