Issue 6 Dr. Kwang Tae Kim, President of International Hospital Federation



APRIL 2015



Dr. Kim giving his keynote speech at The 65th Annual National Convention of Philippine Hospital association and 1st Joint Conference with the Asian Hospital Federation held on November 19th 2014.

Dr. Kim, you are world renowned successful physician. What was your motivation to become a doctor and did you face any significant trouble or obstacles during your physician life?


My mother had tuberculosis for several years and passed away from when i was in second grade in middle school.

That had an impact on me to want to become a doctor. I entered medical school in 1955, two years after the Korean War ended. There were no Korean medical text books, so all the text books we used were in English. It was difficult at first, but eventually we got used to the medical terminology. I chose surgery as my specialty, because at the time, with lack of good drugs, surgery was the most effective way of cure. I had my residency training at the Seoul Capital Army Hospital. This hospital was the best training hospital for surgeons right after the war.



You have been recognized as a successful hospital executive with countless achievements. Beginning with only 20-beds. Daerim St Mary's Hospital in Seoul has expanded to 405-beds in numbers and further developed to be the global hospital educating interns and residents with your leadership. What was your management philosophy and vision in hospital operating leadership?


I followed where the real need was. After working for one year at another hospital in Yeongdeungpo, I opened my hospital at Daerim-dong with 20 beds, because it was where most patients were coming from. At that time, there was no other hospital between Suwon and Namdaemoon. All the patients visiting my hospital recovered without complications, and the number of beds increased gradually up to 405.


Looking back, following the real need with passion and doing my best were the key to the success of my hospital. Patient-centered care and patient safety were my guiding principle.


Dr. Kwang-Tae Kim

Dr. Kim, you've served Asian Hospital Federation as president from 2009-2009. while you were active as the Chairman of the Organizing Committee of International Hospital Federation, you've successfully led 2007 IHF Congress's to be held in Seoul for the first time in history. Furthermore, you've become the first Asian to be elected as the President of IHF. Upon your appointment as President of IHF, you've proposed a statement, "a bigger, stronger and financially sustainable IHF." Can you describe your thoughts on this motto and organization operating philosophy?


Finding the real need is the key to success of any organization. For a hospital, satisfying patient's need is the key. At IHF, during my presidency we installed two innovative changes. First, IHF World Hospital Congress(WHC) was changed from biennial to annual event. Second, IHF Awards program to recognize innovative ways of delivering healthcare has been initiated with the first awards to be given out at the 2015 IHF Chicago WHC.


Due to the aging population with chronic conditions, healthcare delivery system is faced with a major challenge. The era of medical treatment without consideration of cost is over. Now, new innovations in healthcare delivery such as accountable care, affordable care and well-dying are the emerging topics.



IHF CHICAGO will be held in October, 2015. What is the major topic and theme of the conference and what are your expectations from the conference? Also, as you complete your terms as the president of IHF, what is your new life goal(S) and plan?

High school graduation photos of young Kwang-Tae Kim

Advancing Global Health and Healthcare will be the theme of the IHF 39th World Hospital Congress in Chicago during October 6 to 8, 2015.

Major topics being addressed are Equity and Access to care, Patient and Community Engagement and Empowerment, Quality and Safety, Healthcare Management and Leadership opportunities and challenges, Innovation in Healthcare Delivery, and Ethical Issues.

IHF hopes to move healthcare forward by exchange of knowledge and experience from around the globe.

After my role as IHF president, I will return to my hospital to do my best for patient-centered care.



Beyond your professional roles, you are known to be involved in numerous community activities. In Rotary services, you’ve served as member of Board of Directors from 2005-2007. These works have been recognized by ‘Golden Century Award’, ‘Order of Civil Merit’ and etc. As a physician, business executive, global leader, and community server, do you have any words to share with young generations?


In my practice, I realized that it is impossible to convince patients to follow my recommendation with only medical knowledge. 35 years ago, I joined Rotary International, and my leadership and management philosophy is influenced by what I learned from Rotary.


In Rotary, “He or She profits most who serves best.”



WKMJ has readers from over 10 countries globally. Please share your final words with our readers.


Healthcare delivery system is faced with a major challenge due to the aging population with chronic conditions.

Opportunities arise when we are faced with difficulties.

I would like to encourage the WKMJ readers to make this major global healthcare challenge an opportunity for innovation.


The 5th Korea Healthcare Congress 2014



Dr. Kwang-Tae Kim

International Hospital Federation

The President of a private general hospital with 450-bed capacity, called Daerim St. Mary’s Hospital established in 1969 in Seoul, Korea, Dr. Kwang Tae Kim with a call name, Luke, has actively participated in humanitarian and vocational services all along his long social activities. His professional and social activities stretch to the presidency of Korean Hospital Association in 2002-04, the Governing Council Member of international Hospital Federation in 2003-05 and President in 2007-09 of Asian Hospital Federation. He has also engaged himself proactively in Rotary services, with top-notch positions, including the Rotary International Board of Directors member in 2005-07, for the last 34 year Rotary life. Dr. Kim has since 1980’s organized and conducted annually and periodical for the last 30 years “Free Medical Services” for those in need of healthcare and treatments, in the communities at home and abroad. It should be noted that during his tenure of the President of Korean Hospital Association in 2002-04, and as the Organizing Committee Chairman of 2007 IHF World Hospital Congress, he has become the one ever recorded in the IHF history who contributed to the IHF finances with a handsome amount of support as the “Congress Income” in the 2007 IHF GBP Account Budget, from benefits accrued out of the highly successful 2007 IHF Congress being held in November 2007 in Seoul, Korea.


  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey LinkedIn Icon

Subscribe to Our Journal

Email: wgroup@wmedical.org
Tel: 201-402-1400