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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Lifelines

Lifelines

A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health

Leana Wen

Metropolitan Books

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Public health expert Leana Wen gives an insider’s account of public health and its crucial role—from opioid addiction to global pandemic—and tells an inspiring story of her journey from homeless immigrant to being named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People.

“Public health saved your life today—you just don’t know it,” is a phrase that 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 carnage of Covid-19.

From the frontlines of public health crises, Leana Wen—emergency doctor, former Baltimore health commissioner, CNN medical analyst, and Washington Post columnist—has led the fight against the opioid epidemic, outbreaks of infectious disease, maternal and infant mortality, and Covid-19 disinformation. Here in vivid detail, drawing on her deep experience, Wen unveils the invisible hand of public health, showing how it uniquely encompasses science, advocacy, medicine, and politics; how innovative programs can treat gun violence as a contagious disease and racism as a health issue; how public health plays a key role in protecting the vulnerable and keeping communities safe. It is public health, she insists, that ensures that citizens are not robbed of decades of life, and that where children live does not determine whether they live.

Leana Wen’s own story is a uniquely American one, of an immigrant from China whose paren… More…

Public health expert Leana Wen gives an insider’s account of public health and its crucial role—from opioid addiction to global pandemic—and tells an inspiring story of her journey from homeless immigrant to being named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People.

“Public health saved your life today—you just don’t know it,” is a phrase that 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 carnage of Covid-19.

From the frontlines of public health crises, Leana Wen—emergency doctor, former Baltimore health commissioner, CNN medical analyst, and Washington Post columnist—has led the fight against the opioid epidemic, outbreaks of infectious disease, maternal and infant mortality, and Covid-19 disinformation. Here in vivid detail, drawing on her deep experience, Wen unveils the invisible hand of public health, showing how it uniquely encompasses science, advocacy, medicine, and politics; how innovative programs can treat gun violence as a contagious disease and racism as a health issue; how public health plays a key role in protecting the vulnerable and keeping communities safe. It is public health, she insists, that ensures that citizens are not robbed of decades of life, and that where children live does not determine whether they live.

Leana Wen’s own story is a uniquely American one, of an immigrant from China whose parents relied on food stamps and were at times homeless. That child went on to attend college at thirteen, graduate from medical school, work in the ER, and turn to public health as the way to make a difference in the country that had offered her such vast possibilities.

Delivered with gripping storytelling and unmatched authority, Lifelines offers an uplifting memoir, a window on to the inner workings of public health, and a galvanizing call to understand health for all as a fundamental human right.

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Leana Wen

Leana Wen is the former health commissioner for the city of Baltimore and author of the book When Doctors Don’t Listen. An emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University, she is also a contributing columnist for the Washington Post and CNN medical analyst. She lives with her husband and two children in Baltimore.

Metropolitan Books

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