'Public Health Saved Your Life Today. You Just Didn’t Know It.' (Governing)

For the second episode of "The 23%: Conversations With Women in Government," I chatted with Leana Wen, the health commissioner of Baltimore. Growing up as a Chinese immigrant in a rough area of Los Angeles, Wen quickly saw the ways in which public health impacts everyday life. These days, her mantra is: “Public health saved your life today. You just didn’t know it.” Her dizzying resume includes graduating from college at 18, a master’s from the University of Oxford and a clinical fellowship at Harvard Medical School. When Baltimore came calling in 2014, Dr. Wen was practicing and teaching medicine in D.C. RELATED NEW PODCAST Only a few months into her first venture in public service, Baltimore was uprooted with riots after the police-involved death of Freddie Gray. In this episode, Dr. Wen talks about how her office worked quickly to deploy various public health initiatives to get the city back on its feet. She also discusses her aggressive tactics against the opioid epidemic, which caught the attention of President Obama.

Listen to the entire podcast.

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Trump declared an emergency over opioids. A new report finds it led to very little. (Vox)

To much fanfare last year, President Donald Trump ordered his administration to declare a public health emergency over the opioid epidemic. “As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue,” Trump said at the time. “It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction.”

When I’ve asked experts about these approaches, it’s not that any of them are bad. It’s that they fall short. For instance, Leana Wen, the former health commissioner of Baltimore (and soon-to-be president of Planned Parenthood), said that the Support for Patients and Communities Act “is simply tinkering around the edges.”

Read the entire story.