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Several pictures of doctors who are featured on the Local Legends web site

MEET LOCAL LEGEND: Theresa Ann Schlager, M.D.

Picture of Theresa Ann Schlager
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Theresa Ann Schlager, M.D.

“My goal is to increase the understanding of neurogenic bladder in children with spina bifida. There still is no cure for spina bifida, but it's a real privilege to work with these families and see their courage”


Rep. Virgil H. Goode, Jr



After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Theresa Schlager began working as a nurse, caring for migrant farm workers mainly on the West Coast. It was a transformative experience. "I knew then that medicine was what I wanted to focus my life on," she commented. "It made me aware of the need to serve the whole population, and of the responsibility we have to those who can't help themselves."

Returning to the University of Wisconsin, she took pre-med courses, graduated from medical school and then completed a pediatric residency at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, NY. It was the beginning of a career in medicine that has brought her national acclaim as a leader in pediatric infectious disease and the treatment of spinal bifida.

Professor of Emergency Medicine and Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Virginia, Schlager directs research focusing on pediatric infectious disease with an emphasis on urinary tract disease. She also is a member of the Emergency Medicine Research Committee, and helps direct the resident education research methodology at the university, as well as the Faculty Research Grant Program.

Nominated as a Local Legend by Rep. Virgil H. Goode, Jr. (R-VA-5), she is the recipient of the Department of Pediatrics Award for Clinical Excellence, University of Virginia (1996), and in 2001 received the Clinical Research Award from the National Bladder Foundation, International Bladder Symposium in Washington, DC. Rep. Goode, Jr. wrote of her: "She has used her career as an educator in Emergency Medicine to make a difference in patients' lives."

Highly regarded for her teaching at the University of Virginia, she admits, "I love teaching the medical residents. It's fabulous to see their growth and be involved in creating a good physician."

She is active in the University's Women in Medicine mentoring program and also serves as a Special Olympics Volunteer, a Child Protective Services Advocate, and travels on annual missions to Central America as a volunteer for the Save the Children program.

A colleague, Sabina Braithwaite, M.D. says, "She is a key figure in the Department of Emergency Medicine who has encouraged and empowered female colleagues, resident physicians, and medical students. Her role has been vital in education, research and patient care."

Her spina bifida research has made her a leader in the field. "There is just a huge need for work in spina bifida," she says. "The southeastern United States has the greatest population of spina bifida suffers, so I'm in the right place to try and help. These families and their kids show such strength and grace and live their lives despite all their medical problems."

"I'd like to be remembered as a good pediatrician and a good Mom," she says. "My family-my husband and two children are most important to me. In my work, I strive to be a good bedside physician, a good teacher and a clinical researcher who can help children with neurogenic bladder problems."



Appointed, Emergency Department Attending Physician, (Responsible for all Pediatric Patients), University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA


Appointed Pediatric Infectious Disease Consultant, Pediatric Emergency Department and Pediatric Outpatient Clinic, University of Virginia


Appointed, Assistant of Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Disease, University of Virginia


Appointed, Assistant of Professor Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics, University of Virginia


Appointed, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Disease, University of Virginia


Appointed, Professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Disease, University of Virginia


Recipient of Sharon L. Hostler, Women in Medicine and Science Award, presented at Women in Medicine and Science Conference, Richmond, VA




Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland



Sub Specialty

Pediatric Infectious Disease & Emergency Medicine