Leana Wen

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Leana Wen
Dr Leana Wen Jan 2013.jpg
Nationality American
Education MD, MSc
Alma mater California State University, Los Angeles
Washington University
Merton College, Oxford
Harvard Medical School
Occupation Physician, writer
Notable work(s) When Doctors Don't Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests

Dr. Leana Sheryle Wen is a Rhodes Scholar, physician, and writer. She is author of the book When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests.

Currently practicing as an emergency physician at George Washington University, she is the Director of Patient-Centered Care Research there and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Health Policy.[1] Previously, she was an emergency physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, and on the faculty of Harvard Medical School.[2] She also served as the National President of the American Medical Student Association.[3]

Selected as the winner of Nicholas Kristof's Win-A-Trip contest,[4] she wrote for The New York Times on health and conflict.[5] She was elected to serve on the Council on Graduate Medical Education to advise the U.S. Congress on medical education and health workforce planning.[6] A regular blogger for the Huffington Post and Psychology Today, she is a noted patient advocate and public health expert. She is also a frequent keynote speaker on healthcare reform, education, and leadership, and TED speaker.[7][8][9]

Education and training[edit]

Wen was born and raised in Shanghai, China. Five years after immigrating to the U.S. not speaking any English, she entered California State University, Los Angeles as a child prodigy, at age 13, and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry at age 18.[10] She received multiple undergraduate awards and had the choice of eight fully funded medical school scholarships.[11] Wen matriculated at Washington University School of Medicine where she became a noted activist and student leader. In 2005, she was elected the first ever Asian-American National President of the American Medical Student Association by its 65,000 members, and led the organization to reform medical education and expand its PharmFree campaign.[12][13] Under her leadership, AMSA helped introduce three pieces of legislation in the 107th Congress and founded the Medical Student Disaster Relief Program in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Dr. Wen trained as a resident physician in Emergency Medicine at the Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency.[14] She was a clinical fellow at Harvard and practiced emergency medicine at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.[15] She was one of the doctors who took care of the 2013 Boston marathon victims in the Mass General ER.[16]


Wen's leadership awards include the Davis-Putter Award for Peace and Justice, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Institutes of Health Fogarty, National Security Education Program, and Global Health Fellowship.[17] At 25, she became the youngest recipient of the National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi lifetime achievement award.

In 2007, Wen was selected as one of 32 U.S. Rhodes Scholars.[18] At the University of Oxford, Wen read for the MSc in Economic and Social History and MSc in Modern Chinese Studies.[19]

International engagement and leadership[edit]

As part of Win-a-Trip with Nicholas Kristof, Wen wrote a blog for The New York Times.[20] Her travels with Kristof are featured in the HBO movie Reporter.[21]

In 2005, Dr. Wen was asked by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to serve on the Council on Graduate Medical Education (COGME) to advise the U.S. Congress on workforce planning and medical education issues. She was instrumental in writing the Eighteenth Report of COGME that called for the establishment of the U.S. Public Health Medical Schools, a new form of medical education that emphasizes primary and community health, that integrates public health and medical education, and provides free education in exchange for service.[22] This is a concept she had first championed during her tenure as the National President of the American Medical Student Association.[23]

Dr. Wen has been a Global Health Fellow with the World Health Organization. She also served as a consultant to the Brookings Institution and China Medical Board and led major international public health reforms.[10]

Patient advocacy[edit]

Inspired by her experiences as a patient and as a caregiver to her mother, who died of cancer, Dr. Wen began writing a blog, The Doctor is Listening.[24] She has been a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and Psychology Today on patient empowerment and healthcare reform.[1][25] She is an advisor to the newly established Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute,[26] and is an advisor to the Lown Institute and the Medical Education Futures Study.[27] She is the founder of a Who's My Doctor, an international campaign that calls for transparency in medicine.[28]

In 2013, St. Martin’s Press published her book, When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests. It is about how patients can take control of their health to advocate for better care for themselves.[29][30]

Dr. Wen has given talks throughout the U.S. and internationally on patient advocacy, healthcare reform, education, and leadership, including several TED talks.[9][31][32] She has been featured on CNN, NPR, Fox News, and MSNBC.[33][34][35] [36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Huffington Post". Retrieved 13 July 2013. 
  2. ^ Mallozzi, Vincent (12 February 2012). "Leana Wen, Sebastian Walker--Weddings". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 July 2013. 
  3. ^ Tanner, Lindsay (2 September 2013). "Forget Marcus Welby: Today's Docs Want a Real Life". AP News. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "Win-A-Trip With Nick Kristof". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Two for the Road". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Council on Graduate Medical Education". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "Wharton Center for Performing Arts at Michigan State University". Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "Speaker Testimonials". Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Low-Tech Revolution to Healthcare Reform". Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "Wen Takes Rhodes Scholarship for Return to Oxford". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  11. ^ "Cal State LA Commecement". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  12. ^ "Pharm Free Campaign History". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  13. ^ McDonald, G (6 November 2005). "Fighting the Freebies". TIME. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  14. ^ "Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residents". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "When Doctors Don't Listen". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  16. ^ Wen, Leana (25 April 2013). "Boston ER Doctor Finds Marathon Memories Hard to Shake". NPR. Retrieved 12 November 2013. 
  17. ^ Williams, Diane (18 November 2006). "Washington University student and recent alumnus named Rhodes Scholars". Washington University Record. Retrieved 12 July 2013. 
  18. ^ "32 U.S. Students Named Rhodes Scholars". USA Today. 19 November 2006. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  19. ^ Rhodes Scholar "Rhodes Scholar Video Blog". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  20. ^ Two For The Road New York Times Blog
  21. ^ Reporter: The Film
  22. ^ "COGME's 18th Report to Congress". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  23. ^ COGME Focuses on Access Problems in New Report to HHS, Congress[dead link]
  24. ^ Goldberg, Carey (11 January 2013). "When Doctors Don’t Listen, and Hangover Leads to Spinal Tap". Common Health NPR. Retrieved 12 July 2013. 
  25. ^ "Psychology Today". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  26. ^ "PCORI". Retrieved 13 July 2013. 
  27. ^ "Medical Education Futures". Retrieved 13 July 2013. 
  28. ^ "Who's My Doctor". Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  29. ^ "MacMillan". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  30. ^ Wen, Leana (2013). When Doctors Don't Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0312594917. 
  31. ^ "TEDxFoggyBottom". Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  32. ^ "TEDxuniversityofNevada". Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  33. ^ "The Diane Rehm Show". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  34. ^ "Fox Morning Show". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  35. ^ "Doctor Treated Bomb Victims". Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  36. ^ "Are Certain Medical Tests Really Needed?". Retrieved 7 July 2013. 

External links[edit]