Chen Kung-Pei, born in Taipei in 1917, received his bachelor’s degree from Keio University in Japan and then taught at the department of medicine at Taihoku Imperial University. In 1951, Chen received his MD from Keio University. In the same year, he was enrolled in the University of Minnesota and received a master’s degree in public health in 1952. After graduation, Chen worked for the Ministry of Health in Taiwan till 1955 when he became the dean of the Department of Public Health in Medical School of Taiwan University, and the director of the Public Health Institution. In 1960, Chen returned to the United States to study at Harvard University’s School of Public Health where he received a Doctor of Public Health degree. After that, Chen served as a consultant at United Nations World Health Organization.
In 1969, Chen served as a guest professor at Washington University for a year. In 1970, he was invited to give a speech at the prestigious Cutter Lecture on Preventative Medicine.
In Taiwan, Chen Kung-Pei is considered as “the Father of Public Health”. After his death, Taiwan University established Chen Kung-Pei Preventive Medical Foundation to recognize his outstanding achievements. The foundation has established a scholarship to support students studying public health at Taiwan University. Since 1998, this scholarship has supported three students each year.
In 1972, Chen received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the University of Minnesota, which is the highest honor for alumni.