Dr. Leana Wen
Commissioner of Health
Dr. Leana Wen is quickly becoming one of the most recognized physicians in Baltimore – and her platform and plans are gaining notoriety around the country.
Wen became Baltimore’s health commissioner in 2015, and in that short time, has addressed issues like homicide, opioid overdose and the Zika virus. When 13 city pharmacies were damaged in the unrest after the death of Freddie Gray, Wen’s department put into place a medical action plan to ensure that residents, many of them seniors or vulnerable patients, received the medications they needed.
“For my entire life, I have been committed to inspiring change to tackle injustice,” Wen said. Now, she feels like she has an incredible opportunity to do that by leading the nation’s oldest health department to “champion progressive health policies.” Her greatest accomplishment, she said, has been launching the city’s opioid overdose program, which already has saved hundreds of lives.
Wen grew up in Los Angeles and studied at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She was an emergency physician at Brigham & Women’s Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and a clinical fellow at Harvard Medical School. Just prior to becoming health commissioner, she was an attending emergency physician and professor of emergency medicine and public health at George Washington University.
Wen serves on Baltimore Museum of Art’s board and the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee. She also volunteers with Starfish Greathearts, which serves children in South Africa who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS.