Recent News

Dr. Leana Wen Interviewed on Matter of Fact

Dr. Leana Wen was interviewed by Soledad O'Brien on Matter of Fact on Sepember 13, 2017 about the opioid crisis. WBAL-TV 11 Baltimore televised the interview live. You can view it here.

Leana WenOpioid

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Says Graham-Cassidy Health Care Proposal Is Detrimental to Nation’s Health

BALTIMORE, MD (September 21, 2017) – Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen today issued the following statement in response to the intended vote on legislation by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy that would turn federal health insurance funding into block grants.

Declare a true state of emergency (The Hill)

Several weeks ago, President Trump stated that the opioid crisis was a “national emergency.” To many of us in public health, it was a confusing statement. Just a few days earlier, the president and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price stated that they would not declare a state of emergency, claiming that emergencies are time-bound and resource-finite situations.

As an emergency physician and Commissioner of Health in Baltimore City — where approximately two people a day die from overdose — I can tell you that is not the case. Addiction is a disease, treatment exists and communities around the country are succeeding in fighting the epidemic.

Read the entire story.

 

Leana WenOpioid

BCHD Trains Residents to Save Lives on International Overdose Awareness Day

Baltimore, MD (August 31, 2017) – Today, Baltimore City Health Officials and partners highlighted Baltimore’s ongoing response to the overdose epidemic in observance of International Overdose Awareness Day, a global annual event to raise awareness of overdose and reduce stigma associated with the disease of addiction.

BCHD Interns Discuss Zika Virus with University of Maryland Baltimore Police Officers

Taylor Owens and Vernon Stepney, two BCHD interns who are rising juniors at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, conducted a Zika presentation to the University of Maryland Baltimore Police Depar

BCHD interns Vernon and Taylor present about the Zika virus

Public Health Heroes: BCHD Animal Control Officers Often Save Humans, Too

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, Animal Enforcement Officer Supervisor Hodge made his way to the courthouse to get a warrant signed regarding an investigation of a home where animal abuse was suspected of taking place. Officer Hodge and other Animal Control staff met with Baltimore Police Department (BPD) officers to go to the house to execute the warrant. After entering the house, the Animal Control Officers did not find any of the dogs. Instead, the officers found the floors covered in dog feces and trash and a rancid smell in the air. What appeared to be a vacant home actually housed a family with two small infants.

Note from the Commissioner: Innovative Efforts in Baltimore to Combat the Opioid Epidemic

This week, leaders, healthcare professionals, and other frontline workers from across the U.S.

Why the Trump administration is cutting teen pregnancy prevention funding (CNN)

Most teenagers feel uncomfortable talking about sex, but not 16-year-old Bryanna Ely.

As a youth leader for the Buffalo, New York-based teen pregnancy prevention program HOPE Buffalo, Ely talks to not only other teens but also adults. She explains how they can help teens when it comes to their emotional, physical and sexual health, abstinence and birth control.
"It's definitely made me more comfortable around health providers, because I was very nervous and not willing to talk about it, but then once I joined HOPE Buffalo, it's an easy subject to talk about. Well, not that easy, but it's easy enough to talk about that I don't feel so uncomfortable," said Ely, who will be entering her junior year in high school this month.
 
While volunteering with HOPE Buffalo at a local community center, Ely said, she remembered meeting another teenage girl, sharing sexual health information with her and feeling like she made a difference. "She took in all the information, and she said she would not get pregnant until she was 28 or 30," Ely said. "I joined HOPE Buffalo because I wanted to make a change in my community and make sure that these teenagers who didn't have a voice had a voice." Yet federal funding for such teen pregnancy prevention programs in the United States is now on the chopping block.
 

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Federal funding cut to teen pregnancy prevention programs will hurt Baltimore, health commissioner says (BaltimoreSun)

The Trump administration’s decision to cut short a grant program that would have spent $214 million to support teen pregnancy prevention programs will have far-reaching consequences in cities across the United States, including Baltimore. After the program ends next June, the city will lose the equivalent of $3.5 million in funding for a variety of programs aimed at curtailing unintended teen pregnancies. Another $880,000 grant funds research at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health to evaluate a program to reduce sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy among American Indian teens, City Health Commissioner Leana Wen called the decision shocking and “unprecedented.” “We have not ever received a cut to an existing program without explanation, and when the funds were readily available,” she said.

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An Assault on Efforts to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy (NyTimes)

With flimsy justification, and in small type buried in routine documents, the Trump administration has informed 81 local governments and health groups that it will end grants they have received to run teen pregnancy prevention programs, two years before the grants are scheduled to end. The decision is unsettling even by the disquieting standards of this anti-science administration.

The rate at which teenagers have babies in the United States fell by nearly 50 percent between 2007 and 2015, though it is still higher than in other industrialized countries. A lot of the credit for the decline belongs to health and education officials who have been coming up with new approaches to educate young people about sex and get them to make better decisions. One such effort was the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, created by Congress and implemented by the Obama administration in 2010. It provides five-year grants, in annual distributions, to cities, counties and health organizations to operate and evaluate public health programs aimed at teenagers. Funding for a second round of grants began in 2015, but it will now expire in 2018 instead of 2020.

The department that runs the program, Health and Human Services, made no effort initially to explain its decision, which was tucked into a routine grant letter earlier this summer. The decision came before Congress has even voted on appropriations for the next fiscal year, which begins in October. By cutting the grants short, the department is depriving recipients of about $200 million.

Read the entire story.

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