Prof.Dr. Samlee Plianbangchang


Prof.Dr. Samlee Plianbangchang
former WHO Regional Director,
Southeast Asia Regional
“Global Health and Strengthening Health Care System for Infectious Disease Control”

          Dr. Samlee Plianbangchang joined World Health Organizations as Regional Director for South-East Asia Region for two terms between 2004-2014 with duty station in New Delhi, India.  Formerly Dean, College of Public Health of Chulalongkorn University Bangkok, Thailand and Adviser to Minister of Public Health, the Royal Thai Government; Dr. Samlee Plianbangchang had also been serving  Deputy Regional Director and Director, Programme Management of the World Health Organization Regional Office for South-East Asia.

          He started working with  WHO in January 1984 and retired from appointed post in June 2000.  During this period, he had also held other positions at WHO/SEARO, i.e. Consultant in Primary Health Care; Senior Regional Planning Officer; and Director, Disease Prevention and Control.  After departure from WHO in 2000, he was invited to be Senior Analyst / Special Adviser to the WHO Director-General in Budget and Management Reform at the World Health Organization Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

          Before joining the World Health Organization, Dr. Samlee Plianbangchang had been working with the Ministry of Public Health, Thailand.  He started his career in 1965 as a medical officer assigned in various capacities, i.e. medical intern at one of the provincial hospitals in the Northeast; acting medical officer at the first class health centers in one of the Northeast districts; medical officer of a special unit to counter insurgency in the same region; medical officer at infections Disease Hospital in a province near Bangkok; a teacher at Health Training Center for the Central Region; second and then first grade medical officer of health Training Division of Department of Health; Director, Technical Division of Department of Medical Services; and Director, Office of the National Advisory Board for Disease prevention and Control.

          Dr. Samlee Plianbangchang graduated with the degree equivalent to M.D. (Medical Doctor) from the University of Medical Sciences in Bangkok; obtained Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (M.P.H. & T.M.) and doctor of Public Healthy (Dr. P.H.) from Tulane University, and Certificate of Comprehensive Health Planning for Senior Health Administrators from Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, both in U.S.A.  He was certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine to be a specialist in public health, and by the Thai Medical Council to be a specialist in preventive; medicine; awarded a gold medal by Tulane University for the best doctoral dissertation in 1972; and selected to be a member of Delta Omega (ETA Chapter) which is one of the prestigious American public health professional societies.

          In 2004, Dr. Samlee received a degree of Doctor of Public Health, Honoris Causa, from Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand, for his academic achievements and outstanding professional services.  In 2007 he received honorary doctoral degree in philosophy (public health from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.  In 2013, Thammasat University conferred him with an Honorary Doctoral degree in public health, and in this sent year he was granted an Honorary Doctorate in Medical Sciences by the Government of Democratic  People Republic of Korea

          On returning from WHO to his own country in 2000, he was appointed to be senior Adviser on International Health by Ministry of Public Health, and Senior Adviser on Human Resource Development by the College of Public Health, Chulalongkorn University, and by the same University to be Senior Specialist in Public Health.  Then he become Dean of the College in 2001 until February 2004

          Before joining WHO, Dr. Samlee Plianbangchang had been continuously attending meetings for 10 years of the WHO Governing Bodies, especially the Regional Committee for South-East Asia and World Health Assembly as standing member of the Thai delegation.  He was member and secretary of the National Organizing Committee for the 30th session of the WHO South-East Asia Regional Committee held in Bangkok in 1977; Thailand representative on the Joint Coordinating Board (JCB) of WHO/World Bank/United Nations Development Programme Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) from 1980 to 1984; member and secretary of the Royal Thai Government and WHO Coordination Committee during the same period.

          He had been member and secretary of the National Organizing Committee for World Health Day between 1974 and 1984; Chairman, National Organizing Committee for the 3rd Regional Meeting of the Directors of Medical Research Councils and Analogous Bodies of the Countries in WHO South-East Asia Region hosted by the Royal Thai Government in 1982; and General Secretary of the National Organizing Committee for the 4th meeting of the joint Coordination Board of WHO/WB/UNDP Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Disease (TDR) held in Bangkok in 1984.

          Dr. Samlee Plianbangchang has always been recognized nationally as an outstanding public health professional and administrator; and internationally as an outstanding health expert, administrator and manager, especially in health development planning and management and programme development and management.  While working with WHO he had always been admired by the Member States in South-East Asia Region for his most efficient and effective handling of the development and management of the WHO Programme to support health development in the Region.  He had devoted his extraordinary and efforts in supporting  the strengthening and development of public health infrastructure in the Region, with overriding priority on education and training of public health work force.  He spearheaded the revitalizing of PHC approach in the Region through promoting and supporting research and development that led to the innovation that could improve the effectiveness of the approach.

August 2014


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