Harry Chen, M.D., has been named executive director of the Center for Health and Wellbeing and public health officer at the University of Vermont. He begins work on October 15.
Chen served as commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health for six years. He was also a three-term Vermont State Representative and served as acting secretary of the Vermont Agency of Human Services. While serving as acting secretary, Chen was a co-chair of the President’s Commission for Alcohol, Cannabis and other Drug Use at UVM.
“Through a national search and thorough interview process, it became clear that Dr. Chen possesses the unique experience, talents, skills, and qualities to lead the Center of Health and Wellbeing and promote an effective public health model for the campus,” said Tom Sullivan, UVM president.
“His strong leadership skills coupled with his collaborative approach will be critical assets to the future success of our Center for Health and Wellbeing and our campus community,” said Annie Steven, vice provost for student affairs.
"I am delighted to join UVM and excited to share my passion for improving health and well-being for all who live, work, learn and play within the UVM community,” Chen said.
Chen’s public health experience is extensive. He led the statewide response to the catastrophic flooding of tropical storm Irene. He has played a regional and national leadership role in the public health response to the opioid crisis. He also provided national leadership in guiding the Center for Disease Control’s Office of Infectious Disease and its role in implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act. In the past year, Chen co-led the first Emergency Medicine residency program for the Global Health Service Partnership of the Peace Corps in Uganda.
Chen served as attending physician for the emergency departments at the Rutland Regional Medical Center and the former Fletcher Allen Health Care for over 22 years. He has been a clinical assistant professor of family medicine at the UVM Larner College of Medicine since 2001. He attended the University of Michigan for his undergraduate degree and the University of Oregon for his medical degree.