Leana Wen

Physician, Healthcare Executive, Public Health Expert, and Washington Post Columnist
Dr. Leana Wen Speaker
  • Dr. Wen is one of the nation’s most prominent public health experts, called upon by Congress and regularly featured on CNN, NPR, BBC, and MSNBC.
  • She writes a twice-weekly column for the Washington Post on public health and policy, where she pulls back the curtain on the mystique of medicine to meet patients where they have the greatest needs and bring to light the challenges of the U.S. healthcare system.
  • Previously, she served as Baltimore’s Health Commissioner, where she led the nation’s oldest continuously operating health department in the U.S.

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Dr. Leana Wen is a practicing physician, healthcare executive, and one of America’s leading public health experts. She is a columnist for The Washington Post, where she writes a twice-weekly column on medicine and public health and anchors the Post newsletter, "The Checkup with Dr. Wen". She is also a professor of health policy and management at George Washington University, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a frequently featured on-air commentator, including as a medical analyst for CNN and guest contributor for NPR, PBS, BBC, and MSNBC.

Previously, she served as Baltimore's Health Commissioner, where she led the nation’s oldest continuously operating health department in the U.S. to fight the opioid epidemic, address disparities and mental health access, and improve maternal and child health. She is author of two critically-acclaimed books, When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests and Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health.

 Dr. Wen obtained her medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine and studied health policy at the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She completed her residency training in emergency medicine at Brigham & Women's Hospital & Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was a clinical fellow at Harvard Medical School. 

 A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Wen has received recognition as one of Governing's Public Officials of the Year, Modern Healthcare's Top 50 Physician-Executives, World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders, and TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People. 

Dr. Wen lives with her husband and their two young children in Baltimore.

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Post-Pandemic Lessons, Trends, and Implications for the Future of Healthcare. Dr. Leana Wen has been one of the nation’s most prominent experts during the COVID-19 pandemic, called upon for her expertise by Congress, state and local governments, and featured daily on CNN, NPR, and PBS. She can speak to what the pandemic revealed about social determinants of health, mental health access, and health preparedness, then cover what major trends are ahead. What does the future look like for digital health and telemedicine? What innovations has the pandemic spurred, from AI to payment reform to behavioral health treatment? And what can be done to address rampant burnout among health professionals?

A New Day for AI and Healthcare’s Digital Revolution. Hear the perspective of a practicing physician and Washington Post columnist who is an expert on the digital transformation of healthcare. She will discuss the rise of telemedicine and digital health strategies that have enabled remote patient monitoring and at-home diagnostics and “hospital at home” treatment. She will also delve into the promise and perils of artificial intelligence in medicine, going through use cases of predictive and generative AI to explain how AI can improve diagnosis, personalize treatment, and reduces inefficiencies. And she will delve into potential pitfalls, the need for regulatory guardrails, and why digital fluency is so crucial for the healthcare sector.

Mental Health and Well-Being. The stress that people have endured during the pandemic will not vanish after the immediate crisis passes. Dr. Wen brings audiences insights from her work as a practicing physician and expert in addressing mental health and addiction policy. She shares personal experiences, strategies to combat isolation and reestablish connection, and best practices for employee health from around the world. She describes the often hidden epidemic of addiction, including to alcohol and opioids, and the growing need for education and regulation of marijuana and psychedelic usage. Finally, she talks about the future of work, and outlines for audiences a framework for incorporating mental and physical wellness and resiliency practices into the office, home, and everyday life.

Reducing Health Disparities and Striving for Equity: A Practical Playbook. Dr. Wen is a leading national expert on health disparities. During the COVID-19 crisis, she was asked to testify four times to the U.S. House of Representatives on the unequal impact of the pandemic on communities of color. While she served as Baltimore’s health commissioner, she reconfigured the agency to specifically focus on health equity and was among the first leaders to declare racism as a public health crisis. She upon these lessons, outlined in her book Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health, and gives specific examples of successful innovations that reduce disparities and improve equity.

Women in Leadership. Women, and women leaders, face distinctive challenges in the workplace. Trained in trauma/ER medicine and having been one of many “firsts” as a woman of color, Dr. Wen speaks from first-hand experience and from her professional research about the challenges and opportunities for women in leadership. These include advice for women about the “double bind” and “glass cliff,” such as owning one’s authentic identity and negotiating societal expectations. Dr. Wen also gives talks in crisis leadership and overcoming adversity. These include lessons from innovative leadership locally and nationally, drawing upon her background convening unlikely stakeholders around shared goals; leading collective impact, public-private collaborations in public health; and getting to points of agreement in turbulent and polarizing environments.

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