Former WHO boss to receive Schulich honour

A Western alumna known as the most powerful international public health official in history will join the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry’s Homecoming celebrations this fall. Dr. Margaret Chan, former Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), will receive the 2017 Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Award during the annual university celebration.

Her public lecture, Global Health: Challenges and Opportunities, will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21. Visit the Schulich Homecoming website for details.

Acclaimed for her strategic direction in the face of public health crises, Chan, BA’73, MD’77, DSC’99, has served on the frontlines of the global fight against H1N1, SARS and avian influenza. She has also been instrumental in championing improvements to maternal care, HIV and AIDS care and malaria.

Chan received her Bachelors of Arts in Home Economics from Brescia University College in 1973 and MD from Schulich in 1977. She later earned a master’s degree in public health from the National University of Singapore in 1985.

With a vested interest in medicine and public health, Chan began her career as a medical officer in the Department of Health in Hong Kong. Advancing quickly, by 1994, she became the first woman to head the department. After working with the Hong Kong government for 25 years, Chan joined WHO in 2003. She completed her second term as Director-General on June 30.