Clinical Professors

Peggy J. Wagner, Ph.D.

Clinical Professor (Emeritus effective January 2017)
Department of Biomedical Sciences
School of Medicine Greenville
University of South Carolina

Clinical Professor, Retired
Department of Family Medicine
Medical College of Georgia
Augusta University


Who is Dr. Wagner?

With an emphasis in social and health psychology, Dr. Wagner’s career has focused on incorporating behavioral, social and population health sciences into medical education and health sciences research.  Her particular interests in teaching include patient-physician communication, cognitive dispositions to respond and resultant bias, cultural competency, health disparities and evidence-based practice.  Her research interests focus on patient perspectives of health care and strategies to increase patient participation in health, communication and the use of health technology solutions.  Dr. Wagner’s quantitative and qualitative research skills and psychology background assisted her as lead of the patient-centered portfolio of the Institute for the Advancement of Health Care, a research collaborative between the Prisma Health–Upstate, Clemson University, the University of South Carolina, and Furman University for 5 years.  In that capacity, she was involved in re-engineering the discharge process on the Prisma Health–Upstate pulmonology unit (Project Red) and served as the local PI at one of the 5 hospitals nationally to study the implementation of a Guide to Patient and Family Engagement in Hospital Quality and Safety developed by the American Institute for Research in conjunction with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.  Dr. Wagner currently serves as Director of the Prisma Health–Upstate Patient Engagement Studio to develop a purposeful strategy for patient engagement in research and to enhance the patient experience of care across the system. Now retired from two medical schools, her intention is to continue to find ways to empower patients to be effective in their use of health and health care systems.

For more information, see her Curriculum Vitae.

How Dr. Wagner’s research is transforming health care

Dr. Wagner’s research is transformative in two areas:  patient-centered care and applications of health technology. Her major contribution is a consistent focus on how to improve patient-centered care in clinical practice, in measurement of outcomes, and how to promote this kind of care delivery to physicians-in-training.  Early in her career, funded by NIMH, Dr. Wagner examined patient and physician differences in criteria used for defining “appropriate” care-seeking behavior.  Subsequently, she has studied patient perspectives of alcoholism treatment, abuse against women, decisions to use alternative therapies and the experience of headaches and care. She has involved patients in research as observers of patient-centered medical rounds, patient perspectives of patient portals, and how patients “listen” to behavioral, lifestyle recommendations.  In her current position, Dr. Wagner is building a Patient Engagement Studio so that patients have a voice in development of research and care delivery improvements.  A second transformative area is the application of health technology to maximize patient empowerment and self-care and to effectively teach care delivery to physicians.  This work has ranged from a large-scale trial examining how personal health records can reduce blood pressure in patients with hypertension to using virtual reality strategies as teaching methods, to developing clinical dashboards with real-time feedback to practicing physicians.  Recent Clemson collaborations have included work with Dr. Cheryl Dye at Clemson in dementia research, serving as a mentor in patient engagement research for Dr. Lingling Zhang, and evaluating a community health intervention funded by PCORI with Dr. Shirley Timmons.

News and media related to Dr. Wagner’s research:

Key Health Research Interest Areas

Patient Engagement, Health Technology, Physician-Patient and Health System Communication, Health Disparities, Emotional Intelligence