Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Meet the Army Veteran Leading Comcast NBCUniversal’s COVID-19 Response
Keeping people connected and informed took on even greater importance for Comcast NBCUniversal throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As a leading media and technology company, people rely on our broadband services to access work, school, healthcare, news and other resources.
Overseeing the enormous effort keeping thousands of employees and millions of customers safely connected is Comcast NBCUniversal's Corporate Medical Director, Dr. Jeff Tzeng. For the former Army physician, the intensity of the pandemic paralleled his experiences treating the wounded on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The pandemic, especially in the early stages, was very challenging for medical professionals because we were watching the science unfold," Jeff said. "I relied on my experiences in the military to be comfortable with ambiguity and make decisions based on available information, best practices and doing what's right."
Jeff's journey is one of dedication to the service of others, which prepared him to take on the challenge.
Wanting more opportunities for a better life, Jeff's parents immigrated to the United States when Jeff was just over one year old. The family settled in McAlester, Okla., near the U.S. Army's McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, where he would later often visit to observe the operations of its medical facilities and programs as the Command Surgeon of the U.S. Army's Joint Munitions Command.
The Tzengs raised Jeff and his brother to value hard work and to be humble. Both boys excelled in school and became the first members of their family to attend college. "My parents followed the American Dream," Jeff said. "I'm extremely grateful to them and the sacrifices they endured for us."
The September 11 terrorist attacks occurred while Jeff was an undergraduate at Oklahoma State University. "The nation was hurting," Jeff said. "I felt a patriotic duty to do something for a country that gave so much to my family and me."
For Jeff, the military offered the opportunity to pursue two passions – a love of science and helping others. Following in his older brother's footsteps, Jeff joined the military and accepted an offer from the Army to pursue his medical education. Through the Health Professions Scholarship Program, Jeff attended medical school at Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his internship and residency training at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
After additional training to become a flight surgeon, Jeff deployed to Iraq with an aviation unit from the 10th Mountain Division in 2008. His unit specialized in MEDEVAC, or medical evacuations, airlifting battlefield casualties to medical facilities while providing treatment throughout.
Jeff described this combat deployment as "all-consuming," testing his team's mental and physical limits. He recalled the challenges of long days of treating the wounded while also ensuring the medics under his supervision stayed focused on the mission. "There were times I only knew what day of the week it was because the dining facility served pizza on Saturdays," he said.
Jeff deployed again in 2012 to Afghanistan as a public health doctor and flight surgeon for the 1st Infantry Division.
In 2015, Jeff chose to continue his medical career as a civilian, knowing his military background gave him transferable skills to the civilian world. "The military accelerates responsibility," Jeff said. "Without it, I wouldn't have had that amount of experience so early in my medical career."
He would draw on those experiences as the world began shutting down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have continuously adjusted to business needs and evolving science while making decisions in the interest of taking care of people's health and safety.
Based out of Los Angeles, Jeff leads a team of physicians responsible for providing clinical expertise for Comcast NBCUniversal's benefits globally, including health and wellness programs, onsite and virtual care and influenza programs, and travel medicine.
During the pandemic, the team has also provided medical expertise for company-wide protocols, including daily safety checks, contact tracing, testing for television and film productions, and the company's vaccine response plan.
"We approached this situation understanding that one policy might work for one part of the company but significantly impact another," Jeff said. "We have continuously adjusted to business needs and evolving science while making decisions in the interest of taking care of people's health and safety."
Jeff credits Comcast NBCUniversal with having the guiding principle of keeping customers and employees safe while enabling the company to continue delivering services people count on.
"Seeing Comcast's efforts to elevate diverse voices and viewpoints is affirming," said Jeff. "I feel empowered knowing I'm with a company that values and honors different aspects of my identity."