Jung-Ja Chwe

Born in Busan City, Korea, Jung-Ja Chwe tended orphanages and nursing homes as a teenager.  She also volunteered in a veteran community that housed blinded soldiers.  It was those experiences that inspired her to attend Yonsei University’s College of Nursing.  In 1974, she became an Infection Control Practitioner (Nurse Epidemiologist) at Tuscaloosa’s Veterans’ Administration Medical Center (VAMC).  For twenty years, she offered her care and knowledge to this country’s disabled veterans and consistently obtained a perfect evaluation by the Joint Commission of Accreditation of Hospitals each year.  While at the VAMC, Mrs. Chwe was at the forefront of the AIDS epidemic.  She was the first coordinator of HIV/AIDS care at the VAMC and in doing so, furthered AIDS education among staff members.  Mrs. Chwe sought to improve the healthcare program for employees and the quality assurance program for patients.  In 1990, Mrs. Chwe acquired her MSN from The University of Alabama at Birmingham and completed all the courses required for a DSN.  Even in retirement, Mrs. Chwe has extended her nursing activities by being an honorary board and vision member of the World Christian Nursing Foundation (WCNF) and is the president of the Alabama Chapter of the WCNF.  The Foundation recently built a nursing college in China with the goal of educating nurses who serve underprivileged children and elderly patients.  WCNF also sends nursing missionaries to Third World Countries.  Mrs. Chwe’s international giving does not stop there.  She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Global Korean Nursing Foundation (GKNF).  The GKNF supports cooperative research projects between nursing scientists at home and abroad as well as professional nursing courses offered to Korean and foreign nurses in the United States.  She has been an Ordained Elder and the Choir Director at the Korean Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa since 1992.  Every year, she takes it upon herself to see that every elderly member of the congregation receives their influenza vaccination.  She is the Chairperson of the Racial Ethnic Advisory Cabinet and a member of the Executive Committee of the Synod of Living Waters, PC (USA).  Mrs. Chwe strives to enrich her fellow congregation members spiritually, mentally and physically.  She is a founding Board of Visitors member at the University of Alabama’s Capstone College of Nursing and has recently established The Chwe Endowed Nursing Scholarship for students at the College.  It has been said, “wherever Jung-Ja is called, she goes to help with an armful of love”.  That compassion and her distinctive work and accomplishments stretch regionally, nationally and internationally.