Sylvia Chiang, MD, MPH, Director of the Revere CARES Coalition at Massachusetts General Hospital's Center for Community Health Improvement (CCHI), discusses her journey into public health in this short Q&A.
How long have you worked at Mass General?
I’ve worked at Mass General for 18 years in three different capacities, each of which have been extremely fulfilling and rewarding.
What excites you about community health at Mass General?
Community health, in general, is a vast, still-developing field that some might consider unmanageable. However, at Mass General there is no such consideration. It is a priority and an area of focus. We are all empowered to discuss it, work through it and figure it out. We have the unwavering support of a highly knowledgeable, resourceful and renowned institution behind our work.
What do you like most about your job?
I love the level of impact we have in the communities we serve. In our type of work, results are usually slow to come. It takes the establishment of many relationships, the building of trust and the development of a process. However, when these factors fall in place, the outcomes are systemic and population-wide.
Describe your journey into community health.
I came to Boston from Honduras as an adult. I was a practicing physician, and early in my career, I was exposed to very poor, vulnerable populations. For me, service mattered. Health mattered. Public health mattered. Once here, I started working for Mass General as a Spanish medical interpreter. In that capacity, I was exposed to incredible stories of immigration and challenges of living in a new country. I felt the need to do more and went back to school for my MPH (Master of Public Health) at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. I still have a lot to achieve, and I feel I’m in the right place.