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First Physician to Lead the National Organization in Nearly 50 Years

“She's the right leader for this moment and our future.”

– Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America announced on September 12, 2018 that Dr. Leana Wen will serve as its sixth president — the first time in nearly 50 years that a physician will helm the organization. Planned Parenthood provides essential health care to more than 2.4 million people nationwide, including more than 72,000 patients in our region. Planned Parenthood is also the largest provider of sex education, reaching more than 41,000 adults and young people in Minnesota and North Dakota.

The following is a statement from Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota.  Ms. Stoesz also serves on the Planned Parenthood Federation of America board and is a member of the search committee that selected Dr. Wen.

“Planned Parenthood is the premier provider of expert sexual and reproductive health; millions of Americans know us as their doctor, including 72,000 people in our region. With a physician as our leader, we are demonstrating our commitment to putting patients at the center of everything we do, from our high-quality individual health care, to comprehensive sex education, to advocating for everyone’s right to both.”

“Dr. Wen is also a nationally recognized public health leader.  She knows that providing people with the sexual and reproductive health care they need helps them lead healthy lives, which makes families, communities and our country stronger.  In her role as Commissioner of the Baltimore City Health Department, she’s fought to protect women and families from the Trump administration’s rollbacks of basic health care protections. She’s also led efforts to protect teen pregnancy prevention and federal family planning funding in Baltimore.”

“As an immigrant—and as someone who grew up in rural America—she also understands, as many of our patients do, the barriers that discrimination creates in our health care system, especially for women and young people living in large, conservative, sparsely populated states.  As health access continues be threatened, Dr. Wen instinctively knows how to respond, and what works. She's the right leader for this moment and our future.”


Dr. Wen currently serves as the Commissioner of Health for the City of Baltimore. A patient advocate and emergency physician, she has led the Baltimore City Health Department — the oldest, continuously-operated health department in the United States — since January 2015.  

Dr. Wen has dedicated her career to expanding access to health care for the most vulnerable communities, reducing health disparities, and finding innovative solutions to address public health problems. Known as the “Doctor for the City” in Baltimore, she oversees more than 1,000 employees with an annual budget of $130 million; two clinics that provide more than 18,000 patients with reproductive health services; and medical programs for 180 Baltimore schools.

Over the last 18 months, Dr. Wen has fought to protect women and families in Baltimore from the Trump administration’s rollbacks of basic health care protections. In March 2018, on behalf of Dr. Wen and the Baltimore City Health Department, the City of Baltimore sued the Trump administration for cutting funds for teen pregnancy prevention, which resulted in a federal judge ordering the restoration of $5 million in grant funding to two Baltimore-based teen pregnancy prevention programs. She has fought Trump administration changes to Title X—the nation’s family planning program—to protect funding for 23 health clinics in Baltimore that provide reproductive health care for women with low-incomes.

Dr. Wen has received recognition as Modern Healthcare’s 50 Most Influential Physician Executives and Leaders and Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare. A Fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine and Academy of Medicine, she serves on the faculty at the George Washington University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In 2016, Dr. Wen was honored to be the recipient of the American Public Health Association’s highest award for local public health work. In 2017, she was named one of Governing’s Public Officials of the Year.


For nearly 90 years, Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota has worked in our region to make sure all people have the information and the means to make free and responsible decisions about whether and when to have children.  Planned Parenthood operates 19 clinics in Minnesota and South Dakota and an Online Health Center, providing quality and affordable family planning, reproductive health care services and education to more than 72,000 women, men and young people each year.

Visit us on the web at www.ppmns.org


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