A Message from the Dean
Treat people with sincerity. On behalf of everyone involved in medicine at Akita University, I pledge to approach each day guided by this principle. While we open ourselves to the nation and to the world from Akita, we aim to achieve one goal and one goal only: the provision of reliable medical services.
Akita University Graduate School of Medicine was founded in 1970 as the first medical department created after World War II in our country. The faculty of medicine was established through the united efforts of people who felt a need to improve medical services in Akita. This faculty has therefore embodied the hopes of all people in Akita since its inception. The School of Health Sciences (a four-year program) was formed by reorganizing the Akita University College of Allied Medical Science (a three-year program), and was installed in the medical department in October, 2002.The predecessors of the School of Health Sciences were the Akita Prefecture Higher Institute of Nursing and the Akita Prefecture Public Health Nursing Institute. The predecessor of the Akita University Graduate School of Medicine was the Akita Prefecture Central Hospital. In other words, both the medical school itself and its concerns with health grew out of prefectural institutions, and if we follow the footprints, we can see that these have grown in conjunction with the lives of the people of Akita. In 1976, the Akita University School of Medicine graduated its first students. Since then, the faculty has graduated 3,465 students. As for their contributions to clinical medicine, they are shouldering medical services and safeguarding health in Akita and the whole nation. Regarding research, many of our graduates have demonstrated excellent results world-wide, and they are active in various fields as leaders within the greater medical community.
In order to face people earnestly through the provision of excellent medical services, I believe that natural human generosity is more important than extensive medical knowledge and highly-polished professional skills backed by advanced technology. In our program, we begin inter-departmental evidence-based primary care education and also medical communication education immediately after students enter the University. These subjects will be very important in the future. Furthermore, we commence early clinical training from the same period for the purpose of inculcating in our students a strong sense of mission as medical care providers and a powerful professional consciousness in tandem with other medical institutions in Akita, the medical association, and the local administration. This means that our students are made into good doctors through the generous support of all the people of Akita.
Professional medical training conducted from this point on calls for amassing a tremendous amount of knowledge, the acquisition many skills, and mastery of the latest technology. In order to accomplish these goals, in addition to both lecture-style and tutorial-type learning, we employ and encourage team-based and outcome-based learning, and are also strengthening our focus on medical-examination participatory types of clinical training (clinical clerkships). It is essential that we raise doctors who will eagerly continue to study and learn throughout their entire lives, who will achieve the capability to solve difficult problems, and who can provide medical treatment as member of teams.
Completed in March of 2012, the Medical Simulation Center – the largest such facility in East Japan – is now being utilized to its full potential. Users of the center can hone their skills by experiencing a variety of technical and clinical situations with its cutting-edge simulators. Our goal is to strengthen the cooperative ability of both students and medical professionals through skill-building and interdisciplinary team-based training, for the importance of being able to cooperate well with others in the provision of medical care cannot be understated. Furthermore, we are now exploring the possibility of allowing high school students who are interested in medical careers to practically benefit from using the center. We would like for the center to become a focal point for the training of future generations of medical practitioners and researchers.
In our postgraduate doctoral program, we have introduced a standardized educational “cluster” study course system to ensure that all students have a strong foundation in the basic medical and biological sciences before embarking on specialized research projects. Also, we opened a master’s course in 2007 in order to boost our ability to train young scientists who can contribute to the future of scientific research. A master’s course was also established in the School of Health Sciences in 2007 with the aim of producing highly-skilled advanced specialists in nursing, and in physical and occupational therapy.
Regarding research, out MEXT 21st Century COE Program (Cell Fate Determination Control) was initiated in 2002, and our Global COE Program, Signal Transduction in the Regulatory System and Its Disorders – being conducted in cooperation with Gunma University – began in 2007. These enterprises have received excellent reviews from both inside and outside the country as examples of excellent advanced life-sciences research and educational programs. We expect our Global COE Program to further grow as a new pan-university organization, known from 2012 as the Research Center of Biological Signal.
Medical services in Japan today are plagued by uneven distribution of medical practitioners with respect to both geographic region and topical expertise. The objective of the Akita University Graduate School of Medicine is very simple: patient-centered medical services. That is it. To meet our objective, we will strengthen our three pillars of clinical medicine, research, and education, and thereby further improve our knowledge and skills.
For us, medicine centers on people. It is nurtured by the community, and by growing and developing it gives back to the community. Throughout this process, we will continue our research and studies while thinking globally. Our doors at the Akita University Graduate School of Medicine are always open to everyone. We hope that many junior students and researchers will enter them and spread their wings and fly far in the vast and exciting world of medicine.
We humbly ask for your support. We are eager to go hand-in-hand with you.
Dean, Graduate School of Medicine and Faculty of Medicine
Ken-ichi Sawada, M.D.＆Ph.D.