Edward H. Wagner, MD, MPH


“Our models for transforming primary care both focus, quite appropriately, on patients. And they improve patients' health and health care experiences.”

Edward H. Wagner, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Director (Emeritus, Ret.), MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation

To reach Dr. Wagner, please contact Katie Coleman at Katie.F.Coleman@kp.org


Patients and health care systems worldwide have benefited from Ed Wagner, MD, MPH's commitment to transforming health care. Best known for innovations in chronic illness care, Dr. Wagner's work spans a range of topics in health services research and produces results that consistently enhance our nation’s capacity for health systems change.

Translating evidence-based methods of improving care into practice is the tie that binds Dr. Wagner's investigations in preventive medicine, geriatrics, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Another common thread is collaboration—between researchers and health care teams, between health care teams and patients, and between researchers at different health care organizations. Under his leadership, several projects, initiatives, and organizations aimed at improving care have sprung up and flourished.

Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute's founding director, Dr. Wagner established its MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation in 1992, launching a new effort to move advances in quality improvement research into practice. He and his team developed and disseminated the Chronic Care Model (CCM), an evidence-based framework for health care that delivers safe, effective, and collaborative care to patients.

The CCM is widely recognized for its capacity to guide health care teams in caring for chronically ill patients. Funded as a national program by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and led by Dr. Wagner, Improving Chronic Illness Care (ICIC) introduced the Chronic Care Model to a wide spectrum of organizations, with a particular focus on safety net practices. Over the past two decades, he and his colleagues at the MacColl Center have focused on promoting such efforts in quality improvement research to organizations serving safety net populations. Dr. Wagner also served for many years as principal investigator for the Cancer Research Network CRN, a National Cancer Institute-funded consortium of health-plan-based research organizations. The CRN is part of the Health Care System Research Network (formerly called the HMO Research Network), a larger alliance of health care delivery organizations with sophisticated research capabilities that he helped establish in 1996.

Dr. Wagner's professional service is extensive. Locally, he served as co-chair of the task force that led to the creation of the Washington Health Alliance, a regional multi-stakeholder collaboration committed to improving health care quality and reducing costs in the Pacific Northwest.

In 2007, Dr. Wagner received the Health Quality Award from the National Committee for Quality Insurance (NCQA) and was elected into the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, now National Academy of Medicine. A longstanding champion of patient-centered care, he was also honored in 2007 with the Picker Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Patient-Centered Care—for advocating that respecting patients' values and preferences be central to chronic illness care. He received the William B. Graham Prize for Health Services Research in 2011, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Community Health Centers in 2012. Dr. Wagner has authored two books and more than 300 publications. He is also professor emeritus of health services at the University of Washington School of Public Health.

Dr. Wagner retired in June 2017.

Research interests and experience

Recent publications

Siscovick DS, Weiss NS, Fletcher RH, Schoenbach VJ, Wagner EH. Habitual vigorous exercise and primary cardiac arrest: effect of other risk factors on the relationship. J Chronic Dis. 1984;37(8):625-31. PubMed

Wagner EH, Strogatz DS. Hypertension labeling and well-being: alternative explanations in cross-sectional data. J Chronic Dis. 1984;37(12):943-7. PubMed

Ricketts TC, Guild PA, Sheps GC, Wagner EH. An evaluation of subsidized rural primary care health programs: III. Stress and survival, 1981-1982. Am J Public Health. 1984;74(8):816-9. PubMed

James SA, Wagner EH, Strogatz DS, Beresford SA, Kleinbaum DG, Williams CA, Cutchin LM, Ibrahim MA. The Edgecombe County (NC) High Blood Pressure Control Program: II. Barriers to the use of medical care among hypertensives. Am J Public Health. 1984;74(5):468-72. PubMed

Wagner EH, James SA, Beresford SA, Strogatz DS, Grimson RC, Kleinbaum DG, Williams CA, Cutchin LM, Ibrahim MA. The Edgecombe County high blood pressure control program: I. Correlates of uncontrolled hypertension at baseline. Am J Public Health. 1984;74(3):237-42. PubMed

Schoenbach VJ, Wagner EH, Karon JM. The use of epidemiologic data for personal risk assessment in health hazard/health risk data appraisal programs. J Chronic Dis. 1983;36(9):625-38. PubMed

Schoenbach VJ, Kaplan BH, Wagner EH, Grimson RC, Miller FT. Prevalence of self-reported depressive symptoms in young adolescents. Am J Public Health. 1983;73(11):1281-7. PubMed

Broadhead WE, Kaplan BH, James SA, Wagner EH, Schoenbach VJ, Grimson R, Heyden S, Tibblin G, Gehlbach SH. The epidemiologic evidence for a relationship between social support and health. Am J Epidemiol. 1983 May;117(5):521-37. PubMed

Ricketts TC, Konrad TR, Wagner EH. An evaluation of subsidized rural primary care programs: II. The environmental contexts. Am J Public Health. 1983;73(4):406-13. PubMed

Sheps CG, Wagner EH, Schonfeld WH, DeFriese GH, Bachar M, Brooks EF, Gillings DB, Guild PA, Konrad TR, McLaughlin CP, Ricketts TC, Seipp C, Stein JS. An evaluation of subsidized rural primary care programs: I. A typology of practice organizations. Am J Public Health. 1983;73(1):38-49. PubMed




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