Leana Wen, M.D., M.Sc., FAAEM
Dr. Leana Wen, is an emergency physician, patient advocate, and public health leader. In January 2015, she began serving as the Baltimore City Health Commissioner in the administration of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to lead the oldest health department in the United States, formed in 1793. The Baltimore City Health Department is an agency with a $130 million annual budget and 1,000 employees that aims to promote health and improve well-being through education, policy/advocacy, and direct service delivery. BCHD’s wide-ranging responsibilities include maternal and child health, youth wellness, school health, senior services, animal control, restaurant inspections, emergency preparedness, STI/HIV treatment, and acute and chronic disease prevention.
When Dr. Wen was a medical student, her mother was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. As she helped her mother navigate the medical system, she experienced firsthand the disconnect between what patients need and what the healthcare system provides. She has since devoted her career to transforming the healthcare system through patient and provider education, consumer advocacy, and public policy reform. An immigrant who grew up in Compton and East Los Angeles, she is also passionately devoted to reducing disparities through public health leadership in community-based interventions.
Dr. Wen received her medical training from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Brigham & Women’s Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where she was a Clinical Fellow at Harvard Medical School. A Rhodes Scholar, she studied public health and health policy at the University of Oxford, and worked as a community organizer in Los Angeles and St. Louis. She has served as a consultant with the World Health Organization, Brookings Institution, and China Medical Board; an advisor to the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the Lown Institute; and as national president of the American Medical Student Association and American Academy of Emergency Medicine-Resident & Student Association. In 2005, she was selected by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to represent physicians-in-training on the Council on Graduate Medical Education, an advisory commission to Congress. In 2010, she served as Chair of the Young Professionals Council, a global leadership network of medical, nursing, and public health professionals
Most recently, Dr. Wen has been an attending physician and Director of Patient-Centered Care in the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University. A professor of Emergency Medicine at the School of Medicine and of Health Policy at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, she co-directed GW’s Residency Fellowship in Health Policy, co-led a new national collaboration on health policy and social mission with Kaiser Permanente, and served as founding director of Who’s My Doctor, a campaign calling for radical transparency in medicine.
In addition to her extensive scholarship in patient safety and transparency, Dr. Wen has conducted public health and emergency systems research in Rwanda, D.R. Congo, Nigeria, South Africa, China, Singapore, Slovenia, and Denmark. She has been published in numerous scientific publications including The Lancet, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Health Affairs, and British Medical Journal. She is a contributing writer for National PublicRadio, Huffington Post, Women’s Health Magazine, and Psychology Today, and has been featured in Time, Newsweek, ABC, CBS, NPR, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, among others.
The author of the critically-acclaimed book When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests, Dr. Wen has given four popular TED and TEDMED talks on patient-centered care, public health leadership, and healthcare reform. Follow @DrLeanaWen.