Sue Lin

Dr. Sue Lin is the Quality Division Director, Office of Quality Improvement, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The profile below was written in 2014 when Dr. Lin was a doctoral candidate in the the Ph.D. program in epidemiology.

Sue came to public health with a mind for engineering and a heart for vulnerable populations.

The doctoral candidate in Epidemiology is a full-time senior advisor at Health Resources and Services Administration, where she helps improve the transitional system for young adults with disabilities who are entering college. She decided to simultaneously pursue her Ph.D. at the University of Maryland School of Public Health after directing a CDC grant and becoming inspired to learn the language of public health as an engineer, she said.  

Originally from Taiwan, Sue came to the United States after high school when she attended the University of Washington and the University of Michigan. She became interested in children and youth with special healthcare needs. Currently, the transition into adulthood for youth with special needs is not a smooth one, Sue said. When a young adult is graduating high school, families feel a serious impact when the benefits and services provided by public schools abruptly stop.

Sue’s mission was to help improve the system for young adults with disabilities entering college. She began taking classes at the University of Maryland at the same time the School of Public Health was forming and pursuing accreditation. The idea of being part of a school that was at the beginning of its formulation and watching it grow was very appealing, Sue said. She focused on bio-statistical classes but also allowed herself to become challenged and more well rounded with a few health behavior classes.

“In looking at every problem I use the engineering principles of isolating the… intermittent goals that we need to build on top of each other to reach the main goal.”

The best part? Sue was able to directly apply classroom lessons to job situations.  

“Each week I go to class I can pretty much take most of the information back to work with me,” she said.  “It’s been a really fruitful process for me…and fun.”

Sue plans to continue her work for the federal government and hopes to have a lasting impact on policies and programs that will improve the health development and life course trajectory for children with special health needs.

Published April 21, 2014