Planned Parenthood has chosen Dr. Leana Wen to be the next president of its organization after Cecile Richards retires in November. She will be the first Asian American to take that position. The organization which has over 12 million members and provides much needed medical assistance to over 2.5 million patients is seeing itself under attack by the Republicans and the Trump Organization reports Slate. The Republicans have been trying to cut funding to the organization leading some Planned Parenthood clinics to close down.
Leana Wen was born on January 27, 1983, in Shanghai China. Leana Wen fled China when she was 8 years old with her parents shortly after the Tiananmen Square massacre. As poor Chinese immigrants, her family landed in Compton California and relied on government assistance for help. “We came to the US with $40 to our name. We depended on Medicaid, and food stamps, and also on Planned Parenthood for health care,” she says in a video released by Planned Parenthood introducing herself.
Leana Wen was a child prodigy graduating from California State University when she was 18 years old with a degree in biochemistry. She got her Doctor of Medicine from Washington University School Of Medicine and completed her residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital along with a clinical fellowship at Harvard Medical School. She became an emergency physician because “I became an emergency physician because I never wanted to turn any patients away. In the ER I saw what happens every day when people don’t have access to the basic right to health care,” she says in the video. She recalls how a woman died due to a botched home abortion which she sees as a “failure in our system.”
Dr. Wen worked the emergency room at George Washington University where she also became a professor in emergency and health policy. After, she moved to Baltimore to serve as the health commissioner. At Baltimore, she was critical in the management of health recovery efforts after the 2015 Baltimore protests. She and the city of Baltimore sued the Trump organization and won back $5 million dollars after the administration cut off funds for teen pregnancy prevention. Additionally, she was praised for reducing the infant mortality rate and closing the racial disparity in health care.
Dr. Wen becomes the sixth president and second doctor to run Planned Parenthood. “I fought the Trump administration when they tried to impose a gag rule of what doctors are allowed or not allowed to tell our patients only for reproductive health and women’s health. Imagine if this was the case for any other medical procedure it would be ludicrous. Reproductive health care is health care. Women’s health care is health care and health care has to be understood as a fundamental human right”
Dr. Leanna Wen at only 35 years old has accomplished so much. She will be the perfect fit to lead Planned Parenthood to help the poor and bring much-needed guidance to women’s health advocacy. Politically battle tested and an amazing doctor, Dr. Leanna Wen seems like a perfect fit for Planned Parenthood.