Fraser to head Department of Medicine

Victoria J. Fraser, MD, has been named head of the Department of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The new appointment becomes effective Sept. 1.

With more than 400 faculty members, medicine is the largest of the School of Medicine’s departments. It receives more grant funding than any other research enterprise at the school and is the largest clinical service at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.


Fraser, the J. William Campbell Professor of Medicine and co-director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, has been interim head of the department since August 2010 when she was appointed to replace Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, now dean of the Division of Biological Sciences at the Pritzker School of Medicine and executive vice president for medical affairs at the University of Chicago.

Larry J. Shapiro, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, announced Fraser’s permanent appointment.

“Vicky’s leadership over the past 24 months has demonstrated that she has the necessary skills to keep the Department of Medicine on course through both rapid advancements in medical science and major changes in healthcare delivery,” Shapiro says. “And as an outstanding member of the faculty for more than 20 years, she has demonstrated excellence in teaching, as well as in the research and clinical mission of the department.”

Shapiro and Dennis Hallahan, MD, the Elizabeth H. and James S. McDonnell III Distinguished Professor of Medicine and head of the Department of Radiation Oncology, co-chaired the search committee, which included seven members of the faculty and Richard Liekweg, group president of BJC HealthCare and president of Barnes-Jewish and Barnes-Jewish West County hospitals.

“I am honored to get the opportunity to serve in the same position as some of the key physician-scientists who built the School of Medicine into a world leader in research and clinical services,” Fraser says. “I look forward to the challenge of maintaining the department’s excellence and building upon that foundation as we face future challenges.”

Fraser joined the Division of Infectious Diseases at the School of Medicine in 1991 after completing a three-year fellowship in infectious diseases at what now is Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Her research focuses on the prevention and control of hospital-acquired infections. She has studied surgical site infections, blood stream infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia, and her team looks at risk factors, outcomes and costs of these infections as well as how to prevent them. This research and the work of the BJC HealthCare Infection Control Consortium have led to dramatic declines in the rates of hospital-associated infections at BJC facilities over the past decade.

Now Fraser’s team is expanding those efforts and using national health-care administrative claims data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project to identify ways to prevent infections and adverse events across the United States.

Fraser is co-principal investigator of the Washington University Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences and is principal investigator of the research, education, training and clinical development arm. She also serves as physician-in-chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Fraser earned a medical degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and completed a residency at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, where she also was chief resident.

She has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Service Teaching Award; the Academic Women’s Network Mentor Award; the Neville Grant Award; the SHEA Young Investigator Award and the Bi-State Public Health Award.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed 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 sixth 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.