Dr. Leana  Wen

Dr. Leana Wen

CNN Medical Analyst; ER Physician; Washington Post contributing columnist; Former Baltimore Health Commissioner; Author

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Dr. Leana Wen

CNN Medical Analyst; ER Physician; Washington Post contributing columnist; Former Baltimore Health Commissioner; Author

In-Person Fee Range:
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Why Book

  • 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 served as health commissioner for the city of Baltimore, where she led the nation’s oldest continuously operating health department to combat the opioid epidemic and improve maternal and child health.


Dr. Leana Wen is an emergency physician, CNN medical analyst, and op-ed columnist for The Washington Post, where she writes a weekly column 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 author of two 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.

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, treat violence and racism as public health issues, and improve maternal and child 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 at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and 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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Lessons from COVID-19 and Implications for the Future of Healthcare

CNN medical analyst Dr. Wen has been one of the nation’s leading experts during the COVID- 19 pandemic, called upon for her expertise by Congress, state and local governments, businesses, schools/universities, and scientific organizations. She can speak to the learnings from COVID-19 and what it has revealed about the need to focus on social determinants of health, public health preparedness, and care for the most vulnerable. She can then look forward to the future. What are major trends in payment reform, health workforce, and medical technology, and how will they, in the recovery from the pandemic, shape the future of public policy and healthcare delivery?

Mental Health and Well-Being

The stress that employees have endured during the pandemic will not vanish after the immediate crisis passes. Employees have been coping with isolation, dealing with loss, acting as caregivers, and struggling with childcare. Dr. Wen brings audiences a world of insights and understanding from her work as a practicing physician, former Health Commissioner of Baltimore, and chairwoman of a nonprofit addressing mental health and addiction. She shares personal experiences (including her own battle with postpartum depression and her experience as caregiver to her ailing mother), best practices on employee health and well-being, and strategies for developing resiliency. And she outlines for audiences a framework for incorporating mental and physical wellness practices into the office, home, and everyday life.

Reducing health disparities and striving for health equity

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 can speak from the lens of current events on how COVID-19 has unmasked existing disparities and specifically focus on innovative solutions that reduce disparities and improve health in the short-term, as well as long-term efforts to address structural inequities. Here, she draws upon lessons in her new 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, innovative 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 political

Dr. Leana Wen Reviews

“Dr. Wen was an exceptional speaker and exceptional to work with.  She was so personable and accommodating, and gave a fantastic talk that was well tailored to our audience.  A home run all the way around.”

— Executive producer of speaker series

“Dr. Wen is an extraordinary speaker. She is passionate about her work and compassionate with the audience she is addressing. Her knowledge and tone earned her some of the highest audience ratings of any of our conference speakers.”

— Healthcare trade association

“Dr. Leana Wen’s talk was met with enthusiasm. Her session was refreshing, inspiring, and offered practical advice for navigating public health issues. Attendees commented that they appreciated how she spoke both sincerely and authoritatively. Dr. Wen was the perfect opening keynote for our conference.  Her perspective, real life examples, and authenticity were truly a breath of fresh air.”

— Health professional organization

“Dr. Wen offered solutions to the audience for how they could address health disparities, that people at any part of their journey in equity work could find somewhere to start. She delivered her presentation and answers to audience questions with authority, authenticity and grace. With her overall equity framework and her scholarly knowledge on health care disparities, she was simply incredible!”

— Head of diversity, equity, inclusion for hospital

“Dr. Wen was incredibly engaging and a joy to watch.  She was very passionate and sparked similar desire in the listeners. We greatly appreciated how she tailored her content to the needs of our organization and the theme of the forum.  It was a great pleasure to work with Dr. Wen and
to have her as our keynote of our event.”

— Director of trade organization

“Dr. Wen’s keynote presentation was “spot-on”. She customized her content to meet the needs of our audience, delivered the current  facts and reality of the healthcare landscape, and left our group with light at the end of the tunnel. She delivered her presentation with passion and energy.”

— Director of hospital association


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