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Board Spotlight: Barbara Wang, MD

Board Spotlight: Barbara Wang, MD

For more than 36 years, a doctor’s office examination room or hospital bedside was the place where Barbara Wang, MD, FACP, teased out the subtleties of patient diagnoses and family dynamics. Since her retirement in 2017, the forum in which she addresses healthcare needs has changed, but the reasons have not.

A protégé of the late John R. Mazero, MD, longtime medical director at Latrobe Hospital and the founder of the Latrobe Area Hospital Charitable Foundation (LAHCF), Dr. Wang has followed closely in his footsteps, first in joining Diagnostic Associates, the internal medicine practice of which he was also a partner, and now as a foundation board officer.

"I always enjoyed seeing patients one-on-one, both in outpatient and inpatient settings. There is a continuum between good health, illness, and recovery, and it is not always a linear progression," she said. "Having an understanding of how that pathway zigs and zags is an ongoing challenge for medical practitioners. Any discussion of the evolving environment of care needs to have that understanding as its cornerstone."

"Quality" has been a watchword throughout her career, and she has tried to pursue that concept in her various leadership roles. Elected by her peers as president of the Latrobe Hospital Medical Staff, Dr. Wang also served as a member of the Latrobe Hospital Board of Directors. Following the creation of Excela Health, she continued as a health system trustee where the guidelines and philosophy of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement provided a framework for her assignment as chair of the board’s Quality Committee.

She was pleased to serve as the Chair of the Department of Medicine and continue to work on quality-related challenges. As a member of the Excela Patient-Family Advisory Committee she joined a group from diverse training backgrounds to review and clarify ongoing projects. “That committee is such a valuable resource for the system, always working to improve communication and outcomes," she said.

The audiences have differed, but the end goal is always the same – access to high quality care.

Given her subspecialty training in geriatrics, Dr. Wang also has been a valuable addition to the board of Redstone Highlands senior living communities, joining her former Diagnostic Associates colleague John Parker, MD, in offering insight and guidance for meeting the health needs of older adults. Here her interests and her expertise dovetail.

Dr. Wang has always encouraged the support of family and caregivers to help achieve a desired outcome for her patients, advice she has taken to heart. She and her husband, Bill Kennedy, were frequent visitors to Redstone during the time her mother was a resident there. Now she is devoting much of her free time to caring for her grandchildren and watching them grow. “But the prospect of doing something meaningful for our community has been enticing, and I feel blessed to be able to participate in that as a member of the LAHCF board,” she added.

Given the demographics of southwestern Pennsylvania, determining how best to serve an aging population and assuring that high-quality, appropriate medical care is readily available will be a primary goal as she works to further a community-healthcare partnership.