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, 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.[1] 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.[2] She also served as the National President of the American Medical Student Association and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine/Resident and Student Association.[3]

Early Life and Education[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, at age 13, and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry at age 18 in 2001.[4] 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.[5][6] 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.[7] 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.[8]

Dr. Wen trained as a resident physician in Emergency Medicine at the Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency.[9] 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.[10] She was one of the doctors who took care of the 2013 Boston marathon victims in the Mass General ER.[11]

Dr. Wen has been a Global Health Fellow with the World Health Organization where she researched trade policies and access to medicines.[4] As part of Win-a-Trip with Nicholas Kristof, Wen wrote a blog for The New York Times in 2007.[12] Her travels with Kristof are featured in the HBO movie Reporter.[13]

Patient advocacy[edit]

Wen writes a blog, The Doctor is Listening.[14] She has been a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and Psychology Today on patient empowerment and healthcare reform.[15][16] She is an advisor to the newly established Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute,[17] and is an advisor to the Lown Institute and the Medical Education Futures Study.[18] She is the founder of a Who's My Doctor, an international campaign that calls for transparency in medicine.[19]

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.[20][21]

Dr. Wen has been featured on CNN, NPR, Fox News, and MSNBC.[22][23][24][25] 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.[26][27][28][29]

Baltimore Health Commissioner[edit]

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.[30][31][32] 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.[33] 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.[32][34][35][36][37]


  1. ^ http://www.gwdocs.com/emergency-medicine/leana-wen. Retrieved 17 January 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  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. ^ a b "Wen Takes Rhodes Scholarship for Return to Oxford". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Pharm Free Campaign History". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  6. ^ McDonald, G (6 November 2005). "Fighting the Freebies". TIME. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "Council on Graduate Medical Education". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  8. ^ Rhodes Scholar "Rhodes Scholar Video Blog" Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  9. ^ "Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residents". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "When Doctors Don't Listen". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  11. ^ Wen, Leana (25 April 2013). "Boston ER Doctor Finds Marathon Memories Hard to Shake". NPR. Retrieved 12 November 2013. 
  12. ^ Two For The Road New York Times Blog
  13. ^ Reporter: The Film
  14. ^ Goldberg, Carey (11 January 2013). "When Doctors Don’t Listen, and Hangover Leads to Spinal Tap". Common Health NPR. Retrieved 12 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "Huffington Post". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  16. ^ "Psychology Today". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  17. ^ "PCORI". Retrieved 13 July 2013. 
  18. ^ "Medical Education Futures". Retrieved 13 July 2013. 
  19. ^ "Who's My Doctor". Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  20. ^ "MacMillan". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  21. ^ Wen, Leana (2013). When Doctors Don't Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0312594917. 
  22. ^ "The Diane Rehm Show". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  23. ^ "Fox Morning Show". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  24. ^ "Doctor Treated Bomb Victims". Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  25. ^ "Are Certain Medical Tests Really Needed?". Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  26. ^ "Wharton Center for Performing Arts at Michigan State University". Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  27. ^ "Speaker Testimonials". Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  28. ^ "Low-Tech Revolution to Healthcare Reform". Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  29. ^ "What Your Doctor Won't Disclose". Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  30. ^ Wenger, Yvonne (15 December 2014). "New city health commissioner to wage campaign against substance abuse". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  31. ^ Wen, Leana (15 January 2015). "Why I left the ER to run Baltimore's health department". National Public Radio. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  32. ^ a b "The Atlantic: Working a million hours to heal a city". Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  33. ^ [1]
  34. ^ "Triage and Treatment: Untold Stories from Baltimore's Unrest". Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  35. ^ "Unrest in Baltimore: the Role of Public Health". Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  36. ^ "Prescription help available as damaged pharmacies remain closed". Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  37. ^ "Mental health help for residents affected by turmoil". Retrieved 17 July 2015. 

External links[edit]