Dr. Gebhard Wagener is Physician of the Year 2021

March 24, 2021
Gebhard Wagener, MD
Gebhard Wagener, MD

Dr. Gebhard Wagener, physician-scientist and Professor of Anesthesiology at CUMC, is Physician of the Year, the Department of Nursing announced this week. The award is presented to select physicians, those who are most collaborative and courteous while working with their nursing colleagues. An award ceremony will be held via Zoom on Wednesday, March 31 at 3 pm.

The Department of Anesthesiology congratulates Dr. Wagener on this honor.

Dr. Wagener is an intensivist in the ICUs at CUIMC/NYP. “To be heard in an ICU does not depend on title or white coat but on knowledge and experience and good care depends mostly on a good nurse,” says Dr. Wagener. “I learned this to be true during my fellowship in the SICU and CICU when nurses helped me in times of crisis and confusion with complex patients.”


Who influenced you professionally? I am very grateful that I had Dr. Desmond Jordan as a role model and admired his relationship with the nurses––full of trust and caring for each other. I also enjoy working with my gifted colleagues from surgery and all the other specialties because they allow me to learn every day. 

Why did you take this career path? During medical school I worked in an ICU and decided that this was the place where I wanted to spend my professional career because there is no place in the hospital with less hierarchy.  

What is your advice to trainees? Be kind and listen. To everybody. Not only colleagues and nurses. Most importantly be kind to patients. Question yourself. And listen.

Do you have a favorite book? I don’t have favorite books or favorite children. I recently read Robert Caro’s biography of Robert Moses (The Powerbroker) and was impressed. And re-read Albert Camus’ The Plague and found solace in the times of COVID-19.

If you weren’t a physician-scientist, what would you be doing? I would want to be a photojournalist.


Dr. Wagener is a critical care anesthesiologist and scientist performing clinical research on lung, liver, and kidney injury. His current research concerns approaches to diagnosis and treatment of hypercoagulability in patients with COVID-19.