Dr Margaret Chan, from the People's Republic of China, joined the Hong Kong Department of Health in 1978. In 1994, she was appointed Director of Health of Hong Kong.
Dr Chan is a well-known public figure because of her record of leadership in fighting disease first in Hong Kong, and more recently at WHO. During her nine-year tenure as Director of Health, Dr Chan confronted the first human outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza in 1997 and successfully defeated Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Hong Kong in 2003.
The same year, 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. Following the sudden death of Dr Lee Jong-wook, on 22 mai 2006, Dr Chan was appointed to the post of Director-General on 9 November 2006. Her term will run through June 2012.
Dr Chan obtained her Medical Degree from the University of Western Ontario in Canada, and a public health degree from the National University of Singapore.