Taiwanese Journal of Psychiatry

: 2023  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 5--7

In memoriam: Cheng-Chung Chen, M.D., Ph.D., 1957–2023

Su-Ting Hsu 
 Department of Community Psychiatry, Kaohsiung Municipal Kai-Syuan Psychiatric Hospital, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan

Correspondence Address:
Su-Ting Hsu
No. 130, Kai-Syuan Second Road, Lingya District, Kaohsiung City 802

How to cite this article:
Hsu ST. In memoriam: Cheng-Chung Chen, M.D., Ph.D., 1957–2023.Taiwan J Psychiatry 2023;37:5-7

How to cite this URL:
Hsu ST. In memoriam: Cheng-Chung Chen, M.D., Ph.D., 1957–2023. Taiwan J Psychiatry [serial online] 2023 [cited 2023 May 28 ];37:5-7
Available from: http://www.e-tjp.org/text.asp?2023/37/1/5/372645

Full Text

Chen-Chung Chen [Photo 1] passed away on January 12, 2023, just half a year having enjoyed his retirement life, and a month short of his 66th birthday. He was survived by Su-Hwan, wife; Chieh, daughter; and Huai, son.[INLINE:1]

Cheng-Chung Chen received his M.D. degree in 1982 from the College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical College (KMC, now re-named as Kaohsiung Medical University, KMU), and Doctor of Philosophy from the Graduate Institute of Medicine, KMC (now the Graduate Institute of Medicine, KMU) in 1996. For professional development, he had received a one-year fellowship training at the Department of Psychiatry, the University of California at Irving (1989–1990).

During his residency at KMC, he followed Jung-Kwang Wen into Long Fa Tang to unveil the mystery of the place and wrote a legacy report of a cultural psychiatry study project “A comparative study on the help-seeking behaviors and rehabilitation model of patients with chronic mental illness (1983–1986)” [1],[2],[3], supported by Taiwan National Science Council.

From 1994 to 2000, he was appointed as the chair of the Department of Medical Sociology and Social Work at KMC and actively trained social workers. In 2004, he was appointed as the vice superintendent of Tsyr-Huey Mental Hospital, owned by Kaohsiung Jen-Ai Homes Private Foundation, to help Wen earn the accreditation of the psychiatric teaching hospital. This hospital was the first accredited private psychiatric teaching hospital in Taiwan.

Effective in 2007, he had served as the superintendent of Kaohsiung Municipal Kai-Syuan Psychiatric Hospital (KSPH) for seven years. He was also elected as the president of the Taiwanese Society of Psychiatry (TSOP) for two two-year terms. At that time, he was the first TSOP president from the southern part of Taiwan. Chen was also the first TSOP president who did not come from a medical center or a public psychiatric hospital, starting the era of diversified TSOP membership.

 Launching Compulsory Community Treatment to Enhance Human Rights Protection in Taiwan: The First Country in Asia

The second version of the Mental Health Act (MHA) in Taiwan was enacted in 2007 and became effective in 2008. This MHA Amendment made Taiwan the first country in Asia to make community treatment mandatory, and significantly increased the standard of human rights protection [4]. From 2007 to 2011, when Chen was the TSOP president, he helped the Department of Health of Central Government revise relevant sub-laws and establish the Mental Illness Mandatory Assessment and Community Treatment Review Committee (MIMACTRC) with his expertise and devotion. At that time, the pioneer and trial period was about six months, including more than 20 sessions of promotion training and member recruitment training, enabling the establishment of the MIMACTRC system smoothly. The MHA Amendment of 2007 has been implemented and recognized by human rights organizations to fulfill the objectives of human rights protection in the Act. This law has been in effect for more than a decade and has enabled Taiwan to develop steadily and sustainably with regard to the human rights of persons with mental illness and the protection of their rights in receiving needed treatments.

 Internationalizing Taiwan's Psychiatry

During his presidency, Chen also led the TSOP to host the 2nd World Congress of Asian Psychiatry (2nd WCAP) of the Asia Federation of Psychiatric Associations (AFPA) in 2009 in Taipei, Taiwan. The 2nd WCAP was brought to the TSOP in by Naotaka Shinfuku (Japan), the founding president of the AFPA. He was born in Kaohsiung during World War II. With his 13-year international valuable experiences at Western Pacific office at the World Health Organization, Shinfuku had taught Taiwanese psychiatrist colleagues how to organize an international psychiatric congress. The 2nd WCAP had more than 700 delegates with a half of them being from overseas, and became the largest international psychiatric congress ever held in Taiwan.

Chen also contributed to the collaboration of Asian psychiatrists through helping Naotaka hold the first board meeting of the AFPA at the 2nd WCAP, laying the foundation of continuing development of the AFPA. Chen also strived for holding the 11th Asian Bioethics Conference in Taiwan in 2011.

Chen led a large number of Taiwanese delegates to attend the World Congress of Psychiatry (WCP) of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2011. He also brought the Regional Congress of the WPA (WPARC) in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, in 2013. Due to his active participation in the activities in the WPA, Chen was honored with a WPA personal honorable member by Ruis Pedro (USA), the president of the WPA at that time, at the WCP of the WPA in Madrid, Spain, in 2014. Later, the TSOP was honored to host an International Congress of the WPA (WPAIC) in Taipei in 2015, one year after Chen had stepped down from the TSOP presidency.

In addition, Chen appointed Winston W. Shen as the editor-in-chief of Taiwanese Journal of Psychiatry, which is a step forward in bringing the journal into an all-in-English publication, to keep up with the international standards. He helped design the cover page of the TJP with a map of Taiwan [Photo 2]. In 2022, 42% (16 out of 48) of contributed articles of the entire volume the TJP were written by international authors [5].[INLINE:2]

 Allying Mental Health Professionals of Southeast Asian Countries to Promote Taiwan's Community Care Model

Since 2011, Chen had led KSPH to pioneer forming alliances with Southeast Asian countries, making KSPH the earliest and most frequent hospital among Kaohsiung municipal hospitals to contact mental health professionals of Southeast Asian countries. After many years of hard work, the colleagues of KSPH have established sister hospitals with hospitals in Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, and Malaysia, and had signed memoranda of cooperation with many health-care institutions [Photo 1].

Chen's yearly dedication, step by step, had imprinted a profound international friendship that has enabled the smooth outreach of Taiwan's community psychiatric care model for the benefit of more patients with mental illness in Southeast Asia [6]. In 2018, under the supporting grants of the Ministry of Health and Welfare's New Southward Policy, the International Mental Health Cooperation and Training Center (IMHCTC), Taiwan, was formed with an office at KSPH, and has been operated by Chen's great enthusiasm and devotion. The IMHCTC is composed of six-leading psychiatric hospitals and one university in Taiwan, namely, KSPH, Taoyuan Psychiatric Center of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taipei Veterans General Hospital - Yuli Branch, Tri-Service General Hospital - Beitou Branch, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, KMU - Chung-Ho Memorial Hospital, and National Sun Yat-Sen University and to collaborate with international psychiatric institutions by exchanging knowledge and introducing Taiwan's distinguished community psychiatric rehabilitation programs as well as hospital management. The IMHCTC offers professional training. Till now, it has benefited 696 mental health workers from Southeast Asian countries and offers professional teaching overseas for 628 psychiatrists and mental health professionals. Since 2011, he had led 24 trips to Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, and other countries, fully supporting the New Southward policy and contributing to international medical diplomacy. He also shared those oversea experiences openly and generously on many occasions, including hosting symposia in the annual meetings of TSOP for several years in a row.

 Supporting the Mental Health Policy and Promoting Innovative Community Programs

In the past 10 years, Taiwan has experienced many major disasters. Chen led all of his colleagues to devote themselves to the psychological first aid and reconstruction of serious disasters such as the Morakot Typhoon, the China Airline Crash in the Penghu Airplane Disaster, and the Kaohsiung Gas Explosion when he was the superintendent of KSPH. His devotion and leadership in providing timely and needed psychological care in these disasters had been recognized by the central and local governments.

In addition, under the call of the Ministry of Health and Welfare's mental health policy, Chen had been served as a leading character, either the project director or an active consultant, of the National Management and Coordination Centers (NMCC) of two major nationwide projects since 2015. One is the Medical Service Quality Promotion Project for Child and Adolescent Patients with Mental Disabilities and Psychiatric Disorders in Taiwan and the other is the Improving Quality of Hospitals' Community Care Project for People with Psychiatric Disorders in Taiwan. He brought psychiatric care to the more disadvantaged and desperately needed people in the community. He was the chief convener of the two NMCCs, planning the steering mechanism and actively participating in inter-hospital coordination meetings, expert meetings, and on-site counseling visits to various hospitals and prefectures.

From 2015 to 2022, Chen helped the NMCC for “Medical Service Quality Promotion Project for Child and Adolescent Patients with Mental Disabilities and Psychiatric Disorders in Taiwan” to hold 16 national inter-institutional coordination meetings and 11 presentations/working meetings, and visited Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan Christian Presbyterian Church's Mackay Memorial Hospital, Chang Gung Medical Corporation's Lin Kou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan Psychiatric Center of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, National Cheng Kung University Medical College Hospital, and Hualien Armed Forces General Hospital, and conducted 24 counseling visits. During the period of 2015–2021, he assisted the NMCC for “Improving Quality of Hospitals' Community Care Project for People with Psychiatric Disorders in Taiwan” to hold 12 national inter-institutional coordination meetings, 5 expert meetings, and 7 working meetings, and conducted 9 on-site assessments at the Beitou Branch of the Tri-Service General Hospital, Taoyuan Psychiatric Center of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Tsaotun Psychiatric Center of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Jianan Psychiatric Center of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and Hualien Armed Forces General Hospital.

After he retired in July 2022, Chen continued to help implement “Care Optimization Program for the Suspected and People with Psychiatric Conditions in Community” in the second half of 2022, participated in expert meeting and conducting eight site visits to the Health bureaus of Changhua County, Keelung City, and Yilan County to urge the promotion of public health programs under the “Social Safety Net” policy.

Chen had devoted his life to the field of psychiatry, especially of psychopharmacology, for more than 30 years, and had made outstanding contributions to the advancement of community programs. He was also actively involved in psychiatric drug development and innovative technology projects. He had led 17 international clinical trials of new psychiatric drugs and 13 projects supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, and had contributed to new drug development and mental health innovation projects. He had long served as a site visitor for the TSOP and as an evaluator for hospitals and psychiatric rehabilitation organizations for the Joint Commission of Taiwan. He had traveled extensively throughout Taiwan. His coaching style was sharp but warm, with an emphasis on teaching rather than blaming, and had benefited countless people. Besides, he had led the Mental Health Family of Kaohsiung branch of the Mental Health Foundation since 2009 to advance community mental health. In 2020, he was awarded the “Third Class Health and Welfare Professional Medal” by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

Throughout his life, Chen had an agreeable personality with cheerfulness and humor, a sincere and enthusiastic approach to patients and others around him, and a tireless commitment to his work. He was a great rôle model for psychiatrists of our generation to protect the human rights of mental patients, promote international cooperation, and advance public affairs in community psychiatric care. His contributions become a legacy and will remain with us for a long time to come although his death is deeply saddened.


The author thanks Winston W. Shen, Shu-Hui Wang, and Ching-Kuan Wu for their help give information and photos printed in this article.

 Financial Support and Sponsorship


 Conflicts of Interest

The author has no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose.


1Wen JK, Chang LY, Chen CC: A Narrative study of a Buddhist-like institution for people with mental illness in Southern Taiwan: I. charateristicc of the institution's background and its rehabilitation model. Bull Chinese Soc Neurol Psychiatry 1985; 11: 15-24. (in Mandarin).
2Wen JK, Chang LY, Chen CC: A Narrative study of a Buddhist-like institution for people with mental illness in Southern Taiwan: II. clinical data, psychopathology and social functioning of patients, and their short-term prognosis. Bull Chinese Soc Neurol Psychiatry 1985; 11: 25-39. (in Mandarin).
3Wen JK, Chang LY, Chen CC: A Narrative study of a Buddhist-like institution for people with mental illness in Southern Taiwan: III. analysis of the behavior of patients' families. Bull Chinese Soc Neurol Psychiatry 1985; 11: 40-50. (in Mandarin).
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6Hsu ST, Yang DW, Hsieh KY, et al.: Integrating the global community: the international collaboration with Southeast Asia of Kai-Syuan Psychiatric Hospital. Taiwan J Psychiatry 2017; 31: 300-8.