Leana Wen

Physician and public health advocate Leana Wen discussed a highly controversial approach to medical transparency and full disclosure.

"It is my professional goal and personal mission to practice patient-centered care that is 0% fear and 100% trust." - Leana Wen


Physician and public health advocate Leana Wen has traveled the world listening to patients’ stories. Born in Shanghai, she was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, a reporter with The New York Times’ Nick Kristof, and a fellow at the World Health Organization before assuming her current position as Director of Patient-Centered Care Research in the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University. Inspired by her mother’s long illness with cancer, she authored a book about empowering patients to avoid misdiagnoses and unnecessary tests. As an outspoken leader among a new generation of physicians, she served as President of the American Medical Student Association and as Chair of the International Young Professionals Commission. Her latest cause is Who’s My Doctor, a campaign for radical transparency in medicine. She is also currently commissioner at the Baltimore City Health Department.


Who or what had the most influence over your current work?
My mother. Being her caregiver as she battled cancer showed me how much disconnect there is between what doctors do and what patients need. She also taught me not to be afraid, and to always do what’s right.

Which superpower would you most like to have? Why?
Time travel. I love to visit distant lands. How amazing would it be to visit distant times!

What sparks your imagination?
Showing up. I don’t believe the idea comes and work follows… you have to put in the work to spark imagination.

Q&A with Leana on the TEDMED blog
Leana reflects on today’s challenges in patient-doctor relations and public health advocacy. 


Sign the Total Transparency Manifesto

Ask your doctor to join Who’s My Doctor


When Doctors Don't Listen
Leana Wen, St. Martin’s Press, 2013

Before The Prescription, Ask About Your Doctor's Finances
NPR commentary by Leana, Dec. 14, 2013

Patients can’t trust doctors’ advice if we hide our financial connections with drug companies
BMJ 2014; 348


Following the Script: How Drug Reps Make Friends and Influence Doctors

When Patients Read What Their Doctors Write
NPR segment with Leana, Aug 17, 2014

Open disclosure: why doctors should be honest about errors