Mayor Appoints Dr. Leana Wen as Baltimore City Health Commissioner

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Mayor Rawlings-Blake Appoints Dr. Leana S. Wen as Commissioner of the Baltimore City Health Department 

Dr. Wen will oversee the longest continuously operating health department in the United States 

BALTIMORE, Md. (December 5, 2014)—Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced her appointment of Dr. Leana S. Wen as Commissioner of the Baltimore City Health Department, effective January 15, 2015. Dr. Jacquelyn Duval-Harvey, who has served as interim health commissioner since May, will resume her position as Deputy Commissioner for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.

As health commissioner, Dr. Wen will oversee a wide-ranging department, whose responsibilities include the management of acute communicable diseases, animal control, chronic disease prevention, emergency preparedness, food service inspections, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD), maternal-child health, school health, senior services, and youth violence issues. The agency employs a workforce of more than 1,100 employees and manages a budget of approximately $126 million.

She joins the Baltimore City Health Department after having served most recently as attending physician and director of patient-centered care research for the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University (GWU).

Additionally, Dr. Wen served as assistant professor of emergency medicine at the GWU School of Medicine and Health Sciences and assistant professor of health policy at the Milken Institute School of Public Health; co-led the Health Policy & Social Mission Collaboration between Kaiser Permanente and GWU; and served as founding director for "Who's My Doctor?" —a campaign focused on increasing transparency in health care. She has also conducted public health and emergency systems research in Rwanda, D.R. Congo, Nigeria, South Africa, China, Singapore, Slovenia, and Denmark, including with the World Health Organization and China Medical Board.

"Dr. Wen's tenacious passion for creating safer, more transparent health systems is exactly the kind of leadership I want guiding the Baltimore City Health Department," said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. "I am excited to have Leana join my administration, and I look forward to working with her to make Baltimore a city where all residents have the knowledge and access they need to realize healthier lives."

In addition to her medical practice and public health leadership, Dr. Wen is a patient advocate and community activist. She has given four popular TED and TEDMED talks, and is the author of the critically-acclaimed book, When Doctors Don't Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests. Dr. Wen has been featured in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time and Newsweek magazines, and on ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, and MSNBC. She is a regular contributor to National Public Radio, Huffington Post, Women's Health Magazine, and Psychology Today.

Dr. Wen earned a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from California State University, Los Angeles. She received her medical training from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and at Brigham & Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where she was a Clinical Fellow at Harvard Medical School. A Rhodes Scholar, Dr. Wen has studied public health and health policy at the University of Oxford, served as national president of the American Medical Student Association, and worked as a community organizer in Los Angeles and St. Louis.

Dr. Wen has received numerous awards, including the Davis Putter Prize for Peace and Justice, and the Phi Kappa Phi Lifetime Achievement Award. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine.

"I am honored to work with Mayor Rawlings-Blake and other city leaders to tackle public health and health literacy as core social justice issues," said Dr. Wen. "From preventing diseases to ensuring healthy choices at school, home, and work, we will use innovative, evidence-based, and people-centered approaches to protect and advocate for the health of all Baltimoreans."

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