William A. Peck, MD, the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor of Medicine and director of the Center for Health Policy at Washington University in St. Louis, was presented with the Washington University Eliot Society “Search” Award at the 45th annual dinner of the William Greenleaf Eliot Society May 1 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Clayton, Mo.
Peck was honored for his 36 years of exceptional leadership, vision and invaluable service to the WUSTL community.
The “Search” Award is given annually to an outstanding member of the university community by the Eliot Society, a group that provides unrestricted support to the institution.
“Bill Peck has made significant and lasting contributions to the medical profession and to Washington University, as an extraordinary clinician, outstanding researcher and forward-thinking academic leader,” says Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. “He has been an important contributor to the expansion of our world-renowned research efforts and to the building of the medical school in every aspect of its mission of research, education, patient care and community outreach.”
Peck’s first experience with the Washington University Medical Center was in 1960 as an intern, followed by a residency, then as an endocrinology fellow at Barnes Hospital in 1963 before spending two years as a clinical associate at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
After heading the Department of Endocrinology at the University of Rochester, he returned to Washington University in 1976 as the John E. and Adaline Simon Professor of Medicine, co-chair of the Department of Medicine and physician-in-chief at The Jewish Hospital of St. Louis.
Peck was the first person to serve simultaneously as dean of the School of Medicine and as executive vice chancellor for medical affairs. In these positions, coupled with his role as president of the Washington University Medical Center, the School of Medicine became one of the nation’s leading centers for medical research and academic clinical practice. It also emerged as the most selective medical school in the nation, a standard it has maintained for the past 14 years.
During this time, the medical school established the Center for Advanced Medicine, which houses Washington University outpatient clinics and the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.
Since stepping down as dean and establishing the Center for Health Policy in 2003, Peck has become a nationally recognized leader in health policy, particularly in the disparities in access to care, rising costs, workforce shortages and errors and inefficiencies in providing medical care.
While in clinical practice as a renowned endocrinologist, Peck wrote more than 100 scientific publications, including original investigations in bone and mineral metabolism.
Among his major scientific contributions were the development of the first method to study directly the structure, function and growth of bone cells, the demonstration of mechanisms that allow hormones to regulate bone cell function and the examination of the causes of osteoporosis. He has been featured on national media, including PBS’ McNeil Lehrer Report, ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS Morning News.
Peck has served on the editorial boards of many scientific journals, national and international medical and scientific panels, and as an advisor to major pharmaceutical companies.
His many affiliations include the past president of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Institute of Medicine and founding president of the National Osteoporosis Foundation and chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges. He serves on a variety of boards and advisory councils and is founding chair of Innovate St. Louis.
Among his many honors, Peck has received a National Institutes of Health Career Program Award, the Washington University Clinical Teacher of the Year Award and the FDA Commissioner’s Award.
He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Rochester and is a recipient of Washington University School of Medicine’s Second Century Award. The William A. Peck, MD, Scholars in Medicine scholarship program at the School of Medicine was formed in his honor in 2003.
He and his wife, Pat, are patrons and life fellows of the Eliot Society. Their daughter, Andrea, is a 1992 graduate of the School of Law.
La Russa gives keynote address
In addition to the award presentation, former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa gave the keynote address.
La Russa led the St. Louis Cardinals to three National League Championships and two World Series titles in 2006 and 2011. In his 33-year career in major league baseball, he is the first manager to win multiple pennants in both leagues and the second manager to win the World Series in both leagues.
In addition to his baseball career, La Russa earned a degree in industrial management from the University of South Florida and a juris doctorate from Florida State University College of Law.
The William Greenleaf Eliot Society was founded in 1959 to help support student assistance programs, sponsored scholarships, faculty development and recruitment, educational resources and facility improvements.