The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us
5139 Westlawn
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-8032; fax (319) 384-4638

Release: Sept. 26, 2002

Photo: Richard P. Wenzel. Click here for a high-resolution version of the image.

Wenzel To Receive Distinguished Achievement Award

The University of Iowa Department of Internal Medicine has named Richard P. Wenzel, M.D., a UI faculty member from 1986-1995, the recipient of its 2002 Distinguished Achievement Award. He will receive the award Oct. 3 in Iowa City.

Wenzel is chair of internal medicine at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond. He is internationally recognized as an expert in infectious diseases. His work has focused on the epidemiology of hospital-acquired infections, especially bloodstream infections.

"Dr. Wenzel is an extraordinary physician, scientist and mentor," said Peter Densen, M.D., professor and interim head of the UI department of internal medicine. "He exemplifies the values embodied by this award through his commitment, innovation and personal generosity -- the marks of a true leader."

Wenzel's contributions are acknowledged worldwide, Densen added. "His work has become an essential part of modern epidemiology," he said.

Wenzel received his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia in 1965. Following an internship year at Philadelphia General Hospital, he completed a medicine residency at the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore. Wenzel completed a year of fellowship in infectious diseases at Maryland, which included work at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Wenzel served as chief resident in internal medicine at the University of Maryland prior to accepting a commission as lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, Virology Division, at the Naval Medical Field Research Laboratory at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

From 1972 to 1986, Wenzel served as the hospital epidemiologist at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville.

Wenzel joined the UI Department of Internal Medicine in 1986, where he was professor of medicine and preventive medicine. At Iowa he served as director of hospital epidemiology and statewide epidemiology services, infection control and quality assurance. He also served as director of the department's division of general internal medicine, clinical epidemiology and health services research, and as associate chair of the department.

Wenzel was appointed chair of internal medicine at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in 1997.

Wenzel is the first editor-at-large at the New England Journal of Medicine, the editor of six textbooks and lead author of "A Guide for Infection Control in the Hospital," which was translated into eight languages for free distribution to developing countries. Wenzel is an author on 450 scientific articles and has received several awards for research and teaching. These include: the Abbott Achievement Award for Outcomes Research; the Humboldt Research Award for Senior U.S. Scientists; the Woodward Award from the U.S. Navy for vision and leadership in public health and preventive medicine; and the Bruce Award from the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine for distinguished contributions in preventive medicine.

In November 2001, the National Institutes of Health named Wenzel one of 10 "Great Teachers" identified in its 2001-02 series on "Contemporary Best Teachers."

The UI Department of Internal Medicine Distinguished Achievement Award was created in 1984 to honor individual faculty, alumni and friends of the department who have made significant and enduring clinical or scientific contributions in internal medicine. In alternating years, the award is made to individuals who have established careers away from the UI and individuals who are current or emeritus faculty at the UI.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at