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

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

by Leana Wen
Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health

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

by Leana Wen


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From medical expert Leana Wen, MD, Lifelines is an insider's account of public health and its crucial role—from opioid addiction to global pandemic—and an inspiring story of her journey from struggling immigrant to being one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People.

“Public health saved your life today—you just don’t know it,” is a phrase that Dr. Leana Wen likes to use. You don’t know it because good public health is invisible. It becomes visible only in its absence, when it is underfunded and ignored, a bitter truth laid bare as never before by the devastation of COVID-19.

Leana Wen—emergency physician, former Baltimore health commissioner, CNN medical analyst, and Washington Post contributing columnist—has lived on the front lines of public health, leading the fight against the opioid epidemic, outbreaks of infectious disease, maternal and infant mortality, and COVID-19 disinformation. Here, in gripping detail, Wen lays bare the lifesaving work of public health and its innovative approach to social ills, treating gun violence as a contagious disease, for example, and racism as a threat to health.

Wen also tells her own uniquely American story: an immigrant from China, she and her family received food stamps and were at times homeless despite her parents working multiple jobs. That child went on to attend college at thirteen, become a Rhodes scholar, and turn to public health as the way to make a difference in the country that had offered her such possibilities.

Ultimately, she insists, it is public health that ensures citizens are not robbed of decades of life, and that where children live does not determine whether they live.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250839350
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 09/13/2022
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 235,618
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Dr. Leana Wen is an emergency physician, public health professor at George Washington University, and nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. She is also a contributing columnist for the Washington Post and a CNN medical analyst. Previously, she served as Baltimore’s health commissioner, where she led the nation’s oldest continuously operating public health department. She is the author of the patient advocacy book, When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests. Dr. Wen lives with her husband and their two young children in Baltimore.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

Part I Learning

1 Chi Ku 11

2 Belonging 29

3 White Coat, Clenched Fist 43

4 Opening Pandora's Box 61

5 When Doctors Don't Listen 73

Part II Leading

6 Doctor for the City 93

7 Saving Lives Today 108

8 Treating Addiction as the Disease It Is 124

9 Unrest and Recovery 143

10 Putting the Face on Public Health 160

11 Hurt People Hurt People 175

12 Going Upstream 190

13 New Beginnings 209

Part III Transforming

14 Decisions 227

15 The Courage to Try 237

16 Preventable Harm 255

17 A Pandemic of Misinformation 271

18 The Invisible Hand of Public Health 287

19 COVID-19 Comes Home 299

Epilogue: Life Lessons 313

Acknowledgments 319

Index 323

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