UM Family of Physicians Establish Endowed Chair to Further Health Equity Initiative

The Chen Family Pictured from left to right: Gordon Chen, MD, Chief Medical Officer; Jessica Chen, MD, Chief Clinical Officer; Stephanie Chen, Chief Legal and Culture Officer; Christopher Chen, MD, Chief Executive Officer Mary Chen, Co_founder and Chief Market Development Officer; James Chen, MD, PhD, ChenMed Founder) Photo courtesy ChenMed

Multiple generations of the Chen family have graduated from the University of Miami and the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. And like the Miller School, the Chens have had a longstanding passion for reducing health disparities and improving the lives of residents in the most medically underserved communities. 

The Chen Family Foundation is looking to expand that shared mission even further by donating $3 million to advance research through the Chen Family Endowed Chair to Advance Primary Care and Health Equity Research

“The foresight, leadership, and dedication of Dr. Chris Chen and his family will propel the University forward in our pursuit of health equity,” said University of Miami President Julio Frenk. “We are incredibly appreciative of their generosity and partnership.”

Chen Family Equity Plan

The Chen Family Endowed Chair to Advance Primary Care and Health Equity Research will enable the Miller School’s Department of Medicine to recruit a leader with extensive experience in primary and population health care that will allow UM to become the leader in primary care and medicine among academic institutions. Once aboard, that expert will be tasked with researching and improving the way primary care, and health equity, is delivered throughout South Florida. 

The Chen family’s mission to reduce health disparities is based on their Christian faith to serve and help others. That mission was intensified in 2003 after their struggle with the health care system. Chen’s father, Jen-ling, was diagnosed with cancer and given only two months to live. He and his family say they experienced what it was like to be on the receiving end of fragmented and unsympathetic health care where the multiple specialists involved in his care did not collaborate, appointments had to be booked weeks in advance, and compassion seemed lacking.

Miraculously, Chen’s father recovered and soon delved into a new mission; developing a method of delivering medical services that provided a superior level of care and positively impacted patients’ lives, particularly in underserved communities.

“When we began building out ChenMed, we were very much aware of what the delivery system felt like from the other side of the glass,” said Chris Chen, the CEO of ChenMed. “That drives many of our decisions: What would we want if we were in the patient’s shoes? Our goal was to deliver superior patient outcomes and a positive patient experience to a typically underserved population during the most vulnerable time of their lives.”

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