UGA’s Dr Jean Chin is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American College Health Association: Chin is a former director of the University of Georgia’s Health Center. She is an associate professor in the University of Georgia’s Medical Partnership with Augusta University.
From Lindsey Derrick, UGA Today...
When Dr. Jean Chin found her way to the University of Georgia’s health center in 1988, she didn’t expect to stay in Athens long.
“College health was a career I entered by accident,” said Chin. “I had only planned to stay at the University Health Center for three years while my husband was working on his Ph.D.”
More than 30 years later, Chin continues to work with students at UGA.
Even though she retired as executive director of the University Health Center in 2018, Chin is still giving back to medical education in her current role of associate professor of medicine at the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership.
Chin has received many awards during her career, but in May she was named the recipient of the American College Health Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for 2020-2021. The award recognizes individuals who have provided outstanding service to ACHA and whose professional lives have been dedicated to improving the health of college students.
“I’ve received several awards and honors over the years, but this one is special, particularly as I have seen the list of past recipients, the giants of college health, most of them I know and have looked up to for years,” said Chin. “I’m a mixed bag of emotions: shocked, grateful, humbled and happy. I only wish my parents were still alive to share this with them.”
Chin received her B.S. in chemistry from UGA in 1978 and graduated magna cum laude.
She then earned her MBA from Kennesaw State, her M.D. from Tufts University School of Medicine, and completed her residency at Westchester County Medical Center, New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York.
She began as a medical staff member at the University Health Center. From 1992-2004, she served as medical director before being named executive director in 2005—a title she held until her retirement before earning her current role of executive director emeritus. The health center saw many changes and improvements during Chin’s tenure.
The center moved from its former location in Gilbert Hall on Lumpkin Street to its current building on East Campus in 1997. Chin oversaw numerous renovations and additions to the center beginning in 2008 before it transformed into the current 111,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility with 13 clinics.
The renovations added many crucial aspects to keep the health center up to date to better serve patients. A vision clinic was added, and several departments were expanded, including the physical therapy department, the pharmacy, and counseling and therapy services. In addition, a teaching kitchen was added to teach students how to prepare healthy foods.
The expansions to the building also brought additional space for the Fontaine Center—a center for alcohol and other substance misuse prevention. The Fontaine Center also houses the relationship and sexual violence prevention office including 24-hour on-call advocacy services.
“There were renovations along the way, but each major construction project was done to improve services, increase accessibility, improve clinician and staff efficiency, expand service offerings, and yes, to generate revenue,” said Chin. “Over time, the university grew, student and parent expectations changed, the delivery of care evolved, and the revenue model changed. The University Health Center also evolved to remain viable, relevant and student centric.”
While she was at the helm, Chin also established both the Student Health Advisory Committee, an organization to help provide a student voice in health center operations and promote an open channel of communication between the UHC staff and the student body, and the Healthy Dawg Ambassadors, a group of students who are chosen to officially promote the mission and vision of the University Health. Chin said working with the Student Health Advisory Committee was one of the most rewarding experiences during her time at UGA.
“These talented, committed, enthusiastic and exceptional students provide the student voice for health matters,” said Chin. “I mentored many of them, and in return was so proud when they were admitted to graduate school, medical school, law school, dental school, PA programs and more.”
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