The Annual Meeting of the Japan Chapter of the American College of Physicians; Nurturing World-Class Citizens


The Annual Meeting of the Japan Chapter of the American College of Physicians (1, 2) was held this year in Kyoto University Clock Tower Centennial Hall and was organized by Professor Shunichi Fukuhara (link available only in Japanese).

The topics this year included clinical education, clinical conference and clinical research, and thanks to the dedicated planning of Professor Fukuhara backed up by the strong support of the current Chapter governor Dr. Kobayashi, was a two-day event, the first of its kind. The participants were mostly aspiring medical students and young doctors.  I feel that this was because many of the speakers are dedicated to their field of clinical education and also because some of the speakers had had clinical training in the USA. All in all, there were around 600 participants, a number I am happy about.

On the first day, every venue was packed with eager participants and their passion came across. In particular, the young people in the crowd seemed to be hungering for this wonderful opportunity to learn more about clinical education and training. Indeed, during the reception, the talk centered around the issues raised in each session. Although I was personally unable to attend all the sessions, I am sure that Drs. Tokuda, Sudo, Takasugi, Kishimoto, Shibagaki, Nagahama and their colleagues livened up the event.

This time round, we were lucky to have Virginia Hood (currently at University of Vermont, she is a specialist in nephrology like me, and I was able to meet her in the autumn of 2011 in Taipei) who was unable to attend the same event in 2011 when she was the President of the ACP because it was held just after the Tohoku disasters. We also had Mitchell Feldman (Chief Editor, Journal of General Internal Medicine, Univ. Calif San Francisco), and they both had sessions with Japanese and English, although I am afraid that we did not have simultaneous interpreting due to financial constraints.

The first day’s last talk sessions were by Dr. Feldman (UCSF) and Dr. Ishiyama (St. Louis), as well as Professor Fukuhara. This was followed by a memorial service held in the memory of Dr. Kazuo Endo (1, both links available only in Japanese) of Okinawa Chubu Hospital, whose contributions to the study of infectious diseases as well as in other fields have been remarkable.The final special session was one commemorating my selection as one of the ‘100 Top Global Leaders 2012’ (Foreign Policy) and my award from the AAAS, bringing a close to the exciting first day.

The Japan chapter of the ACP was finally set up ten years ago in order to meet the need for internists and physicians who would be at home in a rapidly globalizing world. This was also the first Chapter of the ACP outside of the North and South Americas.

As we head steadily for a globalized society, we are finding it increasingly difficult to change the pre-existing Japanese form of organization because of its history and the individuals associated with it. Yet such initiatives which can dovetail harmoniously with the existing frameworks while being different are, I feel, one way of nurturing future global citizens.

The passion that I felt emanating from the young people at the Japan Chapter of the ACP have left me thinking that the best is yet to come, and I found myself praying for the future success of this initiative. After all, developing human resources is a long process.

It was with feelings of regret that I was unable to attend the second day because of prior engagements.