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

av Dr. Leana Wen

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I picked up this book because Dr. Wen got her start in the same early college program (Early Entrance at Cal State Los Angeles) as one of my friends from back in North Carolina. Both are now doctors, and this memoir takes us through Wen's upbringing, schooling, and many high-profile career moves. She is perhaps best known for serving briefly as the president of Planned Parenthood but was also the Baltimore City Health Commissioner under two mayors, and there are chapters covering all of these life stops and more. Reasonably inspiring, especially for high achievers that know any sterling resume inevitably has many rough patches behind the scenes. ( )
  jonerthon | Oct 4, 2021 |
Lifelines is a very informative, well spoken, documented facts book. I was hoping it would be an easier read, a little more personal and a little less of a textbook study. Still, a very interesting book that touches on current topics and is well balanced. I recommend anyone wanting an in depth medical view of our current events to explore this book. ( )
  JudyMcNelley | Jul 24, 2021 |
I was happy to receive this book from LibraryThing, as I've followed Dr. Wen's career to some extent. Her description of her childhood and her family is fascinating; I always find it illuminating to see what brought people to being who they are and doing what they do. I have not quite finished the book because I found it a little easier to get bogged down in her description of her various public health initiatives; these parts of the book are interesting in their own ways, but less personal. I do still plan to fully finish the book and am glad it came my way.
  benruth | Jun 14, 2021 |
Dr. Leanna Wen has been a comforting voice of reason during the COVID-19 pandemic via the Washington Post and other media. So I was interested to read her memoir "Lifelines." The first chapters are in some ways the most personal as she tells the story of her family's immigrant experiences and the challenges they faced. I was also interested in the day-to-day machinations of Dr. Wen's work as health commissioner of Baltimore. Stories of setbacks and successes in areas such as maternal health, substance abuse, and other areas of population health illustrate the author's commitment to improving conditions for everyone, regardless of where they live or other social determinants of health. The final chapters, which recap the recent national horror of COVID-19, are a bit too close for comfort, but are important to record before authorities who didn't take it seriously try to rewrite history. This book is an informative read for those interested in healthcare careers, health systems, and the intersection of healthcare, politics, and sociology. ( )
  annez | Jun 12, 2021 |
Dr. Leana Wen arrived in the United States as a child, an immigrant whose parents were political refugees from China. Experiencing food, financial and health insecurity as a child inspired her to dedicate her life to improving healthcare for others. She describes in this memoir her path to becoming one of the most valued and trusted figures in public health, and details the many programs and successful initiatives she has spearheaded in her career so far.

Dr. Wen's life work is wildly inspirational, but I have to admit reading about public health is not exactly gripping. (Incidentally, the person who can figure out a way to write a page-turner about public health may also likely hold the key to getting people to care more about public health.) There are some fascinating insights about what types of programs are successful and how partisan politics hold us back, as a country, with respect to our overall health. Overall, the book was interesting, but I did have to push myself to work my way through it.

I received this ARC via LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program. ( )
  ryner | Jun 10, 2021 |
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