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HSS Physician-in-Chief Mary K. Crow, MD, Receives 2018 Presidential Gold Medal

Mary K. Crow, MD, physician-in-chief at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), and chief of Rheumatology at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York Presbyterian Hospital/Cornell Medical Center, received the 2018 Presidential Gold Medal presented by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) during their Annual Meeting in Chicago on October 20, 2018.

Recognizing outstanding career achievements in rheumatology, the Presidential Gold Medal is the highest honor that ACR presents to one individual each year. Winners have made important contributions to clinical medicine, research, education and administration.

Dr. Crow is the second woman as well as the second HSS physician, following physician-in-chief emeritus Charles L. Christian, MD, to receive this distinction. 

"It’s a tremendous honor to receive this award,” said Dr. Crow. “Throughout my career, I have worked to improve the understanding and treatment of autoimmune rheumatic diseases to increase the quality of patient care."

A member of the ACR for 35 years, Dr. Crow is a rheumatologist and physician scientist who investigates the cellular and molecular mechanisms of systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Her research efforts have contributed to identification of new targets for therapy, and her work has established the rationale for drug development programs testing new treatments for lupus patients. Specifically, she identified the autologous mixed lymphocyte reaction, characterized the role of CD40-CD40 ligand in lupus, and defined the type I interferon pathway as a critical disease mechanism in lupus. Additionally, her characterization of gene expression in patients with lupus nephritis holds promise of designing precision medicine strategies for the disease.

After being appointed physician-in-chief in 2010, Dr. Crow led an initiative to establish a perioperative medicine program at HSS to optimize outcomes of patients with rheumatic disease who undergo orthopedic surgery procedures. HSS perioperative medicine guidelines have since been applied to more than 30,000 surgeries at HSS.

"HSS is a world leader in orthopedics and rheumatology, and physicians across all specialties have the incredible opportunity to collaborate," said Todd J. Albert, MD, surgeon-in-chief at HSS. "By working with Dr. Crow and her team, we are able to transform and personalize care delivery, improve patient care and outcomes, and implement advances in treatment for numerous conditions."

During Dr. Crow’s tenure as chief, the Department of Rheumatology at HSS has recruited 12 new adult and pediatric rheumatologists, along with infectious disease and metabolic bone disease specialists, and has established a dedicated team of perioperative medicine internists. The department’s physicians evaluate and manage the full spectrum of rheumatic diseases, with more than 40,000 patient visits in 2017.

Dr. Crow is also passionate about mentoring women working in rheumatology. She is devoted to growing the number of women in the field and supporting the development of clinical investigators.

"Her dedication to advancing the careers of the next generation is second to none. She is the iconic role model for women in our field. She has inspired, mentored and paved the way for many women in rheumatology," said Jane E. Salmon, MD, rheumatologist at HSS.

Dr. Crow plays an integral role in creating and expanding centers of excellence at the Hospital, serving as director of the Autoimmunity and Inflammation Research Program and co-director of the Mary Kirkland Center for Lupus Research. She is also currently the co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Lupus Research Alliance.

She has published 15 book chapters and 154 peer-reviewed articles, and continues to publish in leading rheumatic disease journals including Arthritis & Rheumatism and Lancet.

In 2017, Dr. Crow was named an honorary member of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) based on her service in improving the treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal diseases. In past years, she has served as president of the American College of Rheumatology and President of the Henry Kunkel Society and has been an invited speaker at numerous national and international medical conferences.