Dr. Margaret F.C. Chan obtained her B.A. and M.D. degrees from the University of Western Ontario, Canada in 1973 and 1977. She joined the Hong Kong civil services in 1978 and began her career in public health. She undertook postgraduate training in public health at the Singapore National University where she obtained her M. Sc. (Public Health) in 1985. In 1991 she attended a full-time programme for management development at the Harvard Business School, USA. In 1993 she was elected Foundation Fellow of the Hong Kong Acadamy of Medicine in the specialty of Community Medicine. In 1997 she was coffered, by distinction, Fellowship of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom. Dr. Margaret Chan was appointed Director of Health of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China in June 1994.
Dr. Chan takes a strong interest to promoting healthy life style practices and is fully commited in maximizing the contribution of primary health care towards improving the health of the community. In her five-year tenure as Director of Health of Hong Kong, she has launched new preventive and promotive health care services for students, the elderly population and women.
Dr. Chan is also committed to building up the core competencies of Hong Kong in public health, particularly in the combat of emerging and re-emerging communicable diseases. Inheriting a rather efficient infrastructure of communicable disease control from her predecessor, she has brought in new initiatives to up-date communicable disease control, enhance training for public health physicians, establish local and international collaboration and substantially improve public health laboratory services.
In the recent incident of the Avian influenza, Dr. Chan, as with all important public health issues, was the hands-on leader of the team, At the height of the outbreak when the gene sequencing results were not available, on the strength of the evidence from the detailed field epidemiological investigations she recommended the culling of the chicken as the preferred option to control the outbreak. This effectively stopped further outbreak and prevented the outbreak from spreading to other countries.
In 2003, Dr. Chan led the investigation of the Acute Respisratory Syndrome (SARS). Then, she became WHOs Director of the Department of Protection of the Human Environment. In June 2005, she was appointed as Director, Communicable Diseases Surveillance and Response and Representative of the Director-General for Pandemic Influenza. She then continued in the role as Representative along with the duties as Assistant Director-General for the Communicable Diseases cluster.
On 9 November 2006, Dr. Chan was elected as Director-General of the World Health Organization.