Dr. Wigton steps down from associate dean position

by John Keenan, UNMC public relations | July 03, 2013

Image with caption: Robert Wigton, M.D.

Robert Wigton, M.D.

Robert Wigton, M.D., is more than the unofficial campus historian.

He's also, according to College of Medicine Dean Bradley Britigan, M.D., "one of the pillars upon which the history of UNMC rests."

Dr. Wigton, who is stepping down this year as the associate dean of graduate medical education, received his M.D. and residency training from the UNMC College of Medicine and joined the faculty in 1969. He will continue teaching and research activities.

A professor in internal medicine, during his career Dr. Wigton held numerous academic and administrative positions at the College of Medicine, including associate dean for graduate medical education (1976 to 2013), associate dean for academic affairs and chief of the section of general internal medicine.

As author of more than 150 research publications and book chapters, he is internationally recognized for his research in medical education and how physicians make clinical decisions in their practice.

He pioneered methods in computer-based teaching and was one of the first to show that computer-based training could improve diagnosis in actual practice.

He developed clinical decision rules to help physicians make more accurate diagnoses in conditions such as pulmonary embolism, urinary tract infection and respiratory tract infections.

Thomas Tape, M.D., chief of general internal medicine, praised Dr. Wigton's mentorship: "Bob advised numerous students, residents, and faculty members interested in developing their own expertise in the psychology of judgment and decision making. In the 1980s, he introduced me to the psychology of Egon Brunswik, a pioneer in judgment research, who developed methods of studying expertise by systematic observation of experts in their work environments. Application of these methods to various medical judgment tasks led to a long and productive research collaboration between Bob and me."

"There are some individuals whose names are synonymous with and will forever remain linked with UNMC and the College of Medicine," Dr. Britigan said. "Bob Wigton is one of those individuals. He has contributed in so many ways to the success of this institution over his five decades of association that it is difficult to list them all."

Dr. Wigton said he will continue his teaching and research activities, but he felt it was time to cut back.

"My conception of 'retirement' is to go back to doing all the things you have put aside," said Dr. Wigton, who has exhibited his work as a painter and will continue to explore the history of UNMC and the College of Medicine.


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John benson
July 03, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Congratulations, Bob. Glad you're not going away entirely; UNMC needs recall of the successes of the past, and few if any have your perspectives. John Benson

July 03, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Congratulations to Dr. Wigton on his retirement! I went to a few of his presentations on the history of the College of Medicine. He was so entertaining and knowledgeable about the subject. I remember telling my nephew who was a medical student at the time that he needed to go to one of the sessions. He found it very interesting also. Enjoy your retirement!