This month’s outstanding CJ

Dr. Linda J Chen MD

Photograph from The Daily Gleaner

This posting was taken from the Jamaica Daily Gleaner -

Assertive, assiduous, caring and persevering are only a few attributes which capture the essence of Dr Linda Jane Chen.

A great listener, she is blessed with an unrivalled passion to serve. Chen underscores the importance of empathy and humility as critical components for success. She endorses humanism in a demanding and time-consuming scientific-based field. She believes that, "You have to have the ability to step outside yourself and objectively review an experience, ie honest self-analysis. In doing this, you can either replicate behaviours that lead to success or change behaviours that don't. In all things, you have to have the ability to get yourself up and dust yourself off and move on. If I can go to work and change or save someone's life, then every day is a success for me."

Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, she is the product of a Jamaican father and British mother. She credits St Hugh's High School for Girls and Campion College as the catalysts for her hard-work ethic, sense of pride and drive to always do her best.

"I always knew I was going to be a physician since I was a little girl. My father always taught me generosity to others. My mother taught me the value of altruism, volunteerism and gentle compassion. I have taken these important lessons and tried to incorporate them into my life and my work," she explained. She pursued further studies in England and later attended the University of Miami. From there, she worked as a science teacher for a year in Miami at an all-girl Catholic school. Subsequently, she received a medical degree from the University of Wisconsin's School of Medicine. Chen moved to Oakland, California, where she spent seven years training in general surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, and is a board-certified general surgeon. She is currently an assistant professor of clinical surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and surgical director of the Live Kidney Donor Transplant Programme.

Surgical residency

During her surgical residency, she completed a two-year, post-doctoral research fellowship in transplant immunobiology at Stanford University. She developed an interest in transplant surgery and completed a two-year clinical fellowship in paediatric and adult multi-organ transplant surgery at the university. As a clinical instructor in surgery, she became an attending transplant surgeon. She later performed liver, kidney and pancreas transplants for 16 months before finally settling in South Florida. Her primary interest and research goals currently lie in the area of desensitisation of highly sensitised patients and in novel immune suppression approaches to antibody-mediated rejection. This allows patients who would not otherwise be considered to undergo transplantation.

"I have been a physician for 15 years and I wouldn't say that gender concerns have a negative impact on my work. However, both unconscious and conscious biases exist for every professional working woman. Some environments are better than others." Chen is committed to the growth and expansion of the Living Kidney Donor Program through service excellence and superior outcomes. Live donor kidney transplants serve to fast-track patients toward transplantation instead of enduring long wait times on the deceased donor list. She is also active in clinically performing deceased donor kidney and pancreas transplants.

True academician

A true academician, she is engaged in distinguished original research which has filled an important niche in medical literature and has had significant implications for policy. An accomplished writer and co-author, her work has been published extensively. In this regard, she has made a distinctive contribution to educational practice and curriculum development through publications, abstracts and other pieces of ground-breaking qualitative research. Chen is also actively involved in outreach activities, particularly those that affect the lives of the vulnerable. She has participated in radio talk shows to promote organ donation awareness and in fund-raising endeavours for the Transplant Foundation.

"Medicine also allows me to incorporate my core values. The reward of transplant surgery is to save lives or positively change them." Over time, her extensive and ongoing contribution to medicine, education and development has provided valuable insights and significant understanding of the complexity of the human body and the importance of equal opportunity afforded through education. As a member of the Jamaican diaspora, she continues to contribute significantly to development at the international level.

She promotes the need to achieve a balance between life and work/career and enjoys the unique challenges of working in a male-dominated field. She believes that it is important to dispel myths and promote accurate perceptions of a woman surgeon. Her unique position as one of a handful of women surgeons at the Jackson Memorial Hospital and the lone female in her division allows her to work with all types of persons. In asserting her individuality, she has to constantly bridge the gap and deal with unconscious gender bias.

Develop good relationship

She encourages women to develop relationships with key professional mentors. She believes this is critical to developing important networking opportunities for professional advancement. She recommends the wisdom of developing innovative techniques as a woman manager. In terms of coping strategies, she believes it is important to define milestones and accomplishments without hubris. She advises persons who are interested in pursuing a career in medicine, "If you can dream it, you can live it. All you need is the mental fortitude to keep trying and work hard to achieve what you dream."

Chen approaches all hardships with dignity, resilience and integrity, while living with the highest ethical standards. She explains that world travel provides her with the opportunity to experience other cultures, food, interesting conversations and humanity. For relaxation and escape, she also reads historical fiction.

Her invaluable contribution to humanity has not gone unnoticed. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Outstanding Resident Teacher of the Year award, the Annual Surgical Resident Award, and the Transplant Program Supporter of the Year award.


Man reunited with doctor who performed kidney transplant procedure – Dr. Linda Chen MD

Linda J. Chen, M.D.
Surgery - Transplant.

Dr. Chen continues to make the news. Here is the latest on her.

Posted in Newsletter.

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