Nanette Wenger, MD, professor of medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, and chief of cardiology at Grady Memorial Hospital, and Flavia Mercado, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine and medical director of Multicultural Affairs at Grady Health System, are two of the 330 physicians featured in "Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America's Women Physicians," a multimedia traveling exhibit that honors the lives and achievements of women in medicine, past and present.
The exhibit is sponsored by Emory University's Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Library, the Morehouse School of Medicine Library, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Information Center. The interactive exhibit is open until June 16, Mondays - Fridays from 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. at the CDC's Tom Harkin Global Communications Center at 1600 Clifton Road. Admission is free.
The exhibit, which is made possible by the National Library of Medicine, chronicles the initial struggles of women to attend medical school, their campaign for additional professional training and other opportunities, and their many unique and groundbreaking accomplishments throughout the years. The exhibit's website is www.nlm.nih.gov/changingthefaceofmedicine. Visitors at the exhibit will have the opportunity to browse through photographs, search the physician database, watch a series of short films, and review resources for planning a career in medicine.
Dr. Wenger was selected for the exhibition based on her research and advocacy work involving the study of heart disease in women. Prior to Dr. Wenger's pioneering research, heart disease was traditionally considered a man's disease, and little was known to guide the preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic aspects of cardiovascular disease in women. Over the span of her 50-year medical career, Dr. Wenger has received numerous awards and distinctions and has also authored or co-authored more than 1,200 articles.
Dr. Mercado was chosen based upon her involvement with the National Hispanic Medical Association and her passion to improve health care access to Latino families. Dr. Mercado is a bilingual physician and educator and is a pediatrician at Lindbergh Women and Children's Health Center of Grady Health System and at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes Spalding. As part of her practice, she teaches medical students and residents cultural competency, which instills awareness and respect for patients' cultural differences. In 2003, she helped established a clinic for Latino pediatric patients at Hughes Spalding.
Dr. Wenger and Dr. Mercado say they are both honored to participate in the exhibit.
"I am deeply honored to have been selected for this landmark exhibit," Dr. Wenger says. "I am enormously proud that my contributions in research, in teaching, in clinical care, and in advocacy have broadened the spectrum of information available to guide the clinical care of women with cardiovascular disease - and that this effort is one that continues to expand."
Dr. Mercado says she is equally honored to participate in the exhibit. "I am very proud and honored to be part of this group of outstanding women," Dr. Mercado says. "This exhibit is a documentary about the lives and contributions of female doctors. Much of it is women's history, their struggles, and their pursuit of medicine. It is wonderful and so important that women's accomplishments are being considered and celebrated."
Both Dr. Wenger and Dr. Mercado say the exhibit is particularly important because it highlights the need for more female physicians to serve as mentors in the medical profession.
"The lack of female role models and female mentors has prompted my intense and continued involvement in mentoring both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels - and advocacy of such mentoring both for women and for men," Dr. Wenger says.
The Institutes of Health/National Library of Medicine first introduced the "Changing the Face of Medicine: A History of American Women Physicians" exhibition in 2003.
Dr. Wenger received her doctor of medicine degree at Harvard Medical School in 1954 and began postgraduate work at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. In 1958, she became a senior medical resident at Emory and then a fellow in cardiology before joining the Emory faculty. She was named a full professor in 1971. She has served in major leadership roles on cardiovascular disease for the World Health Organization (WHO), and was co-chair of the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Conference on Cardiovascular Health and Disease in Women in 1992. She is listed in Best Doctors in America. In 1976 she was cited one of Time magazine's "Women of the Year."
She has since received numerous awards and distinctions, including the American Medical Women's Association's (AMWA) Women in Science President's Award in 1993. She was named the American Heart Association's Physician of the Year in 1998. In 2001, Dr. Wenger received the R. Bruce Logue Award for Excellence in Medicine by the American Heart Association and the Distinguished Fellow Award of the Society of Geriatric Cardiology in 2002.
In 2004, Dr. Wenger also received the Gold Heart Award, the highest award of the American Heart Association. In 2004 she received the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award, Emory University, and the Evangeline Papageorge Alumni Teaching Award, Emory University School of Medicine, for Outstanding and Dedicated Teaching.
Dr. Mercado earned her doctor of medicine degree from Emory University School of Medicine in 1988. She was an intern at Emory Affiliated Hospitals, then a pediatric resident at Children's National Medical Center at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She was in private practice in Maryland from 1991 to 1995 and served as clinical professor at GWU Medical Center before becoming a community pediatrician at Atlanta's Lindbergh Children's Center. In 2002 with her colleague, Dr. Inginia Genao, she cofounded a primary healthcare clinic that serves limited-English proficiency patients (mostly Latino families) in a culturally and linguistically appropriate environment.
In 1999, Dr. Mercado was selected for the Leadership Fellowship Program of the National Hispanic Medical Association. She was also selected to serve on the executive board of Cool Girls, Incorporated, a mentorship and educational program for young girls from impoverished backgrounds. Currently, she serves on the boards for the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA), Atlanta Women's Foundation and the Hispanic Coalition of Georgia.