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Dr. Nanette Kass Wenger

Year of Birth / Death

b. 1930

Medical School

Harvard Medical School



Career Path

Internal medicine: Cardiology
Education: Teaching
Dr. Nanette Kass Wenger


I wanted to have the ability to contribute to the health and well-being of patients, to teach by being involved in the education of medical students and postgraduate trainees, to perform research, and to help generate new knowledge and new insights.


Heart disease has traditionally been understood as primarily affecting men. Nanette Kass Wenger, M.D., was among the first physicians to focus on coronary heart disease in women, and to evaluate the different risk factors and features of the condition in women and men.

Graduating summa cum laude from Hunter College in New York in 1951, Dr. Wenger received her doctor of medicine degree from Harvard Medical School in 1954, and began post-graduate work at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. In 1958 she moved to Atlanta to become a senior resident in medicine at Emory University. After a cardiac residency she got her first teaching position at Emory as an instructor and associate in medicine. Dr. Wenger was named full professor of medicine in 1971. She has also served as a consultant for the Emory Heart and Vascular Center since 1995. Conducting her clinical practice at Grady Memorial Hospital, Dr. Wenger was named director of cardiac clinics and director of the ambulatory electrocardiography laboratory in the 1960s, and in 1998 was named chief of cardiology. She is currently professor of medicine in the division of cardiology at the Emory School of Medicine, and director of the cardiac clinics at Grady Memorial.

Dr. Wenger has authored and co-authored more than one thousand scientific and review articles and book chapters. She also serves on the editorial boards of over a dozen national and international medical journals.

For the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Wenger chaired the Expert Committee on Rehabilitation after Cardiovascular Disease, co-chaired its Society of Geriatric Cardiology Task Forces on Heart Failure Education, Cardiac Rehabilitation Education, and since 1989 has served on the WHO expert advisory panel on cardiovascular disease. Dr. Wenger was co-chair of the National Institutes of Health National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Conference on Cardiovascular Health and Disease in Women in 1992 and has been listed in the Best Doctors in America each year since 1994.

Dr. Wenger was cited as one of Time magazine's "Women of the Year" in 1976. She received the American Medical Women's Association's (AMWA) Woman in Science President's Award in 1993 and the Elizabeth Blackwell Award, AMWA's highest award, in 2000. Dr. Wenger was named the American Heart Association's Physician of the Year in 1998. For her distinguished contributions in preventative medicine, Dr. Wenger was presented the James D. Bruce Memorial Award of the American College of Physicians in 2000.

Locally, Dr. Wenger has served as the president of Atlanta Hadassah, the Atlanta Bureau of Jewish Education, and the Jewish Children's Service. She has been selected as one of the ten "Leading Ladies of Atlanta," and has received the Hadassah's Myrtle Wreath Award.

Question and Answer

What was my biggest obstacle?

My greatest obstacle was inadequate time to do all as well as I would have liked.

How do I make a difference?

I make a difference by teaching, training, research, and patient care.

Who was my mentor?

My mentors were Dr. Herrman Blumgart, Dr. Louis Wolff, Dr. Charles Friedberg, and Dr. J. Willis Hurst.

How has my career evolved over time?

My career has taken on increasing interest in cardiovascular disease in women and cardiovascular disease in the elderly.