News Release: School of Medicine

Nov. 24,  2009

Nanette Wenger, MD, Receives American College of Cardiology Lifetime Achievement Award

The American College of Cardiology Georgia Chapter has given its highest honor to salute the legendary career of Nanette K. Wenger, MD, professor of medicine in the division of cardiology, Emory University School of Medicine, and chief of cardiology at Grady Memorial Hospital. The renowned cardiologist and women’s pioneer was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award Saturday, Nov. 21 during the Georgia Chapter American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Meeting.

The award honors an adult or pediatric cardiologist or cardiovascular surgeon who has provided outstanding contributions to medicine through patient care, medical education, teaching, research or community service as a member of the Georgia Chapter of the American College of Cardiology and whose lifetime of service deserves special recognition.

Coronary heart disease in women is one of Wenger’s leading clinical and research interests. A half a century ago heart disease was thought of as a "man's disease." Today, thanks to the pioneering clinical and research efforts of Wenger, it is known that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women in the United States accounting for 38 percent of all female deaths, more mortality than all forms of cancers combined. One of the main reasons for the disparity is heart disease symptoms can present differently in women than those in men.

"One of every three women will develop heart disease and in particular coronary disease in her lifetime, so it's important that we consider lifetime risks and not just short term risks when we try to prevent coronary disease in women," says Wenger, who helped write the 2007 Guidelines for Preventing Cardiovascular Disease in Women.

"I am simultaneously gratified and humbled at the receipt of this prestigious award from my colleagues of the Georgia Chapter of the American College of Cardiology, many of whom were my trainees at the Emory University School of Medicine," says Wenger. "To be honored for the profession I cherish, the care of the cardiac patient, teaching and research is the ‘icing on the cake’ for a career in academic cardiology,” says Wenger.

Wenger’s association with the American College of Cardiology spans over half a century. A native of New York City and a graduate of Hunter College and the Harvard Medical School, Wenger received her medical and cardiology training at Mount Sinai Hospital before coming to Emory University School of Medicine and Grady Memorial Hospital in 1958. Since then she has been a trailblazer and icon in the field of cardiology as author and co-author of more than 1,300 scientific and review articles and book chapters.

Wenger has chaired the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Conference on Cardiovascular Health and Disease in Women. She also holds the title of first woman president of the American Heart Association Georgia chapter and has served as vice present and executive committee member of the American Heart Association; Governor for Georgia, Secretary and member of the Board of Trustees of the American College of Cardiology; a member of the U.S. FDA Cardiovascular-Renal Drugs Advisory Committee; president of the Scientific Council on the Rehabilitation of Cardiac Patients of the International Society and Federation of Cardiology; president of the Interstate Postgraduate Medical Association of North America and board chair for the Society for Women’s Health Research, the nation’s only non-profit organization devoted to improving the health of all women through research, education and advocacy.

Internationally recognized as a leading authority on coronary heart disease in women, Wenger has accumulated dozens of prestigious awards throughout her celebrated career.

In March 2009, Wenger received the American College of Cardiology’s distinguished Master award. In 2006, she received the Hatter Award, an international award for the advancement of cardiovascular science. In 2005, Wenger received the Health-Care Heroes Lifetime Achievement Award of the Atlanta Business Chronicle. In 2004, Wenger received the Gold Heart Award, the highest award of the American Heart Association. In 2003, Wenger was included in the National Library of Medicine Exhibition Changing the Face of Medicine: A History of American Women Physicians. 

Wenger serves on the editorial boards of numerous professional journals and is a sought after lecturer for issues related to heart disease in women, heart disease in the elderly, cardiac rehabilitation, coronary prevention and contemporary cardiac care. She is listed in Best Doctors in America


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

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