A group of public health experts hopes the American Public Health Association will replace Dr. Leana Wen as a panelist at APHA’s annual meeting in Boston in November.
Dr. Wen, a research professor of health policy and management at George Washington University, previously served as the City of Baltimore Health Commissioner and President of Planned Parenthood. She will speak with her APHA members about the “backlash” against public health in a panel discussion on the subject. A frequent media commentator on COVID-19, Dr. Wen has faced death threats and harassment over her thoughts on things like masking and vaccination. Earlier this year, a Texas man pleaded guilty to threatening to shoot Dr. Wen following a federal investigation into the threat.
The man who said he would shoot Dr. Wen refused to take her “wonder drug,” which she claimed was the COVID-19 vaccine. I was a skeptic, a mask opponent, and a COVID-19 denier. But Wen has a growing number of critics who strongly support COVID-19-related safety restrictions. And who are campaigning against Dr. Wen’s upcoming speech on the grounds that it downplays her ongoing COVID-19 threat, especially to the detriment of certain groups? member of this latter group.
“We call on our colleagues and fellow leaders in public health to rethink and work in alignment with anti-racist, anti-eugenicist public health practices and community health, Dr. Wen. workers, researchers and academics (many of them junior academics and students).
Put another way, Dr. Wen is now facing backlash from some in public health for her remarks about public health backlash.
“Through the press and social media platforms, Dr. Wen has promoted. unscientificinsecure, capable, fat phobiaWhen unethical It’s a practice during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the petition said. “For example, in a recent article, Dr. Wen suggested: infection should be accepted as the “new normal”. In another article, she wrote about how learning loss is a threat to children for parents who want to keep them safe. Despite the fact that as of August 6, 2022, 1,376 children have died from her COVID-19 infection. In yet another article, she advocated a “hot vax spring” and suggested that local governments lift all protections except vaccination. Her recommendations also included unscientific and nonsensical suggestions. Designate sections of the plane to wear masks In response to airborne pathogens. ”
Dr. Wen’s remarks were “hostile and Decrease We appreciate the efforts of APHA members and colleagues who had to deal with the impact of her message. Some of them have experienced the combined effects of disability and immunodeficiency,” the statement continued. “Certainly, instead of listening to those most endangered and most hurt by her words, Dr. Invalid activist blocked When public health Expert on social media. ”
Note that Dr. Wen was fired from Planned Parenthood citing internal disagreements about the group’s future (Dr. ), the petition also criticized her “leadership failure and Unwillingness to address the political nature of abortion A powerful attack on abortion has escalated to what we see today. (The petition states that one of Dr. Wen’s fellow panelists is Dr. Thomas Dobbs, a former Mississippi health official, whose name is attached to the U.S. Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Agency.) Roe v. Wade ruling overturned; .
Recognized by APHA with the 2016 Milton and Ruth Roemer Award for Creative Local Public Health Action, Dr. Wen is a trained emergency physician who has extensive experience on a variety of public health issues. Washington PostHowever, most of her commentary over the past few years has focused on COVID-19. And as the pandemic has dragged on, Dr. Wen’s views have largely aligned with pandemic-related recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has been criticized by public health experts for its handling of the pandemic, and her director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, recently acknowledged the agency’s shortcomings when announcing an “ambitious” overhaul. But while the CDC has disappointed many public health experts, it employs many public health experts and scientists, and its recommendations are not considered extraordinary.
Still, some prominent practitioners openly objected to Dr. Wen’s speech and told APHA that they were leaving the organization over the matter. For example, Dr. Uché Blackstock, a former associate professor of emergency medicine at New York University, said: Said On Twitter, “I have canceled my APHA membership. There is no way APHA can rationalize providing a platform for those who are not consistently minimizing the harm of COVID and using an unbiased lens in their comments.” Dr. Blackstock also criticized APHA for not initially requiring face masks at its November meeting, a policy it has since adopted.) Eric Feiglding, Epidemiologist, New England Complex Systems Health economist at the Institute, also co-founder of the World Health Network Said On Twitter, he said he was canceling his APHA membership due to “this horrible move.”
David Swedler, a public health researcher at the Pacific Institute, said he’s on the APHA board of directors, so he should be present at this year’s APHA conference in person, but others should also join the petition. I encourage you to sign. (He has also publicly expressed concern that his dues are paying for Dr. Wen’s lectures, but APHA spokesperson Joe Bremner said Dr. , said he would not be paid for the lecture.) Swedler said. Inside higher education Dr. Wen said, “During the pandemic, I have consistently taken a neoliberal stance on COVID-19 safety measures. These positions consistently presuppose a capacity for personal responsibility that is unavailable to a large portion of the population.” I was doing it.”
“Healthy Dialogue and Discord”
Asked about the petition and other objections to Dr. Wen’s story, APHA spokesperson Bremner said in a written statement that Public Health “has a history of healthy dialogue and disagreement.” Finding the dots is how we move the needle forward towards producing healthy people in healthy communities. Another example.” (Bremner also clarified that Dr. Wen is not a “keynote speaker,” as the petition refers to her.)
Bremner continued, “We value lively public health debate and support respectful, fact-based debate. We thank her and over 7,000 others for their time and effort.”
He said, “Specifically, Wen’s focus is on ‘harassment, bullying, and death threats: keeping course while under attack.’ It’s something the authorities had to deal with.”
“None of this is easy”
Dr. Wen spoke Inside higher education A written statement of record has been provided, citing the continued sensitivity of the issues at hand, including her own safety.
“The panel I was invited to speak on, titled ‘Backlash,’ aims to address the challenges of formulating public health policy,” said Dr. Wen. “I understand that panelists were selected because they have field experience in dealing with controversy. I’m talking about the complexities of navigating a difficult situation based on, before that, running Baltimore’s health department.”
Public health practitioners at the local, state, and federal levels said, “We often work in difficult political environments. We want to share it with those who choose to.
In response to a question about how her public health guidance has changed over the course of the pandemic, Dr. Wen said: The recommendations that I and other experts made were generally very cautious and emphasized mitigation measures such as masking and distancing. There are highly effective vaccines and treatments that protect most Americans from serious illness, and more than 90% of the population has some immunity from vaccination or previous infection. Additionally, scientists generally agree that Covid-19 will take hold. Therefore, our strategy must shift to living with this disease. ”
Acknowledging that current policy recommendations are “very different from those of 2021 and 2020,” Dr Wen said: We are no longer advocating distance and cohorting in schools. Public perception of COVID-19 is also changing and this should be taken into account when formulating societal recommendations. ”
“This is no easy feat,” said Dr. Wen. “There are trade-offs to all interventions and costs of not pursuing a particular course of action, so there is no ‘right’ answer. I hope it will take place in a safe environment.”