The Japanese Society for Spine Surgery and Related Research:
First step for the globalization of this society-attention to the Asian countries-
At a meeting of the international committee of the Japanese Society for Spine Surgery and Related Research, we determined to make a positive effort to send Japanese spinal surgeons to other Asian countries so that Japan would play a leading role among the Asian countries by promoting surgical approaches and information exchange with our neighbors.
We deeply appreciate the donation of a total of 7 million yen, including 3 million yen from Medtronic Sofamor Danek, 1 million yen from Stryker, 1 million yen from Acromed, 1 million yen from Showa Ika, and 1 million yen from Biomet Japan.
After the problem of funding for this project was resolved, discussion was made regarding what kind of fellowship should be established. As a result, it was planned to dispatch young spinal surgeons aged 45 years or younger to Asian countries to provide lectures, training and information exchange. For this purpose, it was determined to select 8 surgeons who would each be dispatched for 2 weeks with a budget of 500,000 yen per surgeon. In addition, we considered that a senior visiting scholar program, similar to APOA-Stryker's Visiting Scholar Program, should be established to select hospitals and other medical facilities that could accept these surgeons. Thus, we determined to select 2 scholars for the program with a budget of 1 million yen for each scholar.
On April 21, 2006, the awarding ceremony was held at the 35th general assembly meeting of the Japanese Society for Spine Surgery and Related Research for the selected 8 traveling fellows and the 2 scholars for the visiting scholar program. As traveling fellows, Dr. Yasutsugu Yukawa of Chubu Rosai Hospital, Dr. Naohisa Miyakoshi of Akita University, Dr. Yuji Miyamoto of Kobe Medical Center, Dr. Tomoyuki Akamaru of Ishikawa Prefectural Central Hospital, Dr. Ken Maeda of Kyushu University, Dr. Masato Nakano of Toyama Rousai Hospital, Dr. Koji Ozawa of Tohoku University, and Dr. Shoji Yabuki of Fukushima Medical University were selected; while Dr. Shoichi Kokubun of Tohoku University and Dr. Kuniyoshi Abumi of Hokkaido University were selected for the senior visiting scholar program. The traveling fellows were divided into 4 groups, and each group included 2 members to be dispatched to Asian countries as the first traveling fellows to Asia. Dr. Yukawa and Dr. Miyakoshi stayed at Ramathibodi Hospital in Thailand and Seoul National University in South Korea for 2 weeks; Dr. Miyamoto and Dr. Akamaru at Chonnam University in South Korea and Chiang Mai University in Thailand for 2 weeks; Dr. Maeda and Dr. Nakano at The University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong and Chiang Mai University in Thailand for 2 weeks; and Dr. Ozawa and Dr. Yabuki at National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan and Ramathibodi Hospital in Thailand for 2 weeks. All of them reported that they had a good experience and expressed deep gratitude to the physicians at the individual hospitals and medical facilities where they stayed for their hospitality. In addition, Dr. Kuniyoshi Abumi and Dr. Shoichi Kokubun made great efforts for the education of young Asian spinal surgeons and the selection of Asian medical facilities to which Japanese physicians would be dispatched in the future as part of the Asian Senior Visiting Scholar Program. In FY2007, as traveling fellows, Dr. Masato Tanaka and Dr. Tsutomu Orita are scheduled to be dispatched to India and Chiang Mai University in Thailand; Dr. Akihito Minamide and Dr. Yuji Kasukawa to Singapore and Beijing; Dr. Yasuo Takebayashi and Dr. Yoshihito Sakai to National Taiwan University in Taiwan and Singapore; and Dr. Yoichi Aota and Dr. Hideki Murakami to Beijing and Hong Kong. As a scholar, Dr. Futoshi Suezuna is scheduled to be dispatched.
Based on the proposal made by Dr. Shoichi Kokubun who will newly assume the post of director of the international committee during this fiscal year, an alliance will be established with the societies of spine surgery in South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand to promote globalization of the Asian societies of spine surgery. In addition, we are planning to invite the members of the Asian medical facilities who offered our fellows great hospitality to the meeting of the Japanese Society for Spine Surgery and Related Research in the next fiscal year to further augment our relationship with them.
Lastly, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the donations made by Medtronic Sofamor Danek Stryker, Acromed, Showa Ika, and Biomet Japan, despite the recent harsh economic climate.
Yukihiro Matsuyama MD. International Committee Chairman