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Crane, Kovacs earn Lifetime Achievement Award from Barnes-Jewish Medical Staff Association

Author: ROBERT S./Monday, May 15, 2017

by Kathryn Holleman

Drs. James Crane and Sandor Kovacs

BJH, WUSM | James Crane, MD, and Sandor Kovacs, MD, PhD, were honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Medical Staff Association. The awards were presented at the association’s semi-annual general staff meeting, April 13, at the Eric P. Newman Education Center on the Washington University Medical Center campus. 

Dr. Crane, professor of obstetrics/gynecology and radiology, is associate vice chancellor of clinical affairs for Washington University School of Medicine and CEO of Washington University Physicians, the WUSM faculty practice plan (FPP). 

Dr. Kovacs, professor of cardiology and cell biology and physiology, is director and founder of the WUSM cardiovascular physics lab. He also serves as adjunct professor of physics and biomedical engineering. 

Current WUSM dean David Perlmutter, MD, and former deans Lawrence Shapiro, MD, and William Peck, MD, spoke about their work with Dr. Crane. 

Dr. Perlmutter, called him “one of the great clinicians at Washington University,” and noted that under Dr. Crane’s leadership, the WU FPP has become one of the five largest faculty practice plans in the world, with more than 1,300 physicians in 76 specialties.

Dr. Shapiro recalled his first meeting with Dr. Crane 45 years ago in the middle of the night in a delivery room at the former Barnes Hospital, when both were residents.

“Dr. Crane has the greatest work ethic of any person I know,” he said. “And he not only works harder, but smarter. He has a great moral compass.”

Dr. Peck said Dr. Crane was reluctant to take on the job of organizing a practice plan for WUSM physicians at first. But his leadership has built the WU FPP into one of the leading such plans in the world.

“The Washington University Physicians faculty practice plan has succeeded spectacularly,” Dr. Peck said.

Dr. Crane received his medical degree from Indiana University. He completed his residency in
obstetrics and gynecology and a fellowship in maternal fetal medicine at BJH/WUSM. He completed a
fellowship in clinical genetics at the University of Colorado, Denver. 

William “Griff” Bowen, MD, introduced Dr. Kovacs, who came to the U.S. from Hungary as a child. His and his family’s Hungarian heritage have added to the fabric of the country’s society, said Dr. Bowen.  

He noted that before Dr. Kovacs earned his medical degree in just 22 months from the University of Miami, he had earned an engineering degree from Cornell University and a master’s and doctorate in physics from Caltech. 

Despite Dr. Kovacs’ vast medical knowledge, education and research interests, he always put patients first, telling residents, “that’s not a disease you’re treating, that’s a person,” said Dr. Bowen. 

He also cited Dr. Kovacs’ mentorship of other physicians, residents and students. 

“We are a premier institution today,” said Dr. Bowen,  “because of his leadership.”

Dr. Kovacs completed his residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in cardiology at BJH/WUSM.

Kathryn Holleman, kathryn.holleman@bjc.org

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