Dr. Leana Wen

physician, patient advocate, author, and speaker


Dr. Leana Wen is a Harvard-educated emergency physician, Rhodes Scholar, TED speaker, and author of the best-selling book, When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests (St. Martin’s Press, January 2013; paperback June 2014).

When Dr. Wen was a medical student, 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, Dr. Wen has since devoted her career to transforming the healthcare system. She wrote a book and has given TED talks on patient advocacy and healthcare reform.

Dr. 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 public health and health policy 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 and American Academy of Emergency Medicine-Resident & Student Association. In 2005, she was selected by the U.S. 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 the School of Medicine and of Health Policy at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, she co-directs GW’s Residency Fellowship in Health Policy, co-leads a new national collaboration on health policy and social mission with Kaiser Permanente, and serves as founding director of
Who’s My Doctor, a campaign calling for radical transparency in medicine.

Dr. Wen has been published in numerous scientific publications including
The Lancet, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Health Affairs, 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. 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. She has given four popular TED and TEDMED talks, and lectures around the U.S. and internationally on patient-centered care, public health leadership, and healthcare reform.

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