Hamamatsu University School of Medicine

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President's Message

KONNO Hiroyuki, M.D., Ph.D., President  Forty-six years has passed since Hamamatsu University School of Medicine (HUSM) was established. At the end of last academic year, the number of graduates had reached 4,169 in the Faculty of Medicine and 1,495 in the Faculty of Nursing. Our graduates are active, not only in local but also in nationwide medical practice, in research and in government-related fields. As is enshrined in our Foundation Vision, our mission is "to grow up excellent medical personnel, introduce the results of original research to the world, and play a leading role in local medical treatments". This vision has been a compass guiding the university administration over the past half a century since the university was first established. Even in the modern era of striking technological advancement and specialization in medicine and nursing, the enshrined vision is evident as an unshakable, nobility of spirit.
 It has been 16 years since the incorporation of national universities. The leadership under the president has strengthened throughout the administration of the university; as such the responsibilities have also increased dramatically. During this time, the three generation of presidents including myself have played a central role, working alongside with faculty and staff on a multitude of reforms. By maintaining a high pass rate on national examinations for doctors, nurses, and public health nurses, we have nurtured excellent healthcare workers who contribute to community medicine as well as in developing original research. Thus, we have generated our own unique 'strengths', such as collaborations with the industries and the government.
 From the beginning of the third medium-term objectives period, we have been promoting social contribution and reforms with a view to the future; focusing on education, research, and medical care as the mission of National University Corporation to further enhance each field. In addition, due to favorable hospital profits, we have also continued to conduct planned development of new and renovated university facilities and infrastructure.
 In education, by increasing the weight on University original entrance exams and conducting presentations in addition to interviews, we have preempted the recent nation's direction of shifting the exam from testing the "memorization capability" to "capabilities of logical thinking, judgment, and expressive power". Moreover, the diploma policy (degree awarding standards) has been revised, stipulating that in addition to the attainment of the basic knowledge and skills of medicine and nursing, the ability to extract and resolve issues independently should be acquired. Also, greater humanity, high ethical standards and communication skills are clearly indicated as necessary for the practice of patient-centered team care. Furthermore, with the cultivation of the 'researcher mindset', we constantly teach scientific perspectives and thinking, and provide opportunities to engage in research such as the third-year basic medicine research program. Both the medical and nursing departments have developed a new curriculum in line with the new diploma policy to guarantee better quality of university education, and have increased the time required for interactive clinical practice. To foster medical professionals with an international sensibility, we offer opportunities to interact with international students to develop practical English language skills, and all students are offered the opportunity to take the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC). As a result of these efforts, the number of students studying abroad has increased annually. Moreover, last year we established an International Center and allocated dedicated faculty members to facilitate greater convenience for overseas students and to promote international education and academic exchanges.
 In postgraduate education, the Graduate School of Medicine & Nursing always fields an excess of applications, including those from overseas, ensuring the possibility of securing outstanding graduate students. Furthermore, a specialized gerontological nursing master's degree course is scheduled to be offered starting in 2021. With the aim to offer a doctoral course from 2022, we continue to promote education with the goal of pursuing expertise and developing advanced human resources, even in the nursing department.
 In terms of research, this university's strengths are photomedical research and collaboration with industries and government. In order to strengthen research and development and human resource development functions, we have established the Preeminent Medical Photonics Education & Research Center, and are conducting research from "cells to humans", allowing seamless spanning from basic medicine to clinical practice with the support of "Imaging-Complex System". Moreover, we have established a doctoral course in the graduate school (Cooperative Major in Medical Photonics), and have started to develop highly specialized optical engineering personnel adept in the fields of medical engineering based on photomedicine. In addition to further regional collaboration with industry and government, we established the Promotion Center for Medical Collaboration & Intellectual Property, thereby strengthening collaboration between universities, government, finance and base hospitals. The amount of research achievements and research funding gained per full-time faculty member is consistently high even amongst national universities.
 The primary mission of our University Hospital is to safely provide advanced medical care. While continuing to adequately fulfill the hospital's mission, our business situation is exceptional; many indicators, such as the number of surgeries, are of the highest level, even with respect to other national universities. In response to the increase in the number of surgeries, a Medical Functionally-Enhanced Ward replete with a state-of-the-art operating room, radiation treatment room, endoscopic room, neonatal treatment room, and so on, will be completed in fiscal year 2021. We are also actively working on the enhancement of postgraduate education; the Postgraduate Clinical Education Center provides consistent support from initial training to specialist training. Furthermore, in order to promote team medical care, we have established the Advanced Nurse Training Center to foster nurses who perform designated procedures based on risk management. I hope that such efforts will lead to improvements in the quality of medical care and nursing.
 In terms of contributing to the community, we play a leading role in medical care throughout the Shizuoka Prefecture, not just in the western region. Already around 30% of the doctors working in Shizuoka Prefecture are HUSM graduates or affiliates, and nearly 30 of our affiliates have been promoted to the position of directors in their respective hospitals including three base hospitals with more than 600 beds. HUSM affiliates are also active as senior officials in the prefectural and municipal medical administration, as chairpersons or directors of these associations. Most recently, 64% of the medical department graduates, that is, more than 70 people, are employed in the prefecture. Even nationally, the university has a very high local retention rate.
 As the establishment of a new corporation through restructuring with Shizuoka University attracts attention, all those affiliated with the universities are working together with the aim of establishing a new university in fiscal year 2022. The new university, which will be located in Hamamatsu, will have three faculties: including medicine, engineering and informatics. It will be capable of proposing medical approaches for Society 5.0; such as development of original medical devices, construction of new medical systems, data science-based preventive medicine and screening systems, as well as emergency and telemedicine system utilizing AI. The new university will become the core; capitalizing on the region's characteristic "high health and longevity" with an aim to become a "knowledge Hub" in regional innovation and creation of new industries in an aging society with fewer children.
 Currently, COVID-19 is spreading worldwide, exerting a serious impact on human society. Fortunately, however, none of our university students or medical professionals have been infected as yet; and at the present time, we are continuing our vital mission to provide medical care. Outpatient care, including emergency care; and inpatient care, such as surgery, are generally on track. This is due to the constant efforts of the affiliated hospital personnel, such as the swift implementation of strict preventive measures and the high level of epidemic awareness. In terms of education, since online classes were started in early April, there has been little to no delay in curriculum delivery. Both faculties and students are gaining valuable experience in the online classes, making it possible for classes to become increasingly content-rich. Unique benefits of online study have come to light, such as students being less hesitant to share their opinions. Anatomy practices have run as scheduled and face-to-face classes, such as group discussions, will be started soon. In the future, we will be teaching in a "hybrid" format that incorporates the best of both face-to-face and online.
 It is noteworthy that our university is the only one in the Tokai and Hokuriku areas which has continued clinical training for five and six year students. While this is also possible with the understanding and support of the hospital personnel, I believe that stressful situations like ones brought on by COVID-19, are an exceptional opportunity to cultivate better quality of health care professionals.
 In the current COVID-19 crisis, all faculties and students have cooperated in the epidemic prevention measures, exhibiting the true worth of "Team HUSM". I hope that this organization will be a place where individuals' find their dream and work hard to achieve their goal while fulfilling their duty, which will lead to the enduring growth of Hamamatsu University School of Medicine.