Leading authority on Korean infectious diseases who worked on the frontline in the battle against contagion Established the basis for modernmedical education at Seoul National Univ., Catholic Univ. and Inje Univ.
(Late) Chun Chong Hwee
Former Professor at Catholic University (1913~2007)
- Academic background
Graduated from Gyeongseong Medical School
M.D., Gyeongseong Imperial College
- Professional career
Deputy Specialist, Gyeongseong Imperial College
Assistant Professor, Gyeongseong Girls' Medical School
Professor, College of Medicine, Seoul National Univ.
President, Korean Society of Infectious Diseases
Professor, College of Medicine, Catholic Univ.; President, St. Mary Hospital
President, Korean Association of Immunologistsl
Professor, College of Medicine, Inje Univ.l
Samil Culture & Academy Award
Order of Civil Merit, Camellia Medal
Official Commendation by the President of ROK
Seonggok Academy & Culture Award
Professor Chong-Hwee Chun was the first infectious disease clinician in Korea and a pioneer medical scientist who established the framework for the treatment of, and research on, infectious diseases.
Pioneer of research on infectious diseases prevalent in Korea
He was born in Seongjin-gun, Hamgyeongbuk-do in 1913 and he graduated from Boseong High School and entered Gyeongseong Medical School (future Seoul Nationa University). He studied with Professor Inje Paik and Professor Ki-rye Jang at Gyeongseong Medical School and he maintained close relations with them through collaborative research, as well as cooperation in religion beliefs and affinity in life philosophy. Graduating from Gyeongseong Medical School, he served Gyeongseong Municipal Sunhwa Hospital, which had a specialty in infectious disease, and as an assistant deputy specialist. Back then, Gyeongseong was known as the city of infectious diseases with around 2,000 infectious disease patients a year. When working for the hospital, he published four clinical case research papers on the patients hospitalized for Japanese encephalitis and estivoautumnal malaria. Of them, the case of estivoautumnal malaria was the first such case found in Korea.
In 1937, he moved to department of internal medicine at Gyeonseong Imperial College. He published a paper there showing that there are greater number of patients with hypotension in Korea than in the UK, USA, Germany and Japan through an analysis of clinical data. Later in 1939, at the end of his training, he began research activities as unpaid deputy specialist for Pathology Class of Gyeongseong Imperial College where he acquired a M.D. degree. He took charge of autopsy without being granted a formal position and was able to study pathology systematically, participating in d ocumentation of autopsy cases, the preparation of histopathological samples and discussions on autopsy cases. He got his M.D. degree in 1945 with a research paper entitled, "Opinions on iron in human gastrointestine, liver, spleen, kidney and medulla" which was published by the Japan Pathology Society and seven other papers including "Clinical observation of Korean encephalitis".
Promoter of prevention of epidemics for those who struggled in poor environments
Just after the liberation, Seoul was la breeding ground of various infectious diseases such as cholera, smallpox, typhus, typhoid, encephalitis, etc. because of poor living and hygiene environments and the large number of people gathered there from around the country. As the founding director of the Dept. of Infectious Diseases, College of Medicine, at Seoul National Univ., he took charge of the treatment of all the patients crowded together there. Under the situation, he succeeded in separating the Japanese encephalitis virus via the autopsy of a dead patient with the consent of the bereaved. He continued the research on Japanese encephalitis and became known as 'Enciphalitis Doctor'. Also, during the pandemics of cholera in 1946 and in 1963, he took charge of quarantine, working to curb cholera and treating patients at the forefront of the epidemic. During the Korean War, he actively worked in a variety of areas relating to infectious diseases, as Quarantine & Health Committee member of the Ministry of Health, Quarantine Advisor to the national army, air force and navy, Quarantine Committee member of Seoul and Busan cities, and Committee member of Army Hemorrhagic Fever Research Group. He went beyond academic research on infectious diseases, participating in the response to the epidemic himself and he determined the causes of the epidemic, as well as implementing quarantine and treatment activities. He we commonly acknowledged as the leading authority on infectious diseases.
Educator who devoted himself to the preparation of modern principles for medical education in Korea
Later, he transferred to Internal Medicine Class, College of Medicine, Seoul National Univ. as a professor, where he was until he traveled for training in medical education and advanced medical technologies in USA for a year in 1955 under the Minnesota Project. After he returned to Korea, Dr. Chun introduced American-style clinical education system and training system to improve Korean medical education while he continued to write articles on, or have interviews with the media, to inform the public about his activities. He convened a 'Joint Seminar on Contagion' along with professors from many departments at Korean medical colleges in 1959, which later produced the Korea Chemical Treatment Society and the Korea Society of Infectious Diseases. In 1964, he moved to Internal Medicine Department of the Faculty of Medicine, Catholic Univ. where he produced outstanding academic achievements over 14 years until he retired in 1978. During that period, he took the office of President of St. Mary Hospital of Myungdong three times as well as President of Korea Society of Infectious Diseases (2nd ~ 8th), President of Korea Internal Medicine Society, 3rd President of Graduate School of Catholic Univ., and President of Korean Association of Immunologists (1st ~4th).
Retiring from the service, he served as the founding dean of Inje Medical College and he prepared the framework for medical education. He also introduced a class for the Introduction of Medicine, that falls into the category of medical humanities study today, for the first time in a Korean medical school. In 1993, he retired from the medical education and wrote memoirs and worked as an advisor doctor for Chukryeong Evangelical Hospital, etc. In 1999, he was awarded the Seonggok Academy and Culture Award (Natural Science Area), and recognized for his lifetime devotions to the research of infectious diseases. In 2010, he was selected for the 'Hall of Fame' by the Korean Academy of Medical Sciences and recognized for his achievements in the development of the Korean medical studies. All these efforts demonstrate that Professor Chun was a clinical doctor who developed the study of infectious diseases and an educator who devoted a long period of 46 years for medical education.