Former Clinician Alain Chan Finds Opportunity to Expand Impact, Develop Personally and Professionally
Executive Director, Medical Affairs
China Medical Affairs
Location: Shanghai, China
Joined Gilead: July 2012
Alain Chan, Executive Director, Medical Affairs at Gilead’s China affiliate, leads a team responsible for engaging with medical communities across the country to help advance care for people living with serious diseases such as HIV, viral hepatitis and invasive fungal infections. Read about some of Alain’s most memorable experiences working at Gilead for more than nine years and in roles on two continents.
Q: What drew you to your field and how did you come to work at Gilead?
A: Before joining Gilead, I was a clinician at a liver transplant center in Honolulu. My clinic participated in many of Gilead’s clinical studies. Through my interactions with the Gilead team, I came to appreciate everyone’s professionalism, commitment to science and support for patients. I originally joined the Medical Affairs team at Gilead in Foster City, Calif., in 2012 as the company was preparing to launch its first curative treatments for hepatitis C virus (HCV). During my time at Gilead, I’ve had the opportunity to lead and be part of incredible teams in the United States, in Hong Kong and, since 2019, in my current role in Shanghai.
Q: What was your most memorable day at Gilead, and what made it special?
A: After more than nine years at Gilead it’s hard to pick just one! So I’ll highlight two. Helping coordinate activities related to the launch of a new treatment for hepatitis B virus at The Liver Meeting in 2016 was something I’ll never forget. Many months of planning, preparation and excellent teamwork came to fruition. It was a truly memorable moment and made me very proud to be a part of such a great team.
The other day I’ll always remember is when I received a peer-nominated award for inclusive leadership. It was a humbling experience to have my colleagues recognize my contributions to the inclusive and collaborative environment we’ve created together.
Q: Tell us about a time you really felt the impact of your work.
A: Before joining Gilead, when I was working as a clinician, a patient of mine who was living with HCV tried two courses of older treatments that had terrible side effects and were not successful in achieving a cure. After I had joined Gilead, I learned that he ended up being cured following treatment with a more recently approved HCV medicine such as those Gilead helped advance. He was overjoyed when he achieved “HCV-free” status and emailed me with the news. No longer living with HCV, he said he felt empowered to start planning for his future. It feels amazing to work for a company with the potential to play a significant role in these types of positive health outcomes.
Q: What do the company’s efforts to prioritize equity, inclusion and diversity mean to you?
A: Gilead’s focus on equity is incredibly important to me as someone who has seen the importance of this firsthand through my work as a healthcare provider. Achieving equity means that more people can benefit from innovative treatments regardless of who they are or where they live, which contributes to better public health across the globe. Prioritizing inclusion and diversity is also crucial for a global company to enable employees of all different backgrounds to learn from and understand each other, drive innovation, and create a cohesive, collaborative culture. Having Inclusion in the company’s Core Values helps ensure we never lose sight of this.
Q: What have you gained personally from your experience here?
A: Working at Gilead has been life-changing for me. I’m honored to work with and learn from many talented people across the world. In my time here, I have been able to gain a holistic view of global healthcare systems while contributing to scientific advances in my field and making a positive impact on the health of individuals facing serious illnesses.