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Julio E. Pérez, MD

Julio E. Pérez, MD, professor of medicine, is being recognized for his lifetime of dedication and excellence in educating the next generation of echocardiographers.

Pérez is known as one of the nation’s premier experts on echocardiography — ultrasound of the heart — and its use for tissue characterization. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1970 and his medical degree in 1973 from the University of Puerto Rico and completed residency training at the Veterans Administration Hospital in San Juan. He came to St. Louis in 1978 for a cardiovascular research fellowship at Barnes Hospital, then joined the faculty in 1980. He has been director of echocardiography at Barnes-Jewish Hospital since 1985.

During his 32-year tenure, he has taught fourth-year students in the echocardiography elective, been course master for cardiovascular pathophysiology and trained more than 300 cardiology fellows, amassing and sharing an unparalleled knowledge base along the way. But, trainees say, it is his gentle, respectful and caring manner that set him apart — and that they themselves strive to emulate. Many describe him as simply the best teacher they have ever had.

His particular talent, colleagues and trainees unequivocally report, is simplifying complex concepts and explaining the physiology and physics behind the images; trainees come away with a clear understanding of why they see what they see on their patient’s echocardiograms.

Also an accomplished scientist, he has published more than 180 scientific papers on the application of echocardiography for studying left ventricular function in ischemic and valvular heart disease and cardiomyopathy.

Pérez’s influence extends internationally; his reputation draws trainees from around the globe, and he is a frequent speaker at scientific meetings across the country, throughout Latin America and beyond. The cardiology fellows have honored him as Teacher of the Year numerous times, and he has been named in Best Doctors in America every year since 2005.

Published: 02/08/2013