Dr. Chen considers it a privilege to serve as the Principal Investigator for the Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness Research and Training (AANCART) since its initial founding in April 2000, when he was a Professor at The Ohio State University. In July 2002, he joined the faculty in the Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis and became the Co-Leader of the Cancer Etiology, Prevention, and Control Program at the UC Davis Cancer Center in Sacramento. He took AANCART with him on his move to Sacramento, transferring the national headquarters to the UC Davis Cancer Center.
Dr. Chen became initially interested in Asian American health issues after he read an article that depicted the bimodal characteristics of Asian Americans; his interest in cancer control came from his assignment to an enthusiastic cancer surgeon who was a fanatic about making sure no one would die of cancer unnecessarily. He thus integrated his two interests of Asian American health issues with cancer control into a passion. He initiated early community-based health research that eventually led to a national focus on Asian American cancer awareness, research, and training. He has published extensively in the refereed literature about cancer control issues among Asian Americans. For instance, he was the Principal Investigator of the first National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute grant, "Lay-led Smoking Cessation Approach for S.E. Asian men" and has been the PI for over 20 other research grants or supplements targeting Asian American health issues. His work has been recognized with a National Humanitarian Award by the American Cancer Society. In 2004, he served as one of two non-Federal Co-Chairs of the Trans-Health and Human Services Cancer Health Disparities Progress Review Group. Dr. Chen is a Professor, Division of Hemotology & Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine and the Associate Director, Population Research & Cancer Disparities at the UC Davis Cancer Center.