My name is Tohru Minamino, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular Biology and Medicine, Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences.
The Department of Cardiovascular Biology and Medicine has been reorganized from the former 1st Department of Internal Medicine with blood, endocrine secretion and metabolic medicine. The 1st Department of Internal Medicine has a long history and tradition that have thrown up many doctors and medical scientists all over Japan since Niigata Medical College opened. I am the tenth professor at the 1st Department of Internal Medicine and the first professor at the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine. We will develop the department while continuing the tradition and bringing a fresh sensitivity.
To tell the truth, supporting healthcare of community people as a family doctor had been my dream since I was a child when I have my sights on. However, through my experiences of internship and patient treatment at the University Hospital and its satellite hospitals, medical research conducted in the University and abroad, education for medical students, trainee doctors, graduate students at the University, I wanted to contribute to wide performance of treatments for more patients and development of new diagnosis and therapies. In order to realize the dream, I want to develop a large number of excellent human resources by maximizing the ability of medical students, improve community healthcare centering on the University Hospital by performing innovative medical research, to contribute to medical services of Niigata, Japan, and the world, and send new medical knowledges all over the world.
It is beyond doubt that the state-of-art treatment for common disease should be performed at our department of the University Hospital. We also should perform basic research to develop high-level cutting-edge medical care. For that purpose, it goes without saying that we should cultivate excellent cardiovascular specialists, and “Physician Scientists” who can design researches to resolve outstanding points for our medical care and contribute to the development of novel treatment. However, current early-stage resident physicians are only targeting at medical technique in training. I could learn wide range of medical technique in cardiovascular medicine through training and clinical care at the University Hospital and affiliated hospitals. In the process, I was favored with the chance that I could experience medical research to resolve the problems raised by clinical practice. Based on my private experience shown above, I think it is required that the Medical School, the University Hospital and affiliated hospitals in Niigata as one should cultivate excellent cardiovascular specialists and physician scientists. Only “reading textbooks, just memorizing guidelines and carrying out learned medical technique” are not important, we should educate students so that they can understand “basic researches for preparing textbooks and guidelines” and “next-generation medical development” are socially important and challenging.
“Rich number of cases” and “Carrying out of high-level medical care” are important for maintaining higher activities in the clinical field. We aim at positively accepting emergency cases, and obtaining maximum therapeutic effect in shorter period of hospitalization with effective examination and treatment plan. Meanwhile, by constructing a close relationship among doctors at clinical office, affiliated hospitals, and the University Hospital, we handle with cases in acute exacerbation period, so that doctors at clinical office and affiliated hospitals are asked to treat stable cases in the chronic phase with members in communities got involved. Ischemic heart diseases, arrhythmic diseases, heart failure should be covered by catheter examination, angioplasty, electrophysiological tests, ablation treatment, implantable devices (pacemaker, defibrillator, etc.), gene tests and cardiac resynchronization therapy. Recently, the number of such cases is increasing, whereas the number of facilities that treat those patients are still small. Therefore, our University Hospital should treat and diagnose those cases and work to promote the therapeutic technique taking initiative. The University Hospital has adopted cutting-edge diagnostic imaging units by which cardiovascular diseases could be diagnosed in a non-invasive manner. We try to diffuse these diagnostic measures not only for outpatients and inpatients at our University Hospital but also local clinical settings. Further, it is required to cultivate cardiovascular specialists with excellent clinical skill at the University Hospital after establishing a wide range of therapeutic technology at satellite hospitals. We should cultivate experts for specialized fields, and increase the level of local medical care by dispatching them to local core hospitals. It is also important for the University Hospital to develop and perform diagnostic approach and therapies that cannot be carried out by common hospitals. From this point of view, we should carry out molecularly targeted therapy as next-generation regenerative medicine as well as cell-based cardiovascular regeneration therapy and treat heart failure and cardiac valvular disease with new devices in cooperation with cardiovascular surgeons.
I started the research of “aging and regeneration of the cardiovascular system” when I was studying abroad. However, I was so underappreciated and returned to Japan. I was about to lose ardor to study medicine and healthcare at one point. However, I returned to the clinical practice at an affiliated hospital in the region and realized the actual situation that the stent therapy did not improve the prognosis of patients with cardiovascular diseases. And I could recover the passion to develop the innovative treatment for cardiovascular diseases. Currently, it seems that the number of physicians is increasing in Japanese medical sites, who are about to lose the passion for medical research and treatment because relationships usually are tenuous with economic and social background. We should establish the attractive department of cardiovascular medicine to which many students, trainee doctors and senior doctors organically gather through total education, cutting-edge medical treatment and innovative research. We should cultivate doctors who have their course within them including community medicine, advanced medical care, and basic research with full of good intentions.