Murray named Loeb Professor

David J. Murray, M.D., has been named the Carol B. and Jerome T. Loeb Professor in the School of Medicine at Washington University.

Washington University Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and Larry J. Shapiro, M.D., executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, made the announcement.

“We are grateful to Carol Loeb and her late husband, Jerry, for establishing both an endowed professorship and a teaching fellows program,” Wrighton said. “Their commitment to training and clinical excellence will greatly enhance our education efforts at the School of Medicine.”

“This professorship recognizes David Murray for his extraordinary clinical and medical skills,” said Shapiro. “Clinical simulation has become an integral part of medical education, and we are very fortunate to have a national leader in the field directing those efforts at the School of Medicine.”

Murray is a pediatric anesthesiologist and the director of the Clinical Simulation Center, a joint effort involving the School of Medicine and its Departments of Anesthesiology, Pediatrics and Surgery, as well as BJC HealthCare, which operates Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

In 1995, Murray came to Washington University and St. Louis Children’s Hospital from the University of Iowa Hospitals and College of Medicine. He and his colleagues at Washington University have been using simulators to help assess and improve physician competence for more than a decade, and most of his current research involves using simulation technology to improve communication among members of medical teams with the goal of providing better diagnosis and treatment.

According to Alex S. Evers, M.D., the Henry Elliot Mallinckrodt Professor and head of the Department of Anesthesiology, the Loeb Professorship will provide needed support for the department’s efforts to take advantage of clinical simulation technologies to train young physicians. In the Simulation Center, those students and residents are placed into simulated scenarios that give them experience dealing with complicated or unusual situations that they may one day face in clinical practice.

“Our Clinical Simulation Center is one of the principal places students learn what to do in difficult situations,” Evers said. “The Loebs’ generosity enables us to assist in the training of those students and to more fully support and expand Dave Murray’s major contributions to simulation technology.”

Murray was born in Chapel Hill, N.C., and later moved to Canada. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Saskatchewan and earned his medical degree from its College of Medicine in 1978. He completed an internship in internal medicine at St. Thomas Hospital and Medical Center in Akron, Ohio and then returned to Canada as a family practitioner and chief of the medical staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Ile a LaCrosse, Saskatchewan. At the same time, he was a lecturer in the Department of Family Practice at the University of Saskatchewan.

He began his anesthesiology training in Saskatchewan in 1980, then moved to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in 1981, where he completed residency training and worked in the hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. He became an instructor of anesthesia in 1983 and advanced to the rank of professor and vice chairman of anesthesia before he left for Washington University in 1995. The following year he became the director of the Clinical Simulation Center.

“I am grateful to receive this honor, which recognizes the importance of the work we are doing to train physicians with clinical simulation,” said Murray. “The fidelity of the technology is so close to reality that we are able to implement a variety of training and assessment strategies for our medical students, residents, even for experienced physicians and specialists, testing the potential of simulation technology to improve practice standards and, more importantly, patient safety.”

A member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the International Society for Simulation in Health Care and the Association of University Anesthesiologists, Murray also is associate editor of the journal Anesthesiology. In addition, he is a member of the American Society of Anesthesia’s subcommittee on education and patient safety.

The Loebs are natives of St. Louis. Jerome Loeb was the former chairman of the May Department Stores Co. He joined the company’s Famous-Barr division in 1964 and held several positions both at the corporate office and at Hecht’s, the department store based in Washington D.C. In 1981, he was named executive vice president and chief financial officer for the company, was elected to the board of directors in 1984, was promoted to president in 1993 and was named chairman in 1998. He retired from the company in 2001 and passed away in 2004.

Loeb earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from Tufts University in 1962 and a master’s degree in mathematics from Washington University in 1964. He was co-author of the book “Why Can’t We Get Anything Done Around Here?”, and later in his life, he returned to Washington University as an adjunct professor of marketing at John M. Olin School of Business.

He was a chairman of the board of directors of Junior Achievement and served on the boards of BJC HealthCare, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the OASIS Institute. He also served as chairman of the St. Louis Science Center’s board of commissioners and was a member of the President’s Council of the American Jewish Committee.

Carol Loeb earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and French from Mount Holyoke College in 1963. She became a mathematics teacher and tutor and served on the Members’ Board of the Missouri Botanical Garden. She also serves on the board of trustees at the St. Louis Science Center, where she and her husband established the Loeb Prize, which provides annual cash prizes to those judged to be excellent mathematics and science teachers in the St. Louis area. The Loebs have two children.

In addition to the professorship, the Loebs also set up the Carol B. and Jerome T. Loeb Teaching Fellows Program, which appoints fellows to two-year terms in order to focus extra time on teaching medical students and residents. When the fellowship program was initiated in 2004, the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation recognized the Loebs’ generosity with its own gift to provide for two additional teaching fellowships.

Currently the Loeb Teaching Fellows for the School of Medicine are Mary E. Klingensmith, M.D., associate professor of surgery and director of the residency program in general surgery; and Martin I. Boyer, M.D., associate professor of orthopaedic surgery and director of third- and fourth-year musculoskeletal education at the School of Medicine. The Barnes-Jewish Hospital Teaching Fellows are Jane Loitman, M.D., an assistant professor of clinical neurology and director of the Palliative Care Service; and Elliot Efrem Abbey, M.D., a professor of clinical medicine in medical oncology.

Washington University School of Medicine’s full-time and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.