Norma Wagoner
Norma Wagoner and Kalie Petefish

Norma Wagoner, PhD

Senior Instructor, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology

During much of the past 50 years, Dr. Norma Wagoner has been a leader and change agent with an interest in tackling barriers that challenge medical students’ personal and professional development. Seeking positive changes for the students has always been central to her value system. She has worked in a broad range of areas throughout medical education.

Educated in anatomy at Washington University School of Medicine, she began her career in Chicago at Rush Medical College where she both taught anatomy and served as the assistant dean of admissions. Recruited to Cincinnati’s College of Medicine for the next 10 years, she had oversight responsibility for all the student affairs and educational programs, along with teaching anatomy. Teaching medical students has always been important to Dr. Wagoner, first because she loved anatomy and second, it gave her the personal contact in learning directly from students what the greatest barriers were that they were experiencing at the time.

Recruited to University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine as the Dean of Students and Professor of Anatomy, she spent the next 14 years there. “Retiring” for two months, she joined the University of Colorado School of Medicine, where she has been on the faculty for the past 20 years.

During her many years in medical schools, Dr. Wagoner held numerous national positions. A few of these include, chair of the National Residency Match Program (NRMP), chair of several committees for the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), chair of the Graduate and Professional Financial Aid Council (GAPFAC). Dr. Wagoner, with her colleague Dr. Suriano wrote and published the seminal article that gave rise to the Electronic Residency Application process for the NRMP. During her tenure on the NRMP board of directors, she helped lay the groundwork for the subsequent implementation of the second match. She was honored by the AAMC Group on Student Affairs with its 1st annual award for Exemplary Service. Active in helping schools prepare for their accreditation visits, she served as a mock site visitor to many medical schools in the US. Dr. Wagoner wrote and lectured widely. She was known for her work with residency program directors in identifying the most important selection variables, a document widely used by students in better understanding the residency selection process. Dr. Wagoner received the AAMC’s History Maker Award for her role in helping to establish the office of Women in Medicine at the AAMC. In 2002, she became the national director for the Gold Humanism Honor Society, a position which she held for five years.

Dr. Wagoner completed teaching anatomy in 2019 at Colorado but has continued to counsel Masters of Modern Human Anatomy students who are seeking to enter medical school. By her calculations, she has failed retirement four times.

Master of Science in Modern Human Anatomy

CU Anschutz

Fitzsimons Building

13001 East 17th Place


Aurora, CO 80045

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