Elizabeth Chen Appointed Secretary of Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs

Apr 8, 2019

Elizabeth Chen, PhD, MBA, MPH has been named Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) effective June 3, 2019. EOEA promotes independence, empowerment, and well-being of older people, individuals with disabilities, and their families in every community in the Commonwealth.

“Our administration is focused on thinking differently about aging and we are committed to supporting Massachusetts’ older adults by promoting a greater quality of life for them,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We welcome the expertise and knowledge that Dr. Chen will bring to Elder Affairs as the new Secretary and look forward to the hard work she will do to build on the progress achieved under former Secretary Alice Bonner that made Massachusetts an age friendly state.”

“Massachusetts has made significant progress in recent years on issues important to older adults like abuse prevention and aging in the community,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We look forward to working alongside Dr. Chen and her team to continue changing lives in the Commonwealth and leading on important elder issues nationally.”

Dr. Chen currently serves as an Assistant Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) where she is responsible for the safety and quality of health care for residents of the Commonwealth seeking services in acute and long-term care settings. At DPH, she oversees the licensing of over 300,000 health care professionals and over 4,500 fixed and mobile care delivery settings. Additionally, she leads the Determination of Need Program, which goals are to advance health care delivery system transformation and improve public health value in circumstances of significant change, such as mergers, transfers of ownership, and substantial capital investment.

Prior to DPH, Dr. Chen served as President and Trustee of the New England College of Optometry and New England Eye Institute.  She has also served as President and CEO of biotech companies, Circe Biomedical and Marathon Biopharmaceuticals. Her academic work focuses on advance care planning when facing late-stage chronic illness.

“Dr. Chen is a respected leader with over 30 years of experience in the public and private sectors and will help advance Massachusetts’ leadership in providing services, protection and support to our older residents,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, who oversees EOEA. “Massachusetts has more residents over the age of 60 than under the age of 20.  We must be intentional in our efforts to support older adults and in helping them age and thrive in the places where they live and work. I am grateful to Robin Lipson who has served as Interim Secretary with grace and skill.”

The Baker-Polito Administration has achieved significant progress for older adults since 2015, including: establishing the first gubernatorial Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts, which recently released a comprehensive blueprint with recommendations on how to promote healthy aging in the Commonwealth; committing the Commonwealth to the Age-Friendly movement, which made Massachusetts only the second state to join AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly States; increasing the EOEA budget every year since 2015; increasing state funding to Councils on Aging to the highest level ever; investing and improving the Protective Services program and funded it at the highest level ever; signing landmark legislation that will improve care for people with dementia; and, training for those who care for them.

“I am honored and thrilled to have this opportunity to lead EOEA and to help further Governor Baker’s goal to make the Commonwealth the most age-friendly state in the nation,” said Elizabeth Chen, PhD, MBA, MPH.

Dr. Chen has a BA from Yale University; an MBA from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School; and, an MPH from Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In 2012, she pursued a PhD in Gerontology full-time from the University of Massachusetts’ McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, and completed its requirements in 3.5 years. Dr. Chen and her family live in Lexington, Massachusetts.