Prior to joining the Planned Parenthood Family in November 2018, Dr. Wen was the Baltimore City Health Commissioner. In this role, she led the oldest, continuously-operating health department in the U.S., founded in 1793, with 1,000 employees committed to improving well-being and combatting disparities.
Under her direction, the Baltimore City Health Department led the country in health innovations and was recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials as the Local Health Department of the Year. Facing an unprecedented number of people dying from opioid overdose, Dr. Wen issued a blanket prescription for the opioid antidote, naloxone, to all 620,000 residents of Baltimore. This program saved nearly 3,000 lives in three years. Under Dr. Wen’s direction, the B’More for Healthy Babies program resulted in a nearly 40 percent reduction of infant mortality. She started Vision for Baltimore, which provides glasses free of charge to every child who needs them. Following the 2015 Baltimore protests, Dr. Wen began programs to deliver medications and improve food access to seniors. She expanded trauma and mental health services; secured funding for Safe Streets, a program designed to treat gun violence as a contagious disease; and led public health campaigns on vaccinations, childhood obesity, and racism as a public health issue.
Dr. Wen has fought to protect women and families from the Trump administration’s relentless attacks on basic health care protections. In March 2018, the City of Baltimore sued the Trump administration for cutting teen pregnancy prevention funds, which resulted in a federal judge ordering the restoration of $5 million in grant funding to Baltimore’s teen pregnancy prevention programs. She has fought Trump administration changes to the Title X program to protect funding for 23 health clinics in Baltimore providing reproductive health care for low-income women.
As a practicing physician, she organized thousands of doctors and health professionals against President Trump’s proposed gag rule, saying it fundamentally changes the nature of the doctor-patient relationship and will dramatically reduce the quality of care for women. Dr. Wen also helped to lead a lawsuit against the Trump administration for intentionally and unlawfully sabotaging the Affordable Care Act, jeopardizing health care for her city’s residents.
Born in Shanghai, China, Dr. Wen immigrated to the United States with her family just before her eighth birthday. She and her parents were granted political asylum, and they became U.S. citizens in 2003.
Dr. Wen graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Los Angeles at the age of 18, and earned her medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine before becoming a Rhodes Scholar. She obtained her Master’s degrees at the University of Oxford and completed her residency training at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was a Clinical Fellow at Harvard Medical School. During medical school, she was elected president of the American Medical Student Association and took a year off to fulfill her leadership duties, including leading 65,000 physicians-in-training to fight for universal health and advocate for reproductive rights.
Growing up, Dr. Wen, as well as her mother and younger sister, often relied on Planned Parenthood for health care. During medical school, she volunteered at a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis.
Dr. Wen has received recognition as Modern Healthcare’s50 Most Influential Physician Executives and Leaders and Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare. A Fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine and Academy of Medicine, she serves on the faculty at the George Washington University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In 2016, Dr. Wen was honored to be the recipient American Public Health Association’s highest award for local public health work. In 2017, she was named one of Governing’sPublic Officials of the Year and in 2018, she was named one of the 50 most influential people in healthcare for 2018 by Time Magazine.
Dr. Wen and her husband have a one-year old son, Eli.
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