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Welcoming New Physician Leadership to Penn Family Medicine, Penn Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Penn Medicine is pleased to welcome Richard C. Wender, MD, as the new Chair of Penn Family Medicine, and Elizabeth Howell, MD, MPP, as the new Chair of Penn Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Richard C. Wender, MD

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School (now the Perelman School of Medicine), Richard C. Wender, MD, completed his residency in Family Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. 

Dr. Wender is currently the Chief Cancer Control Officer at the American Cancer Society, the first to fill this role in the Society’s history. In addition to cancer prevention, Dr. Wender’s clinical interests include geriatric medicine, palliative care, health disparities and the establishment of bridges between public health, community medicine and primary care. 

As Chair of Penn Family Medicine, Dr. Wender succeeds Matthew Press, MD, MSc. Dr. Press will continue to serve as the Physician Executive of Penn Primary Care and as Medical Director of the Primary Care Service Line. 

In his new role, Dr. Wender will continue to see patients.

Elizabeth Howell, MD, MPP

Elizabeth Howell, MD, MPP, has been named Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine.

A graduate of Harvard Medical School, Dr. Howell received a Master’s of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and completed residency training at Cornell Medical Center. Dr. Howell also completed a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars fellowship at Yale University.

Dr. Howell’s academic focus includes the study of racial and ethnic inequities in maternal and child health, postpartum depression, and maternal and infant morbidity and mortality. Her research, which is recognized for shaping national policy, includes mapping strategies to reduce these disparities and the persistent gaps in maternal and infant mortality and morbidity among racial and ethnic groups. 

Additionally, Dr. Howell has served on committees for medical organizations like the National Institutes of Health, and publications like the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dr. Howell succeeds Deborah Driscoll, MD, who now serves as Vice Dean for Professional Services at the Perelman School of Medicine and Senior Vice President of the Clinical Practices of the University of Pennsylvania. 

Dr. Howell will capitalize on the department’s strong foundation in clinical care, research, and teaching to advance science in women’s health, create partnerships with the community to enhance equity and optimize care delivery to underserved populations, and create an environment that supports clinicians, researchers, and educators to optimize productivity and wellness. 

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The Penn Physician Blog is a resource for health care professionals featuring Penn Medicine physicians and their research, innovations, programs and events. 

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