In Memoriam Wen-Shing Tseng, MD (1935 – 2012)

Wen-Shing Tseng, M.D., born in Taiwan in 1935, graduated from the Medical College of National Taiwan University in Taipei in 1961, and received his resident training in psychiatry at the same university (1961-65). He, as WHO fellow, obtained further training in the field of psychiatry at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center of Harvard Medical School in Boston (1965-68).

He returned to his medical school in Taipei as an instructor and engaged in teaching there (1965-71). Later, he was invited as a research fellow to participate in the Culture and Mental Health of Asia and the Pacific Program at the East-West Center in Honolulu (1971-72). Subsequently, he was recruited to become a faculty member of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Hawaii School of Medicine as an associate professor (1972-76) and later as a professor (1976-2009). As WHO consultant, he visited China in 1981, and became a guest professor of the Institute of Mental Health, Peking University, since 1987. He has conducted psychotherapy workshops in China frequently for the past two decades.

For the Transcultural Psychiatry Section of the World Psychiatric Association he served as secretary (1977-83) and later as chairman for two terms (1983-1993), and became honorable chair since 1993. In that capacity, he developed a wide network of colleagues from around the world in the field of cultural psychiatry. Relating to the subject of culture and mental health, he has coordinated numerous international conferences in Honolulu, Beijing, Tokyo, Budapest, and Moscow. In 2005, he was nominated by the international colleague to serve as the founder of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry and served as president for the term of 2005-09. As the congress president, he organized the Association’s First World Congress of Cultural Psychiatry in Beijing in 2006. Throughout his career, he has conducted numerous research projects, mainly relating to: the cultural aspects of mental health, psychiatry, and psychotherapy. He has published nearly 90 articles and book chapters, and about 20 English books mainly related to the subject of cultural psychiatry and more than 40 Chinese books, relating to the subjects of psychiatry and psychotherapy.

His one-person authored, 800-page book: “Handbook of Cultural Psychiatry,” published in 2001, was regarded by the international colleagues as the landmark book in the field of cultural psychiatry, and, because of this, he has received the Creative Scholarship Award from the Society for Study of Psychiatry and Culture in 2002. In 2008, he received the Life Achievement Award from the same society, and also the Kun-Po Soo Award from the American Psychiatric Association for his significant contribution to Asian Psychiatry. He has become a Distinguish Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association since 2003.

Recently, he worked on the book: “One Life, Three Cultures: The Impact of Japanese, Chinese, and American Cultures on My Personality Formation” to be published in Chinese (in Taipei, Beijing), in Japanese (in Tokyo), and hopefully in English. It is based on his own actual personal life experiences to elaborate academically on how culture impacts personality formation.