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VCU Pauley Heart Center

In Memorium - Dr. Mark S. Wood

Mark S. Wood, MD
Teacher, Mentor, Scholar, Researcher, Clinician

Dr. Mark Wood, MD

Mark Wood, M.D., professor of internal medicine and cardiology at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, died May 21, 2012 after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 54. Wood, who also served as assistant director of cardiac electrophysiology laboratories, was recognized internationally for his work as both a clinician and educator. He was honored in the fall as the 2011 MCV Physicians Distinguished Clinician of the Year. 

“He was known for his compassionate care. He never looked at his cell phone, or allowed himself to be distracted by other electronic devices when he was with a patient. He was completely and totally focused on them. He was a wonderful listener who made his patients feel that they were the only one that mattered,” said Ken Ellenbogen, M.D., Hermes A. Kontos Professor of Cardiology and chair of the VCU Division of Cardiology, Pauley Heart Center. “Dr. Wood’s philosophy of clinical practice was that at every encounter the patient deserves your undivided attention. He was known to say, ‘Sit down, listen to the patient and before acting, ask, is this what I would want for myself and my family?’ ”

Wood’s dedication to his patients also was evident as a pioneer in patient safety. He introduced his colleagues and trainees to a method of patient care that involved developing a “checklist manifesto” for performing clinical procedures. According to one of his colleagues, Wood instituted quality systems and processes that have resulted in an almost 0-percent procedural complication rate in the EP laboratory over the past 10 years.

“Mark touched countless lives in his career, and he will be especially remembered for the many high school students, college students, graduate students, house-staff and residents he mentored in his research laboratory,” Ellenbogen said. “He was the perfect mentor – encouraging, stimulating, warm and caring. He fostered many other careers in research and patient care. He was the true triple threat: an outstanding researcher, teacher and clinician.  Mark’s kindness and thoughtfulness were especially felt by all those who were fortunate to work with him on a daily basis. His warmth and dry sense of humor were cherished by all of us.”

Wood’s accomplishments include a long history of federal and private industry funding and authorship of more than 300 research papers. He also served as editor for five textbooks, and he was co-editor of one of the leading textbooks on catheter ablation of cardiac arrhythmias. His contributions to research are wide reaching and include seminal papers in both clinical and basic science.

As an instructor who was highly respected and loved by his students, he received the Clinical Cardiology Fellows Faculty Teaching Award several times, the Department of Medicine Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award in 2004 and the Outstanding Teacher in the Cardiovascular Course Undergraduate Medical Education Award from the second-year medical students for six years.

The MCV Foundation has set up a fund to support cardiology education in memory of Wood.


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