News Stories Recognition

Brunt Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Photo of Michael Brunt with his wife Elizabeth Brunt, MD, and their son
Brunt with his wife, Emeritus Professor of Pathology & Immunology Elizabeth Brunt, MD, and their son.

Chief of Minimally Invasive Surgery Michael Brunt, MD, received the Barnes-Jewish Medical Staff Association Lifetime Achievement Award at the association’s general meeting on November 15 at the Eric P. Newman Education Center. Physicians who have given 25 years or more of distinguished service to Barnes-Jewish Hospital are considered for the award.

“The award is given to recognize those physicians who have been the pillars of Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University and have left an indelible legacy of superlative achievement sustained over 25-plus years,” says William Griff Bowen, MD, Medical Staff Association Council Member. “They have shaped the uniqueness and strength of our institution. Take your hats off, bow your heads. You’re in the company of giants.”

Brunt joined the Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis as an intern in 1980. He completed both his general surgery residency and an immunology fellowship at the School of Medicine before joining the faculty. Brunt was among the first physicians to introduce laparoscopic surgery at Washington University. He has served as Section Chief of Minimally Invasive Surgery since 2014. At the awards ceremony, Brunt was lauded for pioneering laparoscopy, advancing surgical education and leading in sports medicine.

“Michael does this with great empathy,” says Bowen, who nominated Brunt for the award. “He is always working at the highest ethical and professional standards.”

Among his many awards and recognitions, Brunt has received the Clinical Teacher Award from the School of Medicine seven times. In 2002, he received the School of Medicine’s Samuel Goldstein Leadership Award in Medical Student Education. Brunt was inducted into the Washington University School of Medicine Academy of Educators in 2021. He has been listed in Best Doctors of America since 1996, in “Best Doctors in St. Louis” by St. Louis Magazine since 2002 and in the Guide to America’s Top Surgeons since 2006. Brunt also received the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

  • Group photo of BJH Medical Staff Association Award Recipients Drs. Vijayan, Morrison, Brown and Brunt
  • Closeup photo of the Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Photo of Michael Brunt at the podium accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award

“I am not only incredibly honored but truly humbled by this award,” says Brunt, who is the Pruett Family Professor of Surgery. “When you are recognized by your peers for the work that you’ve done over your career, that is the most gratifying thing imaginable. This has been an amazing place to live and work. It has been a journey, and I am incredibly proud of the Section of Minimally Invasive Surgery at Washington University

Brunt is Team Surgeon for the St. Louis Blues and has a nationwide referral practice for collegiate and professional athletes with sports hernias. He served as President of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) from 2014-15. He has been on the SAGES Board of Governors since 2006, and he is Chair of the SAGES Safety on Cholecystectomy Task Force, which he formed in 2014. He is also President of the Central Surgical Association and President-Elect of the Fellowship Council.

“Any successful surgeon has a lot of other people behind them,” says Brunt. “My staff is amazing. The residents and fellows are phenomenal. I also want to recognize the other physician groups I regularly work alongside. One of the reasons you can be so successful at a place like this is that you have excellent colleagues who are deeply invested in their fields.”