Hello, my name is . . . Jessica Chang

On Mondays, the Daily Voice introduces you to a member of the UMass Medical School community—could be a new face, or maybe one that’s has been around for a while. We’ve asked our subjects to answer a few questions that might give you insight into their personalities. If you have a suggestion as to someone who might be profiled, let us know at  ummscommunications@umassmed.edu.  

Jessica Chang, MS, MBA, is program coordinator for the Office of Global Health. She joined UMass Medical School in July 2011, after earning her MA in International Health Policy and Management and MBA in Health Management at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. She holds a bachelor’s in biology from the  Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she met her husband, UMMS MD/PhD student Joshua Chang. DV-Jessica-Chang


What brought you here to UMass Medical School?
My then-fiancée was a student in the MD/PHD program at UMMS. Through him, I learned about the strong focus at UMMS on influencing health policy, and was impressed by the strong desire of health care providers here to be involved in primary care, both here and abroad. At the White Coat Ceremony in 2011, I met Dr. Michael Godkin from the Office of International Medical Education and heard about the Office of Global Health at UMMS. I felt that my degree in Health Policy and Management was a great preparation for the work being done at the Office of Global Health to shape the way UMMS conducts international health collaborations and got in touch with OGH. I got married in July and started work at UMMS the week after moving out to Worcester!

What do you love most about the work that you do?
I work closely with student, trainees and faculty members who have projects in a foreign country or travel to a foreign country for education or to do clinical work. The most exciting part of my job is to see ways in which UMMS is growing its impact in health care and health policy not only all over the United States, but also all over the world. I believe that in a country with so many opportunities and as an institution with so many great talents, it is our responsibility to go out there and make a difference.

What is the practical application of your work?
We have been able to start a database of all the different foreign projects UMMS is involved in, and see increases in both the number of collaborative projects and funding for global health work within the past 11 months.

Which trait do you most admire in yourself?
The ability to multitask. I thrive on energy and excitement from working with people and on multiple projects that feed into one another.

What’s the question you’re most often asked about your work—and the answer?
What do you do? I help members of the University of Massachusetts establish formal and informal relationships with foreign collaborating institutions to expand the research, clinical and education opportunities at UMMS for greater global impact.

Describe yourself in six words or fewer.
Nerdy, creative, Type A, sensitive, clumsy

If you were stranded on a deserted island, name three things you would want.
Unlimited amount of fresh water, a Swiss knife tool set and my husband

If you could have dinner with a famous person, living or dead, who would that be and why?
Audrey Hepburn. I would probably just sit and stare at her beauty!

What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?
I love doing craftwork, whether it’s sewing, knitting, crochet, cross-stitch or scrapbooking, and I love cooking. My friends used to joke that I am like an old lady because I have loved doing all of this since I was in elementary school. I am not ashamed to say that I do take after my artistic grandmothers.

What do you consider the most interesting thing about yourself that most people might not know (and you would want to tell them).
I have managed to live in Cambridge, Somerville and Worcester for eight years without getting a U.S. drivers license (I do, however, have an International Drivers License from Thailand). It has been on my to-do list for four years.