||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (December 2015)|
|Alma mater||California State University, Los Angeles
Merton College, Oxford
Harvard Medical School
|Occupation||Physician, public health leader, writer|
|Notable work||When Doctors Don't Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests|
Leana Sheryle Wen is the Commissioner of Health of Baltimore City, a physician, and the author of the book When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests. Previously, she practiced as an emergency physician at George Washington University, where she served as a professor in the School of Medicine & Health Sciences and professor in health policy at the Milken Institute School of Public Health. Prior to this, she was an emergency physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was on the faculty of Harvard Medical School. She also served as the National President of the American Medical Student Association and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine/Resident and Student Association.
Early Life and Education
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, at age 13, and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry at age 18 in 2001. Wen then matriculated at Washington University School of Medicine. After unsuccessfully applying for the Rhodes Scholarship in 2005, she took a leave of absence from medical school to serve as the National President of the American Medical Student Association, becoming the first Asian-America elected to the position. That same year, Wen was appointed 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. Wen then successfully re-applied for the Rhodes Scholarship in 2006 and studied for an MSc in Economic and Social History and MSc in Modern Chinese Studies at the University of Oxford.
Dr. Wen trained as a resident physician in Emergency Medicine at the Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency. She was a clinical fellow and faculty at Harvard Medical School and practiced emergency medicine at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. She was one of the doctors who took care of the 2013 Boston marathon victims in the Mass General ER.
Dr. Wen has been a Global Health Fellow with the World Health Organization where she researched trade policies and access to medicines. As part of Win-a-Trip with Nicholas Kristof, Wen wrote a blog for The New York Times in 2007. Her travels with Kristof are featured in the HBO movie Reporter.
Wen writes a blog, The Doctor is Listening. She has been a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and Psychology Today on patient empowerment and healthcare reform. She is an advisor to the newly established Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, and is an advisor to the Lown Institute and the Medical Education Futures Study. She is the founder of a Who's My Doctor, an international campaign that calls for transparency in medicine.
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.
Dr. Wen has been featured on CNN, NPR, Fox News, and MSNBC. A regular blogger for National Public Radio, 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. Her TED talk on transparency in medicine has been viewed over 1.3 million times.
Baltimore Health Commissioner
In January 2015, Dr. Wen was appointed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to serve as the Commissioner of Health. In this role, she oversees an agency of 1,100 employees and $130 million annual budget with wide-ranging responsibilities including management of acute communicable diseases, animal control, chronic disease prevention, emergency preparedness, food service inspections, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, maternal-child health, school health, senior services, and youth violence issues. She has led critical efforts after the 2015 Baltimore protests, including in medication and food access and in mental health and trauma recovery. She has led implementation of the Baltimore opioid overdose prevention and response plan, which includes “hotspotting” and street outreach teams to target individuals most at risk, training family/friends on naloxone use, and launching a new public education campaign. She convened doctors and public health leaders to sign the Baltimore Statement on the Importance of Childhood Vaccinations and to successfully advocate to ban the sale of powdered alcohol in Maryland.
In the wake of the 2015 Baltimore protests, she directed the city’s public health recovery efforts, including ensuring prescription medication access to seniors after the closure of 13 pharmacies and developing the Mental Health/Trauma Recovery Plan, with 24/7 crisis counseling and healing circles and group counseling in schools, community groups, and churches. As part of her priority focus on community engagement and communication, the BCHD team has launched B’More Heard and #BMoreHealthySelfie campaigns, B’Healthy in B’More blog, and B’More Health Talks, a biweekly town hall and podcast series on health disparities.
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