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GW SMHS is Three for Three

For Morris Krucoff, M.D. ’41, the discovery of penicillin was the miracle of modern medicine he had hoped for. As an ear, nose and throat surgeon, Morris often treated those suffering from infections with painful, sometimes life-threatening surgery. With the advent of penicillin, a small pill cured the infection and helped his patients avoid surgery and its risks altogether. His son, Mitchell Krucoff, M.D. ’80, grew up with penicillin, but as a cardiologist participated in the first days of plain balloon angioplasty and coronary  stents saving lives during heart attacks and, sometimes, to avoid risks of heart surgery. Now Mitchell’s son, Morris’ grandson, Max Krucoff, M.D. ’13, is looking forward to the miracles of modern medicine he’ll  provide neurosurgical patients as a recent graduate of the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.

While there may have been some reminiscing about medical history witnessed by the Krucoff family during graduation weekend, the three generations of Krucoffs gathered May 16 for a different reason: to welcome Max and his fellow inductees to the Alpha Omega Alpha (AΩA) Honor Medical Society.

“This is a real homecoming for Mitch, and for us,” said GW AΩA Chapter Councilor Alan Wasserman, M.D., Eugene Meyer Professor of Medicine and chairman of the department of medicine at GW SMHS, while introducing him during a special GW AΩA sponsored Internal Medicine Grand Rounds lecture earlier that day.

The lecture, titled “Music, Imagery, Touch & Prayer as Adjuncts to Interventional Cardiovascular Care: The MANTRA Study Project 1993-2013,” focused on Mitch’s research of intangible human healing capacities, such as prayer. He encouraged those in attendance to think about what physicians should be praying for in regards to the future of healthcare — their own “miracle of modern medicine,” technological or otherwise.   Later that day, while speaking at the GW AΩA Honor Medical Society 58th Annual Banquet and Induction Ceremony, Mitch shared his own thoughts for the future of medicine.

“What the best and the brightest need to do is to lead medicine from where it is today, through troubled waters, and back to the center of what it is intended to be, which is a healing art that performs the transformation of suffering when people are sick,” said Mitch.

His advice, perfectly in sync with the AΩA creed, “be worthy to serve the suffering,” resonated not only with those graduating, but with those who were inducted well into their medical careers.

During the induction ceremony, three faculty members, four residents, one alumna, and 29 students from the Class of 2013 were inducted into the AΩA Honor Medical Society. Inductees are chosen based on academic excellence, as well as leadership, character, community service, and professionalism. Members may also be elected by demonstrating scholarly achievement and professional contributions and values during their careers in medicine.

“Tonight is about our top faculty, residents, alumni and medical students being inducted in to the AΩA Honor Medical Society,” said Jeffrey S. Akman, M.D. ’81, vice president for health affairs and dean of GW SMHS, at the induction ceremony. “And for Max, this is particularly special as his father and his grandfather are alumni of the medical school. To have this kind of legacy and three generations here to celebrate his induction to AΩA and also on Sunday to celebrate his graduation from GW SMHS is incredibly special.”

When asked what this legacy means to their family, the Krucoffs had a hard time putting it into words.

“It’s not about going into office practice together,” said Mitch. “It’s something deeper than that which connects us across the generations, by being physicians and by being GW physicians.”

Max added that there must be “something strong in the Krucoff genome that sends us into service the best way we know how.”

But Morris said it best: “It means I’ve lived a long time!”

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For more information about the AΩA and a full list of this year’s inductees, please visit http://smhs.gwu.edu/academics/md/beyond-classroom/organizations/aoa