2023 Wenger Award Winner Biographies


Emelia Benjamin, MD, ScM, FACC, FAHA
Excellence in Medical Research
Dr. Benjamin is a Boston University Professor of Medicine at the Chobanian and Avedisian School of Medicine, the Robert Dawson Evans Distinguished Professor of Medicine, and Professor of Epidemiology at the School of Public Health. She is an international leader in the epidemiology atrial fibrillation (AF). She has been NIH funded since 1998 on grants related to AF, vascular function, inflammation, mobile health, and chronic pain. She is a Framingham Heart Study investigator and a Boston Medical Center (New England’s largest urban safety net hospital) cardiologist. She is a Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher with an H-Index of 201, and she has published over 800 peer-reviewed publications.

Dr. Benjamin has Co-Chaired the NIH National Heart Lung and Blood Institutes’ (NHLBI) Atrial Fibrillation Working Group, which advised the NHLBI’s AF research agenda. She led the resultant white papers on AF screening (Circulation PMID 33493033), AF secondary prevention (JAHA PMID 34351783), and AF’s social determinants (JAMA Cardiol PMID 36478155). She has a multi-PI R01 focused on AF genetics and is Center Director for an American Heart Association (AHA) Precision Medicine AF Strategically Focused Research Network.

She has volunteered for the American Heart Association (AHA) since the 1990s and was awarded the AHA Gold Heart Award in 2016. For the AHA, she has chaired the Science and Clinical Education Lifelong Learning Committee, the Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Committee, the Functional Genomics and Translational Biology Council, and the Genomics and Translational Biology, Epidemiology Research Study Section, and served as Science Representative on the national Board of Directors. She was President of the AHA Boston Board.

She has a fundamental commitment to post-graduate and faculty development and mentoring of individuals who are from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, women, and early-, mid-, and established-investigators in epidemiology and academic health sciences. She has led diverse AHA research fellowships since 2013 and is a member of the Supporting Undergraduate Research Experiences Oversight Advisory Committee for diverse undergraduates. She is the inaugural Associate Provost for Faculty Development at Boston University Medical Campus (BUMC). She co-designed and co-lead the BUMC Early-Career, Mid-Career, Underrepresented Racial/Ethnic Group, Women’s, and Clinical Leaders longitudinal faculty development programs.

Dr. Benjamin has won national awards for education (Laennec Clinician/ Educator Lecturer, Council on Clinical Cardiology), research (inducted into the Association of American Physicians and the 2022 AHA Distinguished Scientist Award), mentoring (AHA Women in Cardiology, and AHA Functional Genomics and Translational Biology council), and diversity – the 2020 Alliance in Academic Internal Medicine Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award.


Gary Gibbons, MD
Excellence in Public Service
Gary H. Gibbons, M.D., is Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he oversees the third largest institute at the NIH, with an annual budget of more than $3 billion and a staff of 917 federal employees.

The NHLBI provides global leadership for research, training, and education programs to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, and blood diseases and enhance the health of all individuals so that they can live longer and more fulfilling lives.

Prior to being named director of the NHLBI, Gibbons served as a member of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council (NHLBAC) from 2009-2012. He was also a member of the NHLBI Board of Extramural Experts (BEE), a working group of the NHLBAC.

Before joining the NHLBI, Gibbons served as the founding director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute, chairperson of the Department of Physiology, and professor of physiology and medicine at the Morehouse School of Medicine, in Atlanta.

Under his leadership of the Cardiovascular Research Institute, Gibbons directed NIH-funded research in the fields of vascular biology, genomic medicine, and the pathogenesis of vascular diseases. During his tenure, the Cardiovascular Research Institute emerged as a center of excellence, leading the way in discoveries related to the cardiovascular health of minority populations. Gibbons received several patents for innovations derived from his research in the fields of vascular biology and the pathogenesis of vascular diseases.

Gibbons earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton University in Princeton, N.J., and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School in Boston. He completed his residency and cardiology fellowship at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Prior to joining the Morehouse School of Medicine in 1999, Gibbons was a member of the faculty at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., from 1990-1996, and at Harvard Medical School from 1996-1999.

Throughout his career, Gibbons has received numerous honors, including election to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences; selection as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Minority Faculty Development Awardee; selection as a Pew Foundation Biomedical Scholar; receipt of the American Heart Association (AHA) Research Achievement Award; and receipt of a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal (Sammie).


Malissa Wood, MD, FACC
Excellence in Medical Leadership
Dr. Wood completed her undergraduate and medical degrees in the combined B.A/M.D (Biology) program from the University of Missouri-Kansas City followed by training in internal medicine and cardiovascular medicine at  the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts where she served as Chief Medical Resident. Dr. Wood joined the staff of Massachusetts General Hospital in 2000 where she holds the Cathy E. Minehan Chair of Cardiovascular Disease in Women and co-directs the Corrigan Women’s Heart Health Program.

In order to better understand complex sex differences in heart function, Dr. Wood first studied cardiovascular adaptation to exercise training. Her group investigated the cardiovascular benefits of prolonged endurance exercise in non-elite and Olympic athletes as well as marathon runners.    This work has been frequently cited and described features of temporary left and right sided cardiac changes that occur after completion of a marathon.

In order to improve the clinical care of women and the understanding of cardiovascular disease in women Dr. Wood helped design and implement the Corrigan Women’s Heart Health Program in 2007.  Since that time the program has helped improve the cardiovascular health of thousands of women and their families through its clinical, research and educational efforts. Dr. Wood’s groundbreaking work on the HAPPY Heart study demonstrated the benefit of an integrated community-based model of stress management, health and life coaching and group health education in low income women.

Dr. Wood has made significant educational contributions devoted to raising awareness of gender differences in cardiovascular disease risk, symptoms and preventive strategies locally, regionally and nationally. Dr. Wood was a member of the AHA multidisciplinary SCAD writing group. She has led publications which have addressed the impact of social determinants of health on cardiovascular care, identified existing disparities in care has worked tirelessly to advance diversity in the field of cardiovascular medicine and was the co-editor of the textbook Sex Differences in Cardiovascular Disease which was published in 2021. She has served on the leadership council of the American College of Cardiology Women in Cardiology Committee. She currently serves as the Associate Chief of Cardiology for Diversity and Health Equity at Massachusetts General Hospital and has led efforts to improve recruitment of women and under-represented individuals into clinical trials.

Dr. Wood is a dedicated advocate for her patients and colleagues and has been involved in successfully advocacy efforts at the state and national levels.  She has served as  a Trustee and Secretary of the American College of Cardiology and has just completed her term as Chair of the American College of Cardiology’s Board of Governors.


Anahad O’Connor
Excellence in Media
Anahad O’Connor is a health columnist who writes about food and nutrition for The Washington Post’s Well+Being desk. Anahad joined The Post in 2022. Before that he was a staff reporter for the New York Times, where he spent two decades covering health and science. Anahad also spent time on the Times’s metro, politics and breaking news desks.

Anahad began his journalism career at the New York Times after graduating from Yale University, where he earned his degree in psychology, with a focus on neuroscience. Anahad started a popular weekly science column and regularly writes about the food industry’s hidden influence on scientific research. He was a staff reporter on the Times’s well desk, where he wrote about nutrition, sleep and behavioral health, among other topics. In 2018, Anahad was part of a team that won an award from the Association of Health Care Journalists for the groundbreaking investigative series “Planet Fat,” which examined the food industry’s role in the global spread of obesity. Anahad has written four books, including two bestsellers, “Never Shower in a Thunderstorm” and “The 10 Things You Need to Eat.”

He was born and raised in New York City and now resides in the Bay Area with his wife, Tiseme, a women’s rights lawyer, and their two children. Anahad enjoys exercising, cooking, reading and spending time with his family.


Stacey Rosen, MD, FACC, FACP, FAHA
Excellence in Medical Advocacy
Stacey E. Rosen, MD is the senior vice president for the Katz Institute for Women’s Health, the Partners Council Professor of Women’s Health and Professor of Cardiology at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. Dr. Rosen is a leading expert in the field of cardiovascular disease in women and oversees women’s health services at Northwell Health with a focus on the elimination of healthcare disparities through comprehensive clinical programs, gender-based research,
community partnerships and education.

Dr. Rosen has been a practicing cardiologist for over 30 years and co-authored the new book, Heart Smarter for Women: Six Weeks to a Healthier Heart published in 2022. She also co-produced her first documentary titled “Ms. Diagnosed” which premiered at the Cinequest film festival in 2020.

A longtime volunteer for the American Heart Association (AHA), she has served inleadership roles at the local, regional and national level. In 2018, she received the AHA’s Women in Cardiology Mentoring Award and in 2021, she received the AHA’s Physician of the Year Award.

Dr. Rosen is a graduate of the six-year medical program at Boston University School of Medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Physicians, and the AHA. She is a recipient of numerous media, industry and healthcare awards and is regularly called upon by the media as an expert on women’s heart health.
Follow Dr. Rosen on twitter @DrStaceyRose