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The Power of Public Health to Level the Playing Field of Opportunity - Thursz Social Justice Lecture

The Fall 2017 Thursz Social Justice Lecture at the School of Social Work features Dr. Leana Wen, Commissioner of Health, Baltimore discussing, "The Power of Public Health to Level the Playing Field of Opportunity."

Thursz Social Justice Lecture Tuesday, November 14

Noon - UM SSW Auditorium - Free to Attend 1.5 CEUs Available for $20

Dr. Leana Wen is the Commissioner of Health for the City of Baltimore. An emergency physician and patient and community advocate, she leads the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD), the oldest continuously-operating health department in the United States, formed in 1793.

BCHD is an agency with a $130 million annual budget and 1,000 employees committed to improving well-being and combating disparities through education, policy/advocacy, and direct service delivery. BCHD's wide-ranging responsibilities include maternal and child health, youth wellness, school health, senior services, animal control, restaurant inspections, emergency preparedness, STI/HIV treatment, and acute and chronic disease prevention.

Facing an unprecedented number of people dying from opioid overdose, Dr. Wen issued a blanket prescription for the opioid antidote, naloxone, to all 620,000 residents of Baltimore. Since 2015, this program has saved over 1,200 lives. In March 2016, Dr. Wen was invited by the White House to speak on a panel with President Obama about Baltimore's efforts to address addiction as a public health crisis.

Under her direction, the Baltimore City Health Department leads the country in health innovations, including: B'More for Healthy Babies, a collective impact strategy resulting in a 38 percent reduction of infant mortality in just seven years; Vision for Baltimore, an initiative to provide glasses to every child who needs them; Safe Streets, a program to engage returning citizens and hospitals in treating gun violence as a contagious disease; and Healthy Baltimore 2020, a blueprint for health and well-being that enlists all sectors to achieve the ambitious goal of cutting disparities in half in ten years.

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