Jeong Eun-kyeong

Jeong Eun-kyeong
Commissioner of Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency
Assumed office
12 September 2020
PresidentMoon Jae-in
Prime MinisterChung Sye-kyun
Kim Boo-kyum
MinisterPark Neung-hoo
Kwon Deok-chul
Preceded byPosition established
Director of KCDC
In office
26 July 2017 – 11 September 2020
PresidentMoon Jae-in
Prime MinisterLee Nak-yeon
Chung Sye-kyun
MinisterPark Neung-hoo
Preceded byJung Ki-seok
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Personal details
Born (1965-07-09) 9 July 1965
Gwangju, South Korea
Alma materSeoul National University
Korean name
Revised RomanizationJeong Eun-gyeong
McCune–ReischauerChŏng Ŭn-gyŏng

Jeong Eun-kyeong or Jung Eun-kyeong (Korean: 정은경; Hanja: 鄭銀敬; born 9 July 1965) is a South Korean infectious disease and public health expert currently serving as the first Commissioner of KDCA, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, from September 2020. Jeong was previously the first woman to lead its preceding agency, KCDC, which history dates back to 1981.[1][2]

During the 2009 swine flu pandemic, Jeong led the Division of Disease Policy at the Ministry of Health and Welfare.[3] In 2015, during the MERS outbreak, she was responsible for press briefings and crisis management[3] as the head of the Center for Disease Prevention of KCDC and field investigation team of central task force.[2] In 2016 Board of Audit and Inspection ordered suspension of nine public health officials including Jeong[4] for their failure to stop the worst MERS outbreak outside of the Middle East.[5] Her suspension was reduced to 1-month of reduced pay after the Board was harshly criticized by the medical and scientific community for only punishing scientists such as Jeong, rather than politicians and administrators in charge.[6][4] From the early stage of COVID-19 outbreak in January 2020, Jeong has held daily briefings to report its status quo and answer questions from reporters by herself and from May 2020 every two days with the other given by the Director of KDCA's KNIH.[7]

Jeong is included in Time's 100 Most Influential People of 2020,[8] BBC's 100 women of 2020[9] and Bloomberg 50.[10]

Director of KCDC

Upon the beginning of President Moon Jae-in's presidency in 2017, Jeong was appointed as the Director of KCDC. She first joined the organization, then-KNIH, as a researcher in 1998 after working at public health office in Yangju. Since then she has been working at the organisation apart from years from 2009 to 2014 when she worked at its parent organization, Ministry of Health and Welfare, as its head of Division of Disease Policy, Division of Healthcare Technology and later Division of Emergency Healthcare.[4] In February 2014 she returned to KCDC to lead its Department of Chronic Disease Control Research and a month later its Center for Disease Prevention. Before promoted as the head of KCDC in 2017, she had led KCDC's Center for Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response from 2016.[11]

Commissioner of KDCA

On 8 September 2020, President Moon designated Jeong as the Commissioner of Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) with her term commencing on 12 September making her as the last Director of KCDC and the first Commissioner of KDCA.[4][12] She will continue to lead the same organization she has served but with more autonomy and resources.[13] On her last day as KCDC Director, President Moon visited its headquarters for Jeong's appointment ceremony as the first Commissioner of KDCA which is unorthodox given that the Prime Minister usually hosts such events for vice-ministerial posts.[14] Jeong is the first person to have their appointment ceremony hosted by the President Moon not to be held at the Blue House.[15]

On 15 January 2021, President Moon requested Jung and KDCA to lead Korea's COVID-19 vaccination programme in addition to ongoing virus containment in the country.[16] Jung is responsible for its inter-departmental cooperation and coordination as vaccines are authorised by Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, transported to the country by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and distributed to vaccination centres by Ministry of National Defense.[17][18]


Jeong holds three degrees from Seoul National University - M.D., a Master's in public health, and a doctorate in preventive medicine.[19]



  1. ^ "Moon names former doctor as KCDC head". KBR (in Korean). 27 July 2017. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  2. ^ a b "정은경 질병관리본부장…전염병 관리 첫 여성사령탑" [Jeong Director of KCDC... first woman chief] (in Korean).
  3. ^ a b "The Virus Hunter Showing the World How to Fight an Epidemic". 20 March 2020. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d 이혜인 (8 September 2020). "초대 질병관리청장 정은경 이력은… 보건소 진료의사로 공공의료 첫 발". (in Korean). Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  5. ^ "2015 MERS outbreak in Republic of Korea". Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  6. ^ "질본 "방역현장 일한 게 죄…의사 공무원들만 희생양인가"".
  7. ^ "[헬로디디]코로나 126일만에···질본 브리핑 건너뛴다, 주6일 체제". 헬로디디 (in Korean). 24 May 2020. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  8. ^ a b "Jung Eun-kyeong: The 100 Most Influential People of 2020". Time. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  9. ^ a b "BBC 100 Women 2020: Who is on the list this year?". BBC News. 23 November 2020. Retrieved 23 November 2020.
  10. ^ "The Bloomberg 50". Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  11. ^ "본부장 악력" [Director profile] (in Korean).
  12. ^ 이치동 (8 September 2020). "(LEAD) KCDC chief tapped as head of new state disease control agency". Yonhap News Agency. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  13. ^ "질병관리본부, 12일 '질병관리청' 승격…정원 42% 늘어". (in Korean). 8 September 2020. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  14. ^ 이치동 (11 September 2020). "(LEAD) Chief of new disease control agency appointed in special ceremony at her local office". Yonhap News Agency. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  15. ^ Foundation, The Korea International Broadcasting. "한국을 대표하는 글로벌 방송! The World On Arirang!". Moon appoints Jeong Eun-kyeong as head of new Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency : ARIRANG. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  16. ^ 이해아 (15 January 2021). "Moon orders KDCA chief to lead COVID-19 vaccination program with 'full authority'". Yonhap News Agency. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  17. ^ NEWSIS (15 January 2021). "文대통령 "백신 접종, 정은경 청장이 전권 갖고 지휘하라"(종합)". newsis (in Korean). Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  18. ^ "Pres. Moon: Public Trust in Vaccine Process Most Important". Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  19. ^ "Moon names former doctor as KCDC head – Korea Biomedical Review". 27 July 2017. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  20. ^ "Jeong Eun Kyeong, South Korea's Incomparable Contact Tracer". 3 December 2020. Retrieved 9 December 2020.

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