Andrew Chen ’02 (EMBA) found a way to combine his training in business with his commitment to public service. After serving as an assistant vice president at the Hospital for Joint Diseases Orthopaedic Institute in New York for six years, Chen joined the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) in 2005. “I get to use my training and experience to do something I really care about — healthcare emergency management,” says Chen, who in 2007 was reassigned to New York City as a regional emergency coordinator at the Office of Preparedness and Response — part of the Department of Health and Human Services — after two years in Washington, D.C.
“We’re the federal uniformed service that deals strictly with public health issues,” explains Chen. The office is relatively new — it was created in response to the attacks on 9/11 and the anthrax scares that followed. Chen’s team helps organizations establish standard emergency management procedures. “Even though we’re a governmental agency, it can feel entrepreneurial since so many of these issues didn’t exist just ten years ago,” says Chen, who also earned a master’s degree from Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.
“Public health tends to be a little more academic as a field — you don’t find that many MBAs,” says Chen. “I wanted to be part of an organization that has a broad impact in terms of serving our country.” His mission now, alongside the rest of the USPHS commissioned officer corps, is to protect, promote and advance the health and safety of the nation.