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Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen to serve as new head of Planned Parenthood

Becoming the new head of Planned Parenthood Federation of America is personal for Dr. Leana Wen, who is resigning as Baltimore health commissioner after nearly four years to take the new job.

She has firsthand experience with the need for the organization, which announced Wen as its new president on Wednesday.

Growing up poor in California, Wen, her little sister and mother received much of their health care from the organization, which is dedicated to women’s health rights and access to medical services for the needy.

She said she is leaving a job she loves in Baltimore because of growing attacks by the Trump administration and other conservatives on Planned Parenthood and women’s reproductive health rights.

Catherine Pugh with another critical vacancy. Pugh accepted Wen’s resignation Tuesday and Wen told health department staff in a conference call Wednesday.

“We have made significant progress in addressing issues of health disparity across our City, and in developing innovative approaches for prevention and treatment,” Pugh said in a statement. “Dr. Wen has achieved national leadership on a broad range of public health issues, which has also led to national recognition for the Baltimore Health Department as among the most impactful in improving health outcomes for citizens of all ages.”

Pugh also said the city would launch an immediate national search for her replacement.