November 10, 2003

Wenger, Mercado featured in NIH physician exhibit

By Holly Korschun

A new National Institutes of Health (NIH) exhibit at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Md., highlights two physicians from the School of Medicine.

Nanette Wenger, professor of medicine, and Flavia Mercado, assistant professor of pediatrics, are featured in the NIH exhibit "Changing the Face of Medicine," which honors the lives and achievements of outstanding American women physicians.

The interactive exhibit, which opened to the public Oct. 14 and will continue through April 2, 2005, features stories from a variety of women physicians, past and present, throughout the country and in a broad range of medical specialties. The exhibit 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 companion website is It includes a history of America's women physicians and educational and professional resources for those considering medicine as a career. Website visitors can add stories about outstanding women physicians they know.

Wenger 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. She received her M.D. 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, then a fellow in cardiology, before joining the Emory faculty. Wenger was named a full professor in 1971. Wenger conducts her clinical practice at Grady Hospital, where she is chief of cardiology.

She has served in major leadership roles on cardiovascular disease for the World Health Organization (WHO). In 1976 Wenger was cited one of Time magazine's "Women of the Year," and in 1999 she received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Scientific Councils of the American Heart Association and the American Heart Association's Women in Cardiology Mentoring Award. Wenger has had a longstanding interest in geriatric cardiology, and is a past president of the Society of Geriatric Cardiology and editor of the American Journal of Geriatric Cardiology .

As a bilingual physician and educator, Mercado teaches the value of cultural competency, which requires that physicians are aware of cultural differences and treat all patients respectfully, an ideal she instills in every medical student she teaches. Mercado is associate director of multicultural affairs at Grady and is a pediatrician at the emergency department of Hughes Spalding Children's Hospital. She earned her M.D. in 1988 from the School of Medicine.

Mercado addresses problems that arise from English-only health care providers delivering acute medical care to non-English-speaking patients. In 1999 she was selected for the Leadership Fellowship Program of the National Hispanic Medical Association. She also was elected to serve on the executive board of Cool Girls Inc., a mentorship and educational program for young girls from impoverished backgrounds. She serves on the steering committee of the Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia and is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.