Dr Margaret Chan, from the People's Republic of China, obtained her medical degree from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. She joined the Hong Kong Department of Health in 1978, where her career in public health began.
In 1994, Dr Chan was appointed Director of Health of Hong Kong. In her nine-year tenure as director, she launched new services to prevent the spread of disease and promote better health. She also introduced new initiatives to improve communicable disease surveillance and response, enhance training for public health professionals, and establish better local and international collaboration. She effectively managed outbreaks of avian influenza and of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
In 2003, Dr Chan joined WHO as Director of the Department for Protection of the Human Environment. In June 2005, she was appointed Director, Communicable Diseases Surveillance and Response as well as Representative of the Director-General for Pandemic Influenza. In September 2005, she was named Assistant Director-General for Communicable Diseases.
Dr Chan was elected to the post of Director-General on 9 November 2006. The Assembly appointed Dr Chan for a second five-year term at its sixty-fifth session in May 2012. Dr Chan's new term will begin on 1 July 2012 and continue until 30 June 2017.