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Former NECO President Appointed Assistant Commissioner of Public Health

  Elizabeth Chen

Elizabeth Chen, PhD, MBA, MPH, former President at New England College of Optometry, NECO, has been appointed Assistant Commissioner at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Reporting directly to the Commissioner and serving as a key member of the executive team, Dr. Chen will manage, oversee, and coordinate the Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality, the Bureau of Health Professions Licensure, and the Office of Determination of Need. She will be responsible for proposing, developing, and implementing policies and regulations to better serve public health needs for state residents.

Dr. Chen brings over 25 years of leadership in the area of health care to the position.  “We are extremely fortunate to have someone of Elizabeth’s caliber as a key member of our senior leadership team,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH.  “She has an extraordinary resume and vast health care experience. We are confident that she will put her own unique stamp on the work we’re doing to advance public health in Massachusetts.”

Elizabeth served as President of New England College of Optometry from 2006 through 2009.  She holds the distinction of being the first woman to serve as president at a school or college of optometry in the United States. During her tenure at the College, she expanded the educational infrastructure with capability for synchronous distance learning, secured federal and private funding for research and electronic health records, increased philanthropy to the school, and helped the college and students navigate through the global financial crisis of 2007-2008.

President Clifford Scott notes, "I and the New England College of Optometry community offer Dr. Chen our sincere congratulations and best wishes as she assumes this important health policy position.”

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