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Leana  Wen

Leana Wen

Physician + Healthcare Executive, CNN Medical Analyst, Contributing Columnist, The Washington Post & Former Baltimore Health Commissioner

Biography

Dr. Leana Wen is an emergency physician, visiting professor of health policy and management at George Washington University, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. She is also a contributing columnist for The Washington Post, a CNN medical analyst, and author of the critically-acclaimed book on patient advocacy, When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests (St. Martin’s Press, 2013) and a forthcoming memoir, Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health (Metropolitan Books, July 2021). Read More >

Previously, she served as Baltimore's Health Commissioner, where she led the nation’s oldest continuously operating health department in the U.S. to fight the opioid epidemic, treat violence and racism as public health issues, and improve maternal and child health.

Dr. Wen obtained her medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine and studied health policy at the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She completed her residency training at Brigham & Women's Hospital & Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was a clinical fellow at Harvard Medical School.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Wen has received recognition as one of Governing's Public Officials of the Year, Modern Healthcare's Top 50 Physician-Executives, World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders, and TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People.

Dr. Wen lives with her husband and their toddler and baby in Baltimore. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Planned Parenthood & Fighting the Politicization of Healthcare | The Daily Show

TED: What Your Doctor Won’t Disclose

TEDx: Liberty, Democracy, Equity, and Justice in Healthcare

Improving the Public’s Health: A Conversation about Leadership | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Speech Topics

COVID-19 & the Future of Healthcare

Dr. Wen is one of the nation’s leading experts in the COVID-19 pandemic, called upon for her expertise by Congress, state and local governments, businesses, schools/universities, and scientific organizations. She can also provide an update on the state of the coronavirus outbreak that is tailored to the specific audience: for example, what are possible trajectories of the pandemic and the impact on businesses? What are lessons learned for cities and for public health preparedness? She also speaks to the future of medicine and healthcare: How will the outcome of the 2020 elections change the landscape of healthcare delivery? What are the major trends in payment reform, health workforce, and medical technology, and how will they, in the COVID-19 era, shape the future of medicine and public health?

Racial Disparities in Health

Dr. Wen is a leading national expert on health disparities. During the COVID-19 crisis, she was asked to testify twice to the U.S. House of Representatives on the unequal impact of the pandemic on communities of color. While she served as Baltimore's health commissioner, she reconfigured the agency to specifically focus on health equity and was among the first leaders to declare racism as a public health crisis. She can speak from the lens of current events on how COVID-19 has unmasked existing disparities and specifically focus on innovative solutions that reduce disparities and improve health in the short-term, as well as long-term efforts to address structural inequities.

Women in Leadership

Women, and women leaders, face distinctive challenges in the workplace. Trained in trauma/ER medicine and having been one of many “firsts” as a woman of color, Dr. Wen speaks from first-hand experience and from her professional research about the challenges and opportunities for women in leadership. These include advice for women about the “double bind”and “glass cliff”, such as owning one’s authentic identity and negotiating societal expectations. Dr. Wen alspo gives talks in crisis leadership, innovative leadership, and overcoming adversity. These include lessons from innovative leadership locally and nationally, drawing upon her background convening unlikely stakeholders around shared goals; leading collective impact, public-private collaborations in public health; and getting to points of agreement in turbulent political environments.

Wellness & Work-Life Balance

Dr. Wen has given dozens of talks to corporate audiences about employee wellness. One type of presentation is to employees on mental health and well-being, reducing stress, and simple things to improve health every day. She also includes patient advocacy tips including advice for those caring for children and older parents. Another type of presentation is for managers and HR directors. Dr. Wen has studied and implemented citywide wellness initiatives and corporate wellness strategies; she discusses best practices that improve employee well-being and productivity. She can also approach the topic from her work on the opioid epidemic and mental health crises—the “diseases of despair”—and speak in particular about what everyone can do to build resilience and incorporate mental and physical wellness routines into their work and home lives. Finally, she references both her own experiences negotiating dual roles as mother/executive and her research on women, parents, and caregivers in the workplace to speak about work-life balance in a changing environment.

Mental Health & Well Being