Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health

Leana Wen. Metropolitan, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-18623-2
Former Baltimore, Md., health commissioner Wen (coauthor, When Doctors Don’t Listen) combines memoir and advocacy in this stirring call for greater investment in public health programs to combat racism, poverty, gun violence, and other social ills. The daughter of Chinese immigrants who came to the U.S. seeking political asylum, Wen graduated from college and entered medical school at age 18, specializing in emergency medicine because “the ER was the one place where every patient had to be seen and no one would be turned away.” She shares harrowing stories of patients who couldn’t afford their life-saving medications, and describes how a series of misdiagnoses delayed her mother’s cancer treatment. After her mother’s death, Wen helped start a center for “patient-centered care research” at George Washington University and became Baltimore’s health commissioner in 2014. During her tenure, she confronted the city’s opioid crisis by establishing treatment centers and training first responders in administering naloxone. The details of her family’s financial struggles and her tumultuous relationship with her mother add depth to Wen’s career retrospective, and she makes a persuasive case for reorienting the U.S. medical system to prioritize the most vulnerable. Readers will be inspired by Wen’s belief in the power of public health to make America better. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/27/2021
Release date: 06/08/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-250-83935-0
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