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richard wender family community med

PHILADELPHIA – Richard C. Wender, MD, a longtime Family and Community Medicine professor and physician in Philadelphia, has been named chair of Family Medicine and Community Health in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Wender, who will begin his role at Penn Medicine on August 17, 2020, is currently a professor of Family and Community Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University.

A Perelman School of Medicine graduate and a nationally-recognized leader in the specialty, Wender was the chair of Family and Community Medicine at Jefferson for 12 years and served as the first ever Chief Cancer Control Officer for the American Cancer Society. At Jefferson, Wender was responsible for substantial service line growth including the creation of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and a Palliative Care program. His work has led to methods that address social determinants of health and health equity.

“It is with great pleasure that we welcome Dr. Wender to Penn, as he is superbly qualified to lead the Department to its next level of excellence in all of its mission areas,” J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, dean of the Perelman School of Medicine and executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System.  “In addition to delivering excellent primary care and community health services, the Department provides strong residency, fellowship, medical student education, and research programs. As a locus for Penn Medicine’s public and community health initiatives, the Department has strong ties with the University-wide Center for Public Health Initiatives, Masters of Public Health Program, and other public health activities.”

Wender succeeds Matthew Press, MD, MSc, interim chair of Family Medicine and Community Health, who has led the Department since August 2018. During his tenure, the Department continued to advance scientific understanding and meet the primary-care needs of a diverse patient population with various health conditions. Press will continue to serve as the physician executive of Penn Primary Care and the medical director of the Primary Care Service Line, partnering closely with Wender.

“Now more than ever, primary care is centrally important to Penn Medicine’s mission,” said Kevin B. Mahoney, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. “Over the past few years, we have taken major steps to expand, align, and strengthen our primary care services and community health activities. Dr. Wender has articulated an exciting vision to expand the Department’s clinical and non-clinical health services, educational opportunities and research, with a focus on elevating engagement within our West Philadelphia community to address health disparities and to serve as a national model.”

Wender received his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Princeton University. After medical school at Penn, he completed his residency in Family Medicine at Jefferson University.  

Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $8.9 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $496 million awarded in the 2020 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center—which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report—Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.

Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 44,000 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems across both Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients no matter where they live.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2020, Penn Medicine provided more than $563 million to benefit our community.

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