Richard Wender

Senior Fellow

Richard Wender, MD

  • Professor and Chair, Family Medicine and Community Health, Perelman School of Medicine
  • Executive Director, Center for Public Health Initiatives, Perelman School of Medicine

Richard Wender, MD is Professor and Chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Wender also serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Public Health Initiatives (CPHI). Dr. Wender has dedicated his career to leading medical and public health efforts that strive to improve the quality of primary care, implement population health, and address social determinants of health in the continuous pursuit of equity in health outcomes. He spent the first 33 years of his career in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University, including 12 years as the Alumni Professor and Chair of the Department. At Jefferson, Dr. Wender and his team spearheaded innovative programs in geriatric medicine, palliative care, the patient-centered medical home, quality-based payment, refugee health, and community partnership. From 2013 to 2020, Dr. Wender served as the first Chief Cancer Control Officer of the American Cancer Society. His Cancer Control team launched a transformative national initiative to achieve 80% colorectal cancer screening rates in every community, a national and global campaign to increase HPV vaccination rates, and an enterprise-wide effort to help build healthier communities.

Dr. Wender has continuously advocated for the importance of preventive care and for the creation of an effective bridge between primary care and public health. As Chair of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable and a member of the steering committee for the President’s Cancer Panel screening initiative, Dr. Wender is helping to lead efforts to promote uptake of cancer screening services during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

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