Geneva, 18 January 2012 - Dr Margaret Chan was nominated today by the World Health Organization's Executive Board for a second term as Director-General of the Organization. The Director-General is WHO's chief technical and administrative officer and oversees the policy for the Organization's international health work.
This nomination will be submitted for approval to the 65th World Health Assembly, scheduled to meet in Geneva from 21-26 May 2012.
If confirmed by the World Health Assembly, Dr Chan's new term will begin on 1 July 2012 and continue until 30 June 2017.
The Executive Board is composed of 34 individuals technically qualified in the field of health. Members are elected for three-year terms. The Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Mirta Roses, is participating in the meeting with representatives of countries of the Americas who are serving on the Executive Board (Barbados, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico and the United States).
Only one candidate, Dr Chan, was proposed to the Executive Board (EB). WHO's Member States were given the opportunity to propose candidates between 4 July and 15 November 2011. Dr Chan presented her vision of the Organization's challenges and priorities to the Executive Board, which then agreed that her nomination be forwarded to the World Health Assembly.
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.
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 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. Her current term runs through June 2012.
Gregory Härtl, WHO Media coordinator Mobile: +41 79 203 6715, Tel: +41 22 791 4458, Email: