I was assigned to Minamisanriku Public Medical Clinic as ToMMo Clinical fellow. Minamisanriku Town situated along the Pacific Coast suffered catastrophic damage from the tsunami due to the Great East Japan Earthquake.
I've always been interested in disaster medicine and medical services in disaster areas. I was also very interested in how community integrated medicine offered by ToMMo Clinical Fellows is fused with cutting-edge genome research. The Great Hanshin Earthquake occurred when I was doing my residency in internal medicine at a national hospital in Hiroshima. Subsequently, I volunteered to provide medical services in the disaster area. I believe this experience also influenced my motivation to apply for the ToMMo Clinical fellowship program.
Since arriving Minamisanriku Public Medical Clinic, I have been working as a general physician in internal medicine. There is something I have been thinking about every day since arriving here. I feel I have been dispatched to Minamisanriku Town of Tohoku area not by mere coincidence-which I have come here by some necessity. I say this because in 2011, when the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred, I could not stand aside and do nothing, and so I went to the calamity-stricken coastal area as a medical volunteer for one week from March 29. Although the rubble-filled landscape and the trucks of the Self-Defense Forces have all disappeared now, the downtown area of the town that has turned into an open field is still as it was in 2011. Nothing has changed.
The problem of the "skewed distribution of physicians" facing community medicine is not unique to Tohoku but is a common issue confronting other areas as well, including the coastal area on the Sea of Japan side in Kansai, Nara Prefecture, and Wakayama Prefecture. I think the ToMMo Clinical Fellowship Program offers one model of solving this problem, and therefore, I am eager to learn about it in the field. It is my hope that even after I leave, young physicians will come here from all over Japan and contribute to the restoration of community medicine in Tohoku, including Minamisanriku. It is my sincere wish that they see the affected areas for themselves and take something back with them.
Kazumasa Saigoh M.D., Ph.D.
ToMMo Clinical fellow at Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization (ToMMo), Tohoku University since October 2013.
Graduated from Kinki University Faculty of Medicine in 1992. Received his M.D. from Kinki University Graduate School. After serving at the National Institute of Neuroscience (NIN) of the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry (NCNP) in Japan and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), among other institutions, became lecturer of neurology at Kinki University Faculty of Medicine in 2003. In the meantime, obtained MBA from Osaka City University Graduate School. Worked as Physician at Shizugawa Public Hospital which has Minamisanriku Public Medical Clinic. In his current post since October 2013.