Chan Theary, MPH
has been the Executive Director of RACHA for nine years. She is a graduate of Midwifery and Nursing, and obtained her Master's Degree in Public Health from the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, Netherlands. She has more than 20 years of work experience in Cambodia and internationally, including nine years of management and advisory experience with HealthNet International and two years working as the visiting resident midwife at Hospital General in Paris and Romans, France. She completed an Advisory Skills Course organized by the Management for Development Foundation in Ede, Netherlands and has attended various international trainings and workshops.
Her fervent passion to serve women and newborns is demonstrated by her courage at a young age to work for more than a decade in the maternity ward of the refugee camp hospital where she eventually became the chief midwife. She engaged in advocacy and promoted maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) among poor and vulnerable refugee women. In 1989, she was invited as speaker on the topic "Women's health issues in the Refugee Camp" in Australia at the conference sponsored by the Refugee Council of Australia and St. Margaret's Maternity Hospital in Sydney.
Her enthusiasm to promote whole health for MNCH has been sustained as she leads RACHA in implementing broad-based health programs aiming to help curb maternal and child mortality rates in the country. She has written many research papers in the field of MNCH, worked on community empowerment and local structure strengthening, and supported cooperation between international donors, the government and other stakeholders to promote programs which better the health of Cambodians.
Apart from promoting MNCH, in 2002 she was instrumental in the making of a Dutch documentary film entitled Deacon of Death that documented some atrocities during the Khmer Rouge regime, which won the Golden Calf award from the Netherlands Film Festival in 2004 for best long documentary.
In 2012, under her leadership, RACHA received a gold medal and certificate signed by the Prime Minister in recognition of its outstanding contribution to the rehabilitation and development of the nation. Theary also received a personal gold medal and certificate award from the Government of Cambodia in recognition of her strategic vision and exceptional leadership of a local NGO. In the same year, she was also awarded by the US Embassy-Cambodia as the 2012 "Woman of Courage."
Please click here to read a feature article about Chan Theary and her work in USAID's news publication, Frontlines.