Lena Chen, M.D.

Lives Lived

Lena Chen, M.D.

Winter 2020
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Lena Chen, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine at Michigan Medicine, died July 21, 2019, at the age of 49 after a sudden illness. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in health policy and management from Harvard University and began her career as a reporter and then a management consultant. However, she missed interacting with patients, as she had done in her training, so she went on to earn a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After residency at the University of Pennsylvania, a directorship at the Johns Hopkins University Hospitalist Program, and a fellowship at Harvard University, she joined the Michigan Medicine faculty in 2009. She specialized in the care of inpatients and was known for high standards and excellent mentoring of younger physicians and medical students at both Michigan Medicine and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. 

Chen had a keen interest in national health policy. She was a senior adviser to a deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and had a knack for creating multidisciplinary teams to answer research questions that impact public policy. As a member of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation (IHPI), she helped develop and launch Policy Sprints, a program devoted to rapid analyses meant to inform health policymakers at the local, state, and national levels. 


This obituary was adapted from one published by IHPI.