Associate Professor of Surgery, School of Medicine
Laurie Punch, MD, came to St. Louis in 2016 and has quickly immersed herself in understanding the city’s history and current challenges. She has become a force of nature in revolutionizing trauma care both as an associate professor of surgery in the Acute & Critical Care Surgery division and outside of the hospital walls as the director of Power4STL.
As a trauma surgeon, Laurie saves lives touched by violence through her impressive clinical acumen while also acting as a patient and family advocate. She spends time at the bedside helping patients and their loved ones understand their situation and outlines the physical and emotional recovery process.
In addition to advocating for her patients, Laurie is a student and resident advocate. As medical student Connie Gan writes, “She is never too busy to meet with students, hear ideas, and direct our passions into action.” Her passion for education extends beyond the medical campus and into the community through Power4STL, a non-profit that aims to reduce harm from violence through community health outreach. She has worked tirelessly to bring trauma first aid or “Stop the Bleed” classes to the WashU campus, St. Louis schools, and high-risk communities. She has taught over 2000 people life-saving bleeding control skills and has empowered them to change the narrative surrounding violence from one of helplessness to self-agency and resilience.
The growth of Power4STL was only possible through Laurie’s selflessness, optimism, and financial support as she provided greater than 80 percent of the funding in the first year. Starting with a team of three, the team now has over 70 individuals involved in outreach efforts. Power4STL hosts weekly trauma first aid classes in the city and county juvenile detention centers and offers internship positions to formerly incarcerated youth. The organization recently opened a community health education outreach center on Delmar to provide trauma first aid training and offers a new program focused on learning “How 2 Heal” after violent injury.
Her nominator, Dr. Erin Andrade, states, “Dr. Punch inspires others in the medical community to step up and step outside of the hospital. Personally, she has made me a better surgeon, better mentor, and a better person.”