Who is Priscilla Chan?

The pediatrician and education entrepreneur sits at the helm of two companies that integrate both fields

Priscilla Chan, also known as Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg, is a pediatrician and education entrepreneur who sits at the helm of two companies that have a heavy focus on both fields.

Born in 1985, Chan moved to Massachusetts with her family when she was a teenager and attended Quincy High School. Prior to graduation, Chan was named valedictorian and delivered a graduation speech inspired by Dr. Seuss, according to The New York Times.

In 2003, she entered Harvard University where she would later meet her future husband, founder and CEO of FacebookMark Zuckerberg. The power couple first crossed paths while at Zuckerberg’s fraternity party, Business Insider reported. The couple has since been together for almost two decades and now have two children together.


Chan received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the world-renowned institution before heading to California in 2008 to receive her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco, according to LinkedIn.

Priscilla Chan, co-founder of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative LLC, stands for a photograph after a Bloomberg Technology television interview in San Francisco, California, on Jan. 24, 2019. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

From there, Chan completed her pediatrics residency at the UCSF Medical Center.

Up until 2017, she worked as a pediatrician at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, according to LinkedIn.

The hospital was renamed in 2015 after the power couple donated $75 million to the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation, the hospital’s fundraising arm, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The hospital serves as both a community hospital and level-one trauma center that provides “world-class care” for everyone in the community regardless of their ability to pay or immigration status, according to the hospital website.


During her time at the hospital, Chan co-founded the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative alongside her husband.

Founded in 2015, the organization bills itself as a “new kind of philanthropy" that uses technology to address societal challenges such as preventing and eradicating disease, improving learning experiences for kids and reforming the criminal justice system.

Its mission is to build a more “inclusive, just, and healthy future.”

“Priscilla’s work with patients and students in communities across the Bay Area has informed her desire to make learning more personalized, find new paths to manage and cure disease, and expand opportunity for more people.”

- Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Aside from this, Chan is also the co-founder and current board chair of The Primary School.


In 2016, Priscilla teamed up with Meredith Liu, who worked in education for more than a decade, to figure out how to better support children in keeping them both healthy and thriving in the classroom, according to The Primary School website.

After speaking with teachers, health professionals, social workers and people from diverse organizations, Liu and Chan “validated their hypothesis that health issues and trauma were frequently preventing underserved children from thriving in the classroom and that the education and health care systems were ill-equipped to respond,” The Primary School website reads.

The Primary School opened its first site that year. Since then, it has grown to serves hundreds of families and children in the East Palo Alto and Hayward, California, areas.

In 2018, Chan was named one of the world’s most powerful women by Forbes.