Dr. Leana Wen is the Commissioner of Health for the City of Baltimore. An emergency physician and patient and community advocate, she leads the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD), the oldest, continuously-operating health department in the United States, formed in 1793. BCHD is an agency with a $130 million annual budget and 1,000 employees committed to improving well-being and combatting disparities through education, policy/advocacy, and direct service delivery. BCHD’s wide-ranging responsibilities include maternal and child health, youth wellness, school health, senior services, animal control, restaurant inspections, emergency preparedness, STI/HIV treatment, and acute and chronic disease prevention.
Under her direction, the Baltimore City Health Department leads the country in health innovations, including: B’More for Healthy Babies, a collective impact strategy resulting in a 38 percent reduction of infant mortality in just seven years; Vision for Baltimore, an initiative to provide glasses to every child who needs them; Safe Streets, a program to engage returning citizens and hospitals in treating gun violence as a contagious disease; and Healthy Baltimore 2020, a blueprint for health and well-being that enlists all sectors to achieve the ambitious goal of cutting disparities in half in ten years. Before her appointment in January 2015, Dr. Wen was an attending physician and Director of Patient-Centered Care in the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University (GWU). A professor of Emergency Medicine at the School of Medicine and of Health Policy at the School of Public Health, she co-directed GWU’s Residency Fellowship in Health Policy and co-led a new national collaboration on health policy and social mission with Kaiser Permanente.