Galen Wagner, beloved cardiology mentor, has passed away

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Galen Wagner, MD, associate professor of medicine (Cardiology), passed away today after a protracted illness, announced leaders in the School of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, and Duke Clinical Research Institute.

Wagner first came to Duke in 1957. He earned a bachelor’s degree and a medical degree, and served as a resident under Dr. Eugene Stead. He later served as director of the Duke coronary care unit (CCU) and was a key member of the Myocardial Infarction Research Unit. As part of these roles, Wagner was on the front lines when the first computer was installed in the CCU under Dr. Stead’s direction in 1967 and the era of “computerized textbook medicine” began. Wagner also helped establish the Duke DataBank for Cardiovascular Disease and was a strong supporter of its use over many decades. 

"Like many others in Duke Cardiology, I regarded Galen as a dear and respected colleague whose love for Duke was unwavering and who remained committed to the foundations of academic medicine focusing on the primacy of research, education and mentoring," said Joseph Rogers, MD, interim chief of the Division of Cardiology.

Wagner also had a very successful research career, with a particular interest in electrocardiography and acute coronary care.

"He touched the lives of many of our current faculty and fellows, but his reach extended well beyond our walls.  He was a friend and mentor to countless trainees who sought his expertise and guidance as they crafted careers in cardiovascular medicine," said Rogers.

A prolific writer, he was the author of the Marriott’s Practical Electrocardiography 11th edition and Dynamic Practical Electrocardiography: A Virtual Clinic and Classroom, co-editor of Cardiac Arrhythmias: A Practical Guide for the Clinician, and editor of the Journal of Electrocardiology. He also was one of the first of the Area Health Education Center Attending Physicians; he spent decades traveling to Cabarrus County to teach and train staff members there. 

A reception for Wager is planned for Saturday, July 16, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at  at the Sarah Duke Gardens. The family will schedule a memorial service at a later date.

Duke University leaders have requested that all Duke flags be lower tomorrow in Dr. Wagner’s memory.