Leana S. Wen, MD, MSc, FAAEM

by Jasmine Batchelor

December 1, 2017

Baltimore City; ER doctor; TED Speaker; and Author, When Doctors Don’t Listen

Dr. Leana Wen is a Rhodes Scholar, TED speaker, and author of the critically acclaimed book, When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests.

When Dr. Leana Wen was a medical student, her mother was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. As she helped her mother navigate the medical system, she saw how disconnected doctors and patients had become and how disempowering our health system could be. Noting how physicians are steered onto predefined, “cookbook” pathways away from the patient’s experience, Wen decided to devote her career to transforming the healthcare system by advocating for the individualized care patients deserve. She wrote a book and has given TED talks on patient advocacy and healthcare reform.

Dr. Wen received her medical training from Washington University and Brigham & Women’s Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was a Clinical Fellow at Harvard Medical School. A Rhodes Scholar, she also studied public health and health policy at the University of Oxford. She has served as a consultant with the World Health Organization and the Brookings Institution; an advisor to the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the Lown Institute; and as national president of the American Medical Student Association. In 2005, she was selected by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to represent physicians-in-training on the Council on Graduate Medical Education, an advisory commission to Congress.

Dr. Wen is currently the Baltimore City Health Commissioner, overseeing the nation’s oldest public health agency. She was previously served as attending physician and Director of Patient-Centered Care in the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University, and is currently on faculty at George Washington University and Johns Hopkins University.

She is a broad thinker who, among other things, speaks to leadership in medicine, patient-centered care, transparency, transforming healthcare delivery, improving quality, improving patient-physician communication and relationships, health policy, medical education, fostering patient empowerment, promoting health literacy, population health, community engagement, and public health.

Wen has been published nearly 100 articles in scientific publications including The Lancet, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Health Affairs, and British Medical Journal. She writes regular columns for National Public Radio, Baltimore Sun, Huffington Post, Women’s Health Magazine, and Psychology Today. Along with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof, she reported from East Africa and wrote for The New York Times.

Dr. Leana Wen has been featured in Time, Newsweek, The Atlantic, ABC News, NPR, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the award-winning HBO documentary Reporter. A professional speaker for over ten years, she lectures around the U.S. and internationally on patient-centered care, public health policy, and healthcare reform. Her TED Talk on fear and transparency in medicine has been viewed 1.5 million times.