Patient Care

Neurologist David Wang Stepping Down After Four Decades

Jun. 20, 2017
Dr. David Wang
David Wang, M.D.

 Neurologist David Wang, M.D. will retire after more than 40 years on the University of Rochester faculty.  Wang, who will retire effective June 30th, 2017, is responsible for helping establish the child neurology program at the Medical Center. 

“The pediatric programs at the Medical Center today which provide comprehensive care to any type of neurological disorder in children exist due in great part to David’s efforts,” said Bob Holloway, the chair of the URMC Department of Neurology.  “He not only helped build and grow these programs and train the current generation of providers, but was a stabilizing force when many of these programs underwent difficult periods.  David will leave an indelible mark not only on this institution, but also on the community and the lives of the many patients and families he treated over the last 40 years.”

Wang graduated from the National Taiwan University Medical College in 1969 and studied Neurophysiology at University of California, Berkeley, where he was mentored by Horace Barlow, a descendant of Charles Darwin. He conducted his residency and internship training at the University of Rochester Medical Center.  Wang has been a member of the URMC faculty since 1977 and is currently professor in the Departments of Neurology and Pediatrics. 

Wang’s clinical focus is child neurology specializing in epilepsy and from 1977 to 2001 was a member of a practice based at Rochester General Hospital.  During that time, he held a joint faculty appointment with URMC and taught medical students and neurology residents. 

He shifted his work to Strong Memorial Hospital in 2001 and was instrumental in helping build the pediatric neurology program at URMC into the leading program that it is today.   

In 2014, Wang along with two fellows he help train, Inna Hughes, M.D., Ph.D. and Laurie Seltzer, D.O., established the UR Medicine Pediatric Epilepsy program.  The formation of the program proved timely, as it coincided with the closure of a program in Syracuse which added 500 new patients with complex seizure cases to the program’s busy caseload.   The program draws patients from all across upstate New York.

Under Dr. Wang’s leadership, the program has participated in several clinical studies, including examining the potential benefit of medical marijuana on a rare and severe form of epilepsy, and has piloted the use of telemedicine in managing pediatric epilepsy within the region. 

He also routinely returns to Taiwan and mainland China to lecture on medical topics. 

Wang has long been a forward thinker in applying technology to education and care.  He was a pioneer in using video recordings of seizure patients to teach residents. 

“In today’s world we take video for granted, but when David started using it for teaching purposes it was a far more complicated process,” said Gary Myers, M.D. a contemporary of Wang in the Department of Neurology.  “He was one of the pioneers in that respect and for many of the residents he taught, it was the only seizure they ever saw.”

David has long been regarded as a physician who went above and beyond – for both his patients and colleagues – and as a beloved teacher by his students.  He is also someone who took pride in the accomplishments of others and was humble and often deflected praise.  

“David’s patients and families loved him and in many cases he has provided care to more than one generation,” said Jonathan Mink, M.D., Ph.D., unit chief of Child Neurology at URMC. “He is a remarkable clinician and is wonderful with children and I think for those families there will be a real sense of loss when he steps down.”

The Department of Neurology will be hosting a celebration of Wang’s career on Wednesday, June 21 from 1:00 to 5:00 pm in the Evarts Lounge in Helen Wood Hall.