Margaret Chan, from the People's Republic of China, obtained her medical degree from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. She joined the Hong Kong Department of Health in 1978 and in 1994 was appointed Director of Health of Hong Kong where 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 effectively 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 2005, she was appointed Director, Communicable Diseases Surveillance and Response and Representative of the Director-General for Pandemic Influenza, then Assistant Director-General for Communicable Diseases. Dr Chan was elected to the post of Director-General in November 2006. The Assembly appointed her for a second five-year term in May 2012.