Pediatrician and philanthropist Priscilla Chan was recently awarded the San Francisco Chronicle’s 2017 Visionary of the Year for her philanthropy and dedication in promoting children’s health and education.
Chan, a U.S.-born child of Chinese-Vietnamese refugees, has spent most of her years around children while working as a volunteer tutor and eventually as a science teacher. In her profession, she frequently encountered children whose education was stagnated due to health problems.
When she became a pediatrician, Chan met children who had medical conditions which are often beyond her ability to treat. Now a parent of a 15-month-old daughter with husband Mark Zuckerberg, and with another child on the way, Chan becomes all the more committed to doing more for children’s health.
The couple has, in fact, committed $3 billion over the next 10 years in their ambitious mission is to “cure, treat or prevent all known human diseases.”
Chan had earlier noted in an interview that she’s probably “being naive to set a cure-everything goal” and expects “decades of failures along with successes.” She pointed out, however, that they aim to create a mindset of “lifting all boats” to be able to generate breakthrough research.
“It feels very urgent and personal, not only because of my daughter but because of how universal that must feel,” she said.
This is in addition to the pledge they made in 2015 to donate 99% of their Facebook shares, then valued at $45 billion, to the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, which mainly focuses on health and education.
The couple also made a $75 million donation to San Francisco General Hospital, where 32-year-old Chan continues to work as a pediatrician. She also heads an initiative in East Palo Alto that aims to combine health care and education in one system called the Primary School.
Chan received her Visionary of the Year award at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco on Thursday evening, SF Chronicle reports. The recognition, given annually to Bay Area leaders who work to create social change, includes a $25,000 grant from The Chronicle and a $10,000 scholarship in the winner’s name from St. Mary’s College School of Economics and Business Administration.
Chan plans to donate the grant to the nonprofit Hamilton Foundation which provides assistance to homeless children and their families in the San Francisco area.
“I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to give back,” Chan was quoted as saying. “I will spend the rest of my career trying to make San Francisco and the world a little bit better.”