October 18, 2023

5 Questions with Fan Sun

Our monthly check-in with staff from around the world. Learn more about the people who work at CHAI.

Please tell us a bit about your background and what brought you to CHAI.

My name is Fan Sun and I joined CHAI in September 2022 as an Associate on the CHAI China country team. I am currently based in Hainan—the southernmost province in China and the smallest province in the country in terms of land area. I studied French literature and sociology at Renmin University of China and started my professional career at the life sciences consulting company, Kantar Health, after completing a master’s degree at the French business school, ESCP. While at Kantar, I had the opportunity to work on some market access projects that sparked my interest in health policy. So, I did a joint master’s program at the London School of Economics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where I got the opportunity to learn more about CHAI as an organization, and I realized that here, I can combine my interest in health policy with my experience in the private sector and deal with more interesting problems in global health. And it’s really the best decision I have ever made for my career!

1. What does a typical day at CHAI look like for you?

I am currently supporting in two areas—engaging Chinese suppliers to improve access to global health commodities such as diagnostic equipment; and helping to strengthen pediatric cancer diagnostic capacity in Hainan province. The first one is more analytical and involves data analysis, developing models, and advocating for the development of new market shaping opportunities. The latter is more implementation-driven, and what I most like about it is that I have a desk at Hainan Children’s Hospital and share the workspace with doctors and hospital staff; so, I get hands-on experience with helping frontline staff solve urgent problems in real-time.

2. What’s the best thing about your job?

The nature of my work provides a very good combination of analysis and implementation work. I have been able to interact with different stakeholders such as donors, health authorities, health commodity suppliers, hospital managers, and doctors. The experience brings me different perspectives and helps me develop a comprehensive understanding of global health. In addition, moving to Hainan, a culturally very remote and exotic region compared to Beijing or Shanghai where I have lived so far, is very stimulating. The experience has allowed me to explore my home country from a new perspective, which has been very invaluable.

3. What is a motto you live by?

“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other.”

George Eliot.

This motto gives me enormous motivation, energy, and happiness both at work and in my private life.

4. What is your proudest accomplishment at work or in life?

I signed up for a “charity event” that required me to complete a seven-day trek from Cusco to the top of Machu Picchu, Peru to raise money for UNICEF. The trek began in Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire, and took us through remote Andean communities, lush forests, and high mountain passes, all the while carrying all our luggage and tents on our backs. The trail was physically demanding with steep climbs and rocky terrain; I suffered from altitude sickness, but the rewards were abundant, including teaming up with 30 people from all over the world to explore a new culture together. It made me realize that having the opportunity to interact with people from all walks of life makes you become more empathetic, compassionate, and accepting of others.

5. If you could chose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

I am going to wander the streets of Paris, preferably the 5th and 6th arrondissement, capture every scene I encounter, and then create a documentary about that special day so I can remember it for the rest of my life. (Yes! I love Paris that much!)

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