During his 12-year tenure as executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, Larry Shapiro, AB ’68, MD ’71, enhanced Washington University’s stature as a leader in medical research, education, and patient care. Among his myriad accomplishments, he played an instrumental role in the establishment of the university’s Institute for Public Health. In recognition of Dr. Shapiro’s legacy, BJC HealthCare has named the directorship of the institute in his honor.
“Advances in public health—clean water, public sanitation systems, immunizations, and many other programs—have contributed so much to our society, to increases in our human lifespan, and to our quality of life,” says Washington University Trustee Steven Lipstein, president and CEO of BJC HealthCare. “We can think of no one who cares more about the human condition than Larry Shapiro, and we are privileged to establish this endowment in his honor.”
Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton has announced that William Powderly, MD, the current director of the institute, will serve as the inaugural Larry J. Shapiro Director. Dr. Powderly also will continue in his role as the Dr. J. William Campbell Professor of Medicine and co-director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the School of Medicine.
“I am deeply grateful to Steve Lipstein and BJC HealthCare for providing visionary support to enhance the work of the Institute for Public Health and recognize the extraordinary contributions of Larry Shapiro,” Chancellor Wrighton says. “BJC HealthCare is among Washington University’s strongest and most important partners. Together—and with leadership from Bill Powderly and members of the Institute for Public Health—we will continue making great strides in our efforts to advance human health.”
Since its inception in 2008, the Institute for Public Health has brought together faculty members, researchers, and students from disciplines across the university to create knowledge, develop interventions, and disseminate solutions that improve the health and wellbeing of people in the St. Louis region and around the world.
Dr. Powderly has led the institute since 2013. A highly regarded specialist in infectious diseases, he has spent more than two decades engaged in research to improve treatments for patients with HIV. He previously served as dean of University College Dublin School of Medicine in his native Ireland. He is president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Dr. Shapiro’s relationship with Washington University began more than 50 years ago, when he enrolled as an undergraduate in the College of Arts & Sciences. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree and a medical degree at the university and complete a residency at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. A distinguished genetics researcher, administrator, and pediatrician, his career took him to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, San Francisco, before he returned to Washington University in 2003 and took the helm at the School of Medicine.
Dr. Shapiro played a key role in establishing BioMed 21, an initiative aimed at making St. Louis a biotech powerhouse. Under his leadership, the School of Medicine consistently retained its ranking as a top-10 medical school, and its clinical practice grew significantly. It is one of the most selective medical schools in the country and a top recipient of NIH funding.