BALTIMORE (WJZ/CNN) — Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen has been named as the new president of Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit that provides reproductive health services in the United States.
Dr. Wen’s last day as health commissioner will be Friday, Oct. 12.
There will then be a national search to identify the city’s next health commissioner immediately, according to a statement from Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh.
In January, Cecile Richards announced that she would be stepping down from the post after serving as president since 2006. Soon after, the organization launched a committee to find her successor.
Wen, an emergency physician and patient and community advocate, is expected to step in as the organization’s new leader — at a time when it continues to challenge the Trump administration and face new battles over abortion rights. This will be the first time in nearly 50 years that a physician will lead the organization.
“For more than 100 years, no organization has done more for women’s health than Planned Parenthood, and I’m truly honored to be named its president,” Wen said in a written statement released by the organization on Wednesday.
“As a patient, I depended on Planned Parenthood for medical care at various times in my own life, and as a public health leader, I have seen firsthand the lifesaving work it does for our most vulnerable communities,” she said. “As a doctor, I will ensure we continue to provide high-quality health care, including the full range of reproductive care, and will fight with everything I have to protect the access of millions of patients who rely on Planned Parenthood.”