Leana S. Wen, M.D., MSc., FAAEM, became Commissioner of Health for the City of Baltimore in January 2015. In this role as head of the oldest continually operating health department, Wen manages an annual budget of $130 million targeting issues such as the opioid epidemic, gun violence, maternal health, and lead poisoning.
The public health challenges in Baltimore are mirrored in other urban centers, including Cleveland. Baltimore lags behind the rest of Maryland when it comes to infant mortality, birth weight, and prenatal care.These figures are especially shocking given that Baltimore is home to Johns Hopkins Hospital, an institution lauded as providing some of the best medical care in the world, created with the express interest of serving neighborhoods in need by encouraging physician activism.
Since taking office, Wen has launched a campaign against sugary beverages, has pushed research on fentanyl overdoses, and created laws that offer addicts treatment instead of jail time. Perhaps her most recognized program is Safe Streets, a program that engages returning citizens with deep community ties in treating gun violence as a contagious disease.
What can Cleveland learn from Baltimore? Join us for a conversation with Dr. Wen as she shares lessons from the intersection of public health and physician activism.