Senior Vice Provost for Research Dawn Bonnell has announced the appointment of Richard C. Wender as executive director of the Center for Public Health Initiatives (CPHI), effective July 1, 2022.
“Richard Wender is uniquely qualified to lead CPHI,” said Dr. Bonnell. “He is committed to leading teams who share his passion for addressing the social determinants of health to pursue health equity and social justice. His career in medicine and public health has demonstrated his lifelong focus on primary care, population health, and narrowing health disparities. As we emerge from a public health crisis, this is a crucial moment to reinvigorate public health education, research, and practice across Penn’s campus “
Dr. Wender is a professor and chair of the department of family medicine and community health in the Perelman School of Medicine. Before joining Penn in August 2020, Dr. Wender served as the first Chief Cancer Control Officer of the American Cancer Society from 2013-2020 and spent 33 years in the department of family and community medicine at Thomas Jefferson University, including 12 years as alumni professor and chair.
As Chief Cancer Control Officer of the American Cancer Society, Dr. Wender launched a transformative national initiative to achieve 80 percent colorectal cancer screening rates, a national and global campaign to increase HPV vaccination rates, and an enterprise-wide effort to help build healthier communities.
The CPHI, founded in 2007, is a University-wide center that advances public health research and practice, fosters multi-disciplinary collaboration, and promotes meaningful community/academic partnerships. It also acts as the organizational home and academic base for Penn’s multi-disciplinary, inter-school Master in Public Health (MPH) degree program. Dr.
Wender succeeds Jennifer Pinto-Martin, the Viola MacInnes/Independence Professor of Nursing, who is stepping down after leading the center since 2013.
Dr. Wender earned a BS from Princeton University and MD from Penn and completed his family medicine residency at Thomas Jefferson University.