“When doctors are willing to step off our pedestals, take off our white coats, and show our patients who we are and what medicine is all about, that’s when we begin to overcome the sickness of fear. That’s when we establish trust.”
Leana Wen, M.D., M.Sc., is an emergency physician and Visiting Professor of Health Policy and Management at The George Washington University, where she previously served as the Director of Patient-Centered Care Research in the Department of Emergency Medicine.
Dr. Wen is the former CEO and President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The first physician to lead the national health care organization with over 600 health centers and a presence in all 50 states in nearly 50 years, she worked to reposition it into a mainstream healthcare entity that delivers comprehensive care to vulnerable women and families and piloted initiatives in maternal health, mental health, and substance addiction prevention and treatment.
As the former Health Commissioner of the City of Baltimore, she led the nation’s oldest continuously operating health department in the U.S. to fight the opioid epidemic and wrote a blanket prescription on the administration of naloxone, a medication that reverses the effects of drug overdoses. The standing order aimed to prevent patient overdoses by allowing the medication to be available on demand to everyone with the proper training to use it.
An advocate for patient safety and empowerment, she founded the Who’s My Doctor campaign calling for total transparency in medicine. Her book When Doctors Don’t Listen examines the doctor-patient relationship and empowers patients to avoid misdiagnoses and unnecessary tests.
Dr. Wen serves on the Board of the Baltimore Community Foundation, Dean’s Council of the University of Maryland School of Public Health, and Advisory Board of Shatterproof. Previously, she was Board Chair of Behavioral Health Systems Baltimore, President of the American Medical Student Association, Chair of the International Young Professionals Commission, and Global Health Fellow at the World Health Organization.
She has been recognized as one of Modern Healthcare’s 50 Most Influential Physician Executives, the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders, Governing’s Public Officials of the Year, and with the American Public Health Association’s highest award for local public health work and fellowship in the American Academy of Emergency Medicine.
Dr. Wen obtained her B.S. in biochemistry from the California State University, Los Angeles, and her M.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. She then became a Rhodes Scholar and received her M.Sc. in economic and social history as well as modern Chinese studies from the University of Oxford.