10-25-2020 Women to Watch - Flipbook - Page 20
PHOTO BY BARBARA
DR. JINLENE CHAN
47, acting deputy state health secretary for
public health services
Dr. Jinlene Chan is no newcomer to public health,
having spent years in the Maryland and Anne Arundel County health departments. But when those like
her in the eld do their jobs right, preventing disease and improving health in the community, few
people ever hear about them.
But times have changed with the coronavirus.
Since becoming acting deputy health secretary
for public health services in August, she’s become a
public face for the state’s pandemic response.
Chan said none of the actual work is new, though
the scope of the job is much larger. She said she settles herself by “keeping my eye on the prize.”
WO M E N T O WAT C H
What is the prize?
“With this pandemic it’s mitigating and minimizing the impact on our neighbors and our communities,” she said.
To that end, Chan rises each morning and reviews data and evaluates programs to see what
needs to change or improve and how the puzzle
pieces t together. And there are a lot of pieces, from
testing and contact tracing to hospital bed capacity.
The department also has to be ready when there is
Health Secretary Robert R. Neall said he chose
her for the position because she had the background
and had already shown she could do the work.
Specically, Chan’s “outstanding leadership of
the immensely complex state COVID-19 testing program made her the obvious choice to step in and
assume Fran Phillips’ duties,” Neall said in a statement about the retirement in August of the former
deputy. “Her years of experience in health, as a local
health ofcer and at [the Maryland Department of
Health], are the qualities needed during this unprecedented public health emergency.”
Though she speaks English, Spanish and Chinese, Chan credits listening to others as key to her
But at the end of her long days, it’s her family
that has her ear.
“Any spare time I have I spend with my kids,”
said the Anne Arundel mother of three. “They are
changing so fast. There is a saying the days are long,
but the years are short. I don’t want to miss the moments I do have with them.”
— Meredith Cohn