Leana S. Wen, M.D., MSc., FAAEM
Leana S. Wen, M.D., MSc., FAAEM
Health Commissioner, Baltimore City
Dr. Leana Wen is the Baltimore City Health Commissioner. An emergency physician and patient and community advocate, she leads the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD), the oldest health department in the United States, formed in 1793. BCHD 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.
Since her appointment by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in January 2015, Dr. Wen has been reimagining the role of public health as being critical to all aspects of urban revitalization. Her transformative approach involves engaging hospitals and returning citizens in violence prevention; launching one of the most ambitious opioid overdose prevention programs in the country that is training every resident to save lives; and implementing a citywide youth health and wellness strategy. Following the civil unrest in April 2015, she directed Baltimore’s public health recovery efforts, including ensuring prescription medication access to seniors after the closure of over a dozen pharmacies and developing the Mental Health/Trauma Recovery Plan.
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 (GWU). A professor of Emergency Medicine at the School of Medicine and of Health Policy at the School of Public Health, she co-directed GWU’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.
The author of the critically-acclaimed book When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests, Dr. Wen has given six popular TED and TEDMED talks on patient-centered care, public health leadership, and healthcare reform. Her TED talk on transparency has been viewed nearly 1.5 million times.
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.
In addition to her extensive scholarship in public health and patient safety, Dr. Wen has conducted health systems research in Rwanda, D.R. Congo, Nigeria, South Africa, China, Singapore, Slovenia, and Denmark. She has been published over 100 articles including in The Lancet, JAMA, and Health Affairs. She is regularly featured on National Public Radio, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, The Atlantic, USA Today, The Baltimore Sun, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.
Dr. Wen has been honored by the Daily Record as one of the 100 most influential Marylanders and by the Baltimore Business Journal’s “40 under 40.” She is the recipient of the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Dr. Elijah Saunders Trailblazers Award and the National Association of Health Services Executives Leadership Award.