Saint Louis University

ST. LOUIS -- Sharon Frey, M.D., clinical director of Saint Louis University's Center for Vaccine Development and professor of infectious diseases, allergy and immunology, was honored as one of the YWCA's Leaders of Distinction on Dec. 6.

Sharon Frey, M.D.

The YWCA recognized Frey for her accomplishments as an educator who shapes the next generation of physicians and mentors junior medical school faculty at SLU. The YWCA also celebrated the accomplishments of other St. Louis area women who are leaders in business, politics and racial justice.

Frey is a physician-scientist, teacher and advocate for social justice. She also rides motorcycles, races her vintage formula Ford, flies a R22 helicopter and participates in medical mission trips to the most dangerous parts of the world.

"Life is about taking risks -- pushing yourself to experience all you can," Frey said. "I love the excitement that comes with new discoveries through medical research, the exhilaration of going to challenging places to care for people of different cultures and the thrill of speed when I recharge during my free time."

Frey is a leading scientific researcher, whose work as the clinical director of the Center for Vaccine Development directly impacts public health. She has led numerous vaccine trials to protect people from diseases, including the National Institutes of Health's H1N1 influenza vaccine trials at SLU, which analyzed the vaccine's safety and effectiveness in children, pregnant women and other adults.

Frey also studied vaccines to prevent diseases such as hepatitis, HIV, avian influenza, smallpox and salmonella. Her findings have been published in multiple peer-reviewed medical journals.

Frey has guided medical students interested in doing international rotations and recently was appointed to chair the Department of Internal Medicine's mentoring committee, which advises junior faculty members.

Frey is a humanitarian, volunteering her services on medical mission trips. For more than 15 years, she has brought medical aid to those in need in war-torn countries that include Zaire, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sudan and Afghanistan. Frey produced an award-winning documentary about women who had HIV that was distributed to HIV and AIDS clinics across the nation as an educational tool for newly diagnosed women.

Frey is a member of Physicians for Human Rights and an active participant in its Asylum Project, which examines patients and documents evidence of physical and mental abuse as they seek asylum in United States. Frey serves on the Advisory Board of Relief International, a non-governmental organization that provides emergency relief, rehabilitation, development assistant and program services to vulnerable communities worldwide.

Dedicated to empowering women and eliminating racism, the YWCA honors women who contribute in business and work to create a more equitable society at its annual Leader Lunch.