First annual Joseph A. Wagner, M.D. Memorial Lecture held March 3
Bryn Mawr Hospital’s Pennypacker Auditorium was the setting of a special
Medicine Grand Rounds on Thursday, May 3. Distinguished Professor of
Medicine and Public Health, R. Curtis Ellison, M.D. of the Boston
University School of Medicine, presented the inaugural Joseph A. Wagner,
M.D. Memorial Lecture. Dr. Ellison’s topic was the Role of Moderate
Consumption of Wine and Alcohol in the Prevention of Coronary Heart
Disease & Other Diseases of Aging. The lecture was
teleconferenced to Lankenau and Paoli physicians assembled in
auditoriums on their respective campuses.
In his remarks introducing Dr. Ellison, Dr. Henry Mayer, Vice President
of Medical Affairs, reminisced about his late colleague, Joseph A.
(“Joe”) Wagner, a member of the Bryn Mawr Hospital medical staff from
just after World War II until his retirement in 1995. Dr. Wagner passed
away in 2000.
The Joseph A. Wagner, MD Cardiac Education Endowment Fund was
established in 2004 by Dr. Wagner’s widow, Bernice, and her three sons,
Theodore, Robert and Jeffrey. It was Bernice and her sons’ desire to
honor their husband and father’s memory by creating a perpetual legacy
to support continuing medical education in cardiology at Bryn Mawr
Hospital. Numerous memorial gifts from members of the Wagner family,
former colleagues and friends have augmented the Fund’s principal, which
hopefully will continue to grow. Additional gifts may be made to the
Fund at any time. Distributions from the Wagner Endowment will fund the
eponymous lecture series on a bi-annual basis.
About Joseph A. Wagner,
Dr. Joseph Adam Wagner, affectionately known as “Dr. Joe” to his
patients and friends, was born in Philadelphia, grew up in Havertown and
graduated from Haverford High School. He attended Franklin and Marshall
College on a football scholarship and graduated in 1934.
He began his medical training at Temple Medical School and earned his
M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in 1938.
In December 1941, Dr. Wagner joined the Navy and served as a physician
aboard the aircraft carrier USS Langley in the South Pacific. He retired
from the Navy with the rank of commander and remained in the active
Reserves as a consulting cardiologist at Valley Forge Army Hospital.
After the war, Dr. Wagner joined the staff of Bryn Mawr Hospital. He
served as director of the department of medicine from 1967 to 1972 and
as a member of the board of trustees from 1970 to 1973. He was president
of the medical staff in 1970 and 1971. He was also a consulting
cardiologist at Pennsylvania Hospital and Methodist Hospital.
In the 1960’s, Dr. Wagner and five other physicians founded the Bryn
Mawr Medical Specialists Association and helped establish the Rush
Hospital in Malvern, later to become Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital.
Dr. Wagner was a clinical professor of medicine and associate professor
of cardiology at the University of Pennsylvania and associate professor
of medicine at Thomas Jefferson University. From 1967 to 1974, he was
the principal investigator of the Coronary Drug Project for the National
Institutes of Health. He published numerous articles on cardiology and
was instrumental in establishing a program for cardiac surgery at Bryn
Dr. Wagner retired from Bryn Mawr Hospital in 1995 but continued to
volunteer at a clinic in North Philadelphia several days a week. He was
also a medical missionary with the CARE-MEDICO program in Afghanistan,
the United Presbyterian foreign mission in South Korea and Project Hope
His affiliations with professional organizations included the American
Heart Association (president) and the American College of Physicians
(chairman and, in 1988, recipient of the Laureate Award).
About R. Curtis Ellison, M.D.
Dr. Ellison is Professor of Medicine and Public Health and Director of
the Institute on Lifestyle and Health at Boston University School of
Medicine. He is also a senior researcher at The Framingham Study, a
longitudinal study of risk factors for heart disease and other chronic
diseases that began in 1948. From 1989 to 2008, Dr. Ellison served as
Chief of the Evans Section of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology at BU
School of Medicine. He is best known to the general public for his
research on ‘The French Paradox’. This refers to the fact that the
French have a high-fat diet and other risk factors, yet have very low
rates of coronary heart disease. A large part of this protection is
believed to relate to the regular consumption of wine.
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.