Leana Wen
Physician, Award-Winning Author, International Speaker

Dr. Leana Wen is a Harvard-educated emergency physician, Rhodes Scholar, best-selling author, and TED speaker.


Dr. Wen was a medical student at Washington University when her mother was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. As she helped her mother navigate the medical system, she saw how disconnected doctors and patients had become and how disempowering our health system could be. Noting how physicians are steered onto predefined, “cookbook” pathways away from the patient’s experience, Wen decided to devote her career to transforming the healthcare system by advocating for the individualized care patients deserve.


A speaker with three TED talks on diverse topics in health and education, Dr. Wen is the author of the best-selling book on the importance of patient advocacy in healthcare reform, When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests.


Dr. Leana Wen received her medical training from Washington University and Brigham & Women’s Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was a Clinical Fellow at Harvard Medical School. A Rhodes Scholar, she also studied health policy and economics at the University of Oxford. She has served as a consultant with the World Health Organization and the Brookings Institution; an advisor to the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the Lown Institute; and as national president of the American Medical Student Association. In 2007, she was selected by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to represent physicians-in-training on the Council on Graduate Medical Education, an advisory commission to Congress.


Today, she is a practicing attending physician and Director of Patient-Centered Care in the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University. A professor of emergency medicine and health policy, she is one of the founding directors of a new national collaboration on health policy and social mission, as well as the founder and director of Who’s My Doctor, a campaign calling for radical transparency in medicine. Since 2014, she has served as the Baltimore Health Commissioner.


Wen has been published in numerous scientific publications including The Lancet, The Journal of the American Medical Association, and British Medical Journal. She writes regular columns for National Public Radio, Huffington Post, Women’s Health Magazine, and Psychology Today. Along with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof, she reported from East Africa and wrote for The New York Times.


Dr. Leana Wen has been featured in Time, Newsweek, ABC News, NPR, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the award-winning HBO documentary Reporter. A professional speaker for ten years, she is sought after in the US and around the world, with annual engagements throughout Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Africa.

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When Doctors Don't Listen
How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests
St. Martins Press

In this examination of the doctor-patient relationship, Drs. Wen and Kosowsky argue that diagnosis, once the cornerstone of medicine, is fast becoming a lost art, with grave consequences. Using real-life stories of cookbook-diagnoses-gone-bad, the doctors illustrate how active patient participation can prevent these mistakes. Wen and Kosowsky offer tangible follow-up questions patients can easily incorporate into every doctor's visit to avoid counterproductive and even potentially harmful tests.

When Doctors Don't Listen Dr. Wen talks about why today’s doctors don’t listen and what you can do about it.
The Low-Tech Revolution to Health Care ReformBased Dr. Wen’s popular TED talk, this is how doctors and patients can bring back low-tech advances that will improve care and reduce cost.
Turning Fear Inside OutIn this talk that draws upon her experiences of overcoming a disabling speech impediment and her research into sickness and crisis, she uncovers surprising insights about facing fear and presents three tips for turning fear inside out.
Meaningful Patient Empowerment in the Era of Healthcare ReformHealthcare reform and patient-centered care are all the buzz, but what does patient empowerment look like? Dr. Wen tailors this talk to patient groups, hospitals, insurance groups, and more.
A Call to Action for Young People to Join the "World's Fight” Dr. Wen urges students to find and pursue their passion. She demonstrates how other young people have made a difference, and presents and action plan for each person to take action today.
How Can the Story Save Your Life?Dr. Wen talks about the art of the patient narrative, and how the story is critical to informing diagnosis and transforming policy
What Does Health Care Dystopia look like?Based on her research and a recent TED talk, Dr. Wen presents a chilling perspective of a dystopic world, and what can be done to prevent it.
Living with Chronic Disease: What You Need to Know to Get the Best Care from Your Doctor In this talk, Dr. Wen addresses the patient with chronic disease as well as the family member and caregiver. She provides everyday tips and discusses specific ways to improve interactions with your healthcare providers.
The Woman’s Guide to Healthy Living and Better Health Tailored to different groups of women, this talk provides practical suggestions that listeners can incorporate into their daily life to work towards healthy living and better health.
"My Body is . . ." Dr. Wen tailors this talk specifically to youth and women’s groups. Topics discussed include fostering a positive body image and connecting with your body.
Seize the World and Make It Yours! A talk to youth leaders about seizing opportunities and making a difference in the world around you.
Leadership Lessons from the E.R. Tailored to every group. Dr. Wen speaks about leadership lessons for youth, community groups, advocacy organizations, and corporate groups, inspired by real-life patient stories from the E.R.
The Future of Medical Education Dr. Wen speaks about medical education in the U.S. and internationally. Specific topics she can discuss include physician wellness, the training of doctors, and innovative approaches to educating future doctors.
Using Narrative to Improve Health and Transform Policy Dr. Wen talks to community, advocacy, and corporate groups about the importance of the story in improving your health and transforming policy. She also tailors this talk for both domestic and international health policy.

Dr. Wen on WBAL regarding drug overdoses in Baltimore

Leana Wen discusses the Baltimore Health Department‘s prestigious awards, sugary drinks for kids, and the opioid epidemic