Cecile Richards has stepped down as president of Planned Parenthood, and she’s picked a brilliant replacement: Dr. Leana Wen! Learn more about the 35-year-old doctor, here.
Dr. Leana Wen, 35, is taking the reigns from Cecile Richards and leading Planned Parenthood into a new era. The emergency room doctor and public health official has a long history of fighting for reproductive rights, and she’ll continue to do so as Planned Parenthood faces opposition from anti-choice politicians like never before. Here’s what you should know about the incredible Dr. Wen, who starts at Planned Parenthood in November:
1. She became the Baltimore health commissioner in 2015. As health commissioner, Dr. Wen has been vocal about reproductive rights, especially in 2017, when the Trump administration cut some federal funding for teen pregnancy prevention education. Wen was understandably livid, as the teen pregnancy rate fell 61% in Baltimore from 2000 to 2016, she said in an April 2018 statement.
2. She’s a former patient of Planned Parenthood. Dr. Wen said that she relied on Planned Parenthood for healthcare while growing up, as did her sister and their mother. When she was in medical school at Washington University School of Medicine she volunteered at a local PP chapter! She said in a statement:
“As a patient, I depended on Planned Parenthood for medical care at various times in my own life, and as a public health leader, I have seen firsthand the lifesaving work it does for our most vulnerable communities. As a doctor, I will ensure we continue to provide high-quality health care, including the full range of reproductive care, and will fight with everything I have to protect the access of millions of patients who rely on Planned Parenthood.”
3. She’s an emergency room doctor. Wen graduated from Cal State Los Angeles when she was only 18 years old! The highly intelligent doctor earned her medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine, and a master’s degree from the University of Oxford. She completed her residency at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, and was a Clinical Fellow at Harvard Medical School. Is if that weren’t impressive enough, she took a year off after being elected the president of the American Medical Student Association, and led 65,000 doctors-in-training to “fight for universal healthcare and advocate for reproductive rights,” according to Planned Parenthood.
4. She’s an immigrant. Wen was born in Shanghai, China, and came to the United States with her family before she turned 8. Her family was granted asylum, and they all became US citizens in 2003.
5. She’s been recognized with multiple honors. Wen was named as one of Modern Healthcare’s 50 Most Influential Physician Executives and Leaders, and Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare. She was the recipient of the American Public Health association’s highest honor for local public work in 2016. She was also named one of Governing’s Public Officials of the Year in 2017.