Message from the Director of the Department of Health Sciences
Welcome to the Department of Health Sciences!
Health Science falls within the broad discipline of medicine, but emphasizes health maintenance, prediction and protection against infectious diseases, rehabilitation after medical treatment and handling of diseases due to aging such as dementia. In this regard, Health Science falls under “preventive medicine.” This includes primary prevention (protection against disease and health promotion), secondary prevention (early detection and treatment) and tertiary prevention (prevention of recurrence and rehabilitation). Medical sciences and health care are targeted at a wide range of subjects such as transplant and regeneration medicines, gene therapy, measures against infectious disease and life-style disease and provisions for an aging society. Contrary to treatment or therapy for injury and illness in conventional medicine, measures are taken in health sciences for supporting the health care of the population in general in order to promote long and healthy lives.
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) defined the concept of “nursing” as “the act of assisting the reparative process; that is, to put the patients in the best possible environment in order to let nature heal themselves”. This notion reflects the basic spirit of our department. The Health Sciences department consists of five divisions: Nursing, Radiological Technology, Medical Technology, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. In present-day Japan, we are affluent, free from the lack of food and clothing, with reduced worry of newborn and infant mortality and we are living longer lives due to the eradication of historically fatal diseases. However, new problems are emerging such as life-style related diseases like obesity, hyper-tension and diabetes and new infectious diseases. Moreover, questions concerning excessive life-prolonging therapy and medical malpractice are being asked while the growth in medical spending is becoming a social problem. In our department students study not only the subjects required to obtain the national license of medical professionals, but also current issues in medical science.
Our department belongs to the School of Medicine set as an undergraduate course parallel with the Department of Medicine. The graduate school (for master and doctoral courses) and the faculty for teaching staff are in an independent institute different from the School of Medicine. Although the affiliate organization is different, undergraduate students learn in the same building with graduate students, teaching staff and administrative staff members. The international exchange program is also currently being conducted reflecting the policy of Hokkaido University.
Health Science, a much-needed field of study for our society in the future, is open to ambitious young people. We offer our sincere welcome to our department.
Director of the Department of Health Sciences,
School of Medicine, Hokkaido University