Announcing the 30th Saward Lecture, Featuring Leana Wen, MD

This year’s Saward Lecture will take place virtually on December 8, 2021 at 7pm (Pacific Time) and is free and open to the public.

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The Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research is pleased to announce that Dr. Leana Wen will deliver the 30th Saward Lecture on Wednesday, December 8, 2021, at 7 pm (Pacific Time). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s lecture will be held virtually. This event is made free to the public thanks to support from the Kaiser Permanente Northwest Community Health program.

About Dr. Wen's Talk, "Lessons from COVID-19 and the Future of Public Health"

Dr. Leana Wen will be joining us to explore her personal history and its revelations, laid out in remarkably candid detail in her newly released memoir, Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health. She will speak to the most pressing current challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Her childhood struggles, as a young immigrant Chinese girl living amid insecurity, taught powerful lessons about poverty, race, and health. Her tenure as Health Commissioner in Baltimore opened the way to confront opioid addiction, stigma, maternal and infant mortality, and other issues of disparities and inequities. Now, as a leading commentator and analyst during COVID-19, she will speak about lessons learned and the path forward as we work to shape a better and more equitable culture of health.

About Dr. Leana Wen

Dr. Leana Wen is an emergency physician, professor of health policy and management at George Washington University, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. She is also a CNN medical analyst and contributing columnist for The Washington Post, where she writes a weekly column and anchors the new Post newsletter, "The Checkup with Dr. Wen". The author of the critically-acclaimed book on patient advocacy, When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests (St. Martin’s Press, 2013), she has a recently-released memoir, Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health (Metropolitan Books, July 2021).

Previously, she served as Baltimore's Health Commissioner, where she led the nation’s oldest continuously operating health department in the U.S. to fight the opioid epidemic, treat violence and racism as public health issues, and improve maternal and child health.

Dr. Wen obtained her medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine and studied health policy at the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She completed her residency training at Brigham & Women's Hospital & Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was a clinical fellow at Harvard Medical School.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Wen has received recognition as one of Governing's Public Officials of the Year, Modern Healthcare's Top 50 Physician-Executives, World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders, and TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People.

Dr. Wen lives with her husband and their two young children in Baltimore.

If you have any questions about the Saward Lecture, please email

Photo: Earnie Saward

About the Saward Lecture

The Saward Lecture series is named after Ernie Saward, MD (1914–89), medical director of Kaiser Permanente Northwest from 1948 to 1969. Dr. Saward’s pioneering vision and administrative skill helped to launch the health maintenance organization movement. In the early 1960s, he established the Medical Care Research Unit, which later became the Center for Health Research.

The Center for Health Research presents the Saward Lecture once a year, free of charge to the community. The lecture series is made possible with support from Kaiser Permanente Northwest Community Health.

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