Carruth Wagner, M.D., influenced the lives of countless people throughout his distinguished career. His dedication to public health improved the quality of life for generations of individuals.
Dr. Wagner was born in Omaha in 1916. He earned an undergraduate degree from then-University of Omaha in 1938 and a medical degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 1941. Dr. Wagner graduated from medical school with honors and was revered as the star of his class.
His medical career took him from coast to coast, continent to continent and even to the White House. Educated as a surgeon and later certified as an orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Wagner practiced in a number of Public Health Service Hospitals after World War II. In 1962, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Dr. Wagner was responsible for health mobilization in the event of nuclear, biological or chemical warfare.
Dr. Wagner served his country under four U.S. presidents as: assistant surgeon general; director of the Bureau of Health Services; chief, Bureau of Medical Services; chief, Division of Indian Health Services; and chief, Division of Health Mobilization. In 1965, he was appointed chief of the Bureau of Medical Services of the Public Health Service with the rank of Rear Admiral in the United States Navy.
Dr. Wagner retired in 2001 at the age of 84. He passed away on Nov. 25, 2002, in Sacramento, Calif.
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