Baltimore's new health commissioner
Dr. Leana Wen

Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen introduced a 10-year public health plan on Tuesday which explicitly tackles racial disparities in the health outcomes of city residents.

Wen’s “moonshot” is “to cut health disparities by half in the next 10 years.” That includes significantly reducing rates of lead poisoning, overdoses, child fatalities, obesity, and smoke and heart-disease deaths among black Baltimoreans by 2020.

Local advocates are praising Wen for tackling the racial disparity head on.

“She takes a step forward more so than anybody else I’ve seen because she calls it out,” said Diane Bell-McKoy, CEO of Associated Black Charities. “Most of the time we find code words for it.”

Debbie Rock, CEO of LIGHT Health and Wellness called the plan “affirming” for addressing “the uncomfortable truths behind health inequities.”