Jong-Won Kang

Chungbuk National University, South Korea

The Fogarty International Center’s MISMS program utilizes a number of collaborative mechanisms, including the support of visiting fellows who perform research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In the past, visiting fellows for the MISMS program have come from France, Italy, Taiwan, and Brazil. Here we spotlight Dr. Kang, a researcher from South Korea who will spend a year at the Fogarty International Center, learning techniques to analyze the impact of influenza on Korean mortality.

Dr. Kang received his MD from the Seoul National University in 1991. He became interested in public health during his second year of medical school and followed his medical training with an MPH in infectious disease
epidemiology at the School of Public Health, also at Seoul National University. His Masters thesis dealt with the impact of a cigarette price increase on smoking and mortality in Korean men. He obtained his doctorate in Preventive Medicine in 1999, and has since worked as a professor and researcher at the Chungbuk National University College of Medicine. His recent research has involved such disparate topics as cancer epidemiology, menopause, and the effects of video games on hormone levels and musculoskeletal disorders in young Korean men.

Dr. Kang received funding from the Chungbuk National University to spend a year at NIH learning and applying analytical techniques to Korean mortality data from 1991-2005. He will look at cause-specific (influenza, pneumonia, all respiratory diseases, all cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cerebrovascular disease, ischemic heart disease, hypertension and cancer) and all-cause mortality by age groups and over time. In Korea he found himself working on many projects and tasks at once, so he appreciates being able to focus on influenza full-time at Fogarty and looks forward to documenting his research results in a manuscript.

In addition to all of the traditional essentials that one packs when moving half a world away, Dr. Kang and his family packed a year’s supply of nori (a type of seaweed), fearing that they would be unable to purchase this in the United States. Happily, he has discovered that he can find most of the Korean ingredients they need at Korean and Asian grocery stores, including nori. Their children (8 and 10) are enjoying their time in elementary school, and his wife is keeping busy taking English classes at the local library. When they return to Korea in December 2007, Dr. Kang hopes to continue his research in the prevention and control of infectious diseases and to continue collaborations with MISMS and Fogarty.