Yesterday, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen announced that she will step down from her position to take over as president of Planned Parenthood.
Dr. Wen has been a steadfast partner of the Open Society Institute, working together on distribution of life-saving overdose-reversal drug Naloxone, the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program (LEAD), and many other initiatives. In June, at the first event in OSI’s 20th Anniversary Speaker Series, Advisory Board member Dr. John Meyerhoof presented Dr. Wen with OSI’s “Bold Thinker” award (pictured). Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs office is a major supporter of Planned Parenthood.
“Every now and then a leader appears who—because of her moral compass, expertise and empathy—can make solutions to complex problem self-evident, common-sense. Dr. Leana Wen is one of them,” Open Society Institute Director Diana Morris said. “She looks deeply at issues and exposes the through-line from racism to poverty to poor health and hopelessness. There is no better person than Dr. Wen to champion the health and human rights of women—all women—and make clear the public consequences if we do not join the charge. The Open Society Institute-Baltimore recently awarded Dr. Wen our Bold Thinker award, and now people across the country will see why this tribute was so appropriate.”
Mayor Catherine Pugh released a statement wishing Dr. Wen well and announcing that her administration was launching a national search to identify a new health commissioner.