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Life Sciences & Social Medicine

Department of Public Health


Department of Public Health was established in April 1953 and has been headed by three professors, Professors Rinji Kuwabara, Yoshito Tsuji and Masaaki Fukushima. The fourth professor, Professor Seiji Yasumura succeeded the position in November 2000. The department celebrated its 50th anniversary on June 14, 2003. Department members and their fields of specialties are:


Seiji Yasumura
(Epidemiology, biostatistics, gerontology, community health, political science)

Associate Professor

Aya Goto
(International health, reproductive health, epidemiology, biostatistics)

Associate Professor

Hajime Iwasa
(Psychogerontology, Elderly health)

Associate Professor

Sachiko Yamazaki
(Psychogerontology,clinical psychology)

Assistant Professor

Ngoma Mayindu Alain
(Hemato-immunology,International health)

Assistant Professor

Tomoko Suzuki
(Epidemiology and prevention of lifestyle diseases)

Public health nurse

Mari Hashimoto
(Public health)

Post-doctoral researchers

Tsunehisa Ito
 (Health education)
Yumiko Kanari
 (Prevention of infectious disease,
  community health)
Chikako Kaneko
 (Epidemiology of cardiovascular diseases)
Takumi Kawai
 (Child health, epidemiology
  of infectious diseases)
Nobuhiro Konno
 (Toxicology, food hygiene)
Emiko Saito
 (Community nursing)
Kenji Sasahara
 (Community health, child health)
Toshikazu Shinka
 (Child health, community health,
  human genetics)
Nobuki Sugeno
 (Epidemiology of hip fructure)
Yuriko Suzuki
 (Disaster mental health)
Kumiko Soejima
 (International health, anesthesiology)
Kazuko Takahashi
 (Home health care studies,
  elderly health care)
Kyoko Nakano
 (Health education, community health)
Ken Nakano
Minori Hasegawa
 (Epidemiology of orthopedic diseases)
Kuniko Makigami
 (Epidemiology of scabies, elderly abuse)
Munehito Machida
 (Public health)
Hirohide Yokokawa
 (Clinical epidemiology of lifestyle diseases,
  esp. hypertension and diabetes mellitus)

Graduate student

Noriko Endo
 (Prevention of cardiovascular diseases)
Midori Kimura
 (Elderly health)
Kyoko Shimada
 (Elderly health)
Akiko Fujisaki
 (Clinical epidemiology in urology)
Hokuto Hoshi
 (Health System)
Kazuki Yoshida
 (Elderly health)

Visiting lecturer

Tetsuya Ohira
 (Associate Professor,
  Department of Social and Environmental Medicine)
Yutaka Ogawa
 (Director,Shironishi Clinic)
Noriko Kato
 (Director, National Institute of Public Health)
Yumiko Kanari
 (Director, Minami Aizu Public Health Welfare Office)
Yasuki Kobayashi
 (Professor, University of Tokyo, Graduate School)
Yuriko Suzuki
 (Chief, National Institute of Mental Health)
Yoshikazu Nakamura
 (Professor, Jichi Medical School)
Tanji Hoshi
 (Professor, Tokyo Metropolitan University,
  Graduate School)
Hokuto Hoshi
 (Vice-president, Hoshi General Hospital)

(Updated: 1,Oct. 2012)

Research Themes



Clinical epidemiology research (All staff): We provide cordial technical support not only for graduate students, but also for any clinicians in our university who plan and execute epidemiological studies of patients and need to analyze collected data, especially with aspirations to publish in international journals.



Development and evaluation of a local plan “Kenko Nippon 21” in municipalities (Yasumura). In 2000, the Ministry of Health and Welfare designated Sukagawa City,Fukushima Prefecture as one of 21 model cities to develop a local plan “Healthy Japan 21” in cooperation with local universities. Our Department has contributed in the development of the health strategies in Sukagawa City. In addition, we collaborate in the “Good Health Plan” of Kitashiobara village, also part of development of “Good Health Plan”, which is also a local plan of the “Healthy Japan 21” project and a locally based “Fukushima City Health Plan”, in Fukushima City, Fukushima.



Epidemiology and prevention of “Tojikomori” (homebound elderly) (Yasumura): “Tojikomori” among the elderly in Japan is viewed as a homebound or housebound status which may precede a bedridden condition. A research project conducted by Professor Yasumura and colleagues started to develop comprehensive programs to prevent the elderly from high risk factors including “Tojikomori”. This new project is sponsored by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (From April 2011).



“Japan Eco and Child Study (JECS)” in Fukushima (Yasumura): Starting in 2011, the Japanese Ministry of the Environment has launched a birth cohort study, “Japan Eco and Child Study (JECS)”, to clarify the influence of environmental risks on children (http://www.env.go.jp/chemi/ceh/qa/index.html).
The study population will include 100,000 pregnant women and their children across Japan. 26 areas will participate in the project and 15 sites, including Fukushima Medical University, were selected. Professor Yasumura is Director of the Fukushima Unit Center.



Epidemiology of pregnancy, child birth, and parenting (Goto): The arrival of a new baby brings both happiness and challenges to any family. Our research activities in this area aim to promote pregnancy planning and positive parenting in collaborating Fukushima municipalities.



Epidemiology training in Vietnam (Goto): Strengthening research capacity in developing regions remains one of the world’s unmet challenges. We organize and evaluate epidemiology research training courses at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Ho Chi Minh City. More information of the project is available at:http://moodle.yds.edu.vn/ebm/?Content=ChiTietTin&idTin=2822&lang=1



Maternal and child health in Vietnam (Goto): We assess Vietnamese mothers’ mental health status and provide technical support at local hospitals to develop parenting support programs, for which insufficient attention has been paid in developing regions



Psychosocial approach to “Tojikomori” among the elderly. (Yamazaki). Tojikomori refers to as community-dwelling elderly individuals without severe disabilities who rarely leave their homes. This project investigates psychological factors associated with “Tojikomori” state and our purpose is to establish a psychosocial approach to prevent “Tojikomori” among the elderly.



Clinical epidemiology of diabetes mellitus (Saito): This project investigates factors associated with glycemic control including patients’ perception of their glycemic control. The goal is to provide health practitioners with valuable tools for better education and care of patients.



Medical care cost and lifestyle in the early-stage elderly (Saito): To clarify problems of current health guidance system for the early-stage elderly, we investigate issues surrounding medical care cost and lifestyle.



Blood donation behavior among Japanese students (Ngoma). The purpose of this study is to identify motivators and barriers to blood donation among Japanese students.


Public health, which is a practical and applied science, is an important segment of social medicine. The overall goals of public health are to prevent diseases, promote health and prolong life. Department of Public Health helps students to understand "Evidence-based Public Health" and “Evidence-based Health Policy”.

In the early stage of our medical education curriculum, we introduce the basic concept and history of public health and teach epidemiology, which is comparable to a diagnosis technique in clinical medicine.

Following the basic theory section, lectures on wide range of public health issues, such as an increase in life-style related diseases in Japan and epidemiology, etiology and prevention of infectious diseases are given. We apply a problem solving learning method and students are required to complete practicum. Students visit various types of public health institutes, including Prefectural Public Health Centre and local welfare facilities. These field visits give students opportunities to investigate local public health problems and to think ways to solve the problems.

In addition, we accept a small group of students in the fifth year and organize an advanced course in basic and social medicine. This course aims to teach ways to understand health issues macroscopically and comprehensively with a public health point of view, through conducting epidemiological studies.

Our teaching activities go beyond the university, and we contribute to the public health education at related facilities and institutes in Fukushima Prefecture to a great extent. Moreover, we encourage graduate students from other universities and facilities to apply for education programs at our department.

Recent publications 〔Past 3 years〕


Goto A, Suzuki Y, Nguyen QV, Nguyen TTV, Trinh HP, Pham NM, Nguyen TM, Yasumura S, NDGD Parenting Support Team. Pilot study on a group-based parenting program in a Vietnamese public hospital: Program acceptance among mothers and staff. Asia-Pacific Psychiatry, 4: 76-83, 2012.


Goto A, Yabe J, Sasaki H, Yasumura S. Short-Term Operational Evaluation of a Group-Parenting Program for Japanese Mothers With Poor Psychological Status: Adopting a Canadian Program Into the Asian Public Service Setting. Health Care for Women International, 28: 636-651, 2012.


Kaneko C, Goto A, Watanabe K, Yasumura S. Time to presenting to hospital and associated factors in stroke patients: a hospital-based study in Japan. Swiss Med Wkly, 2011.


Saito E, Yasumura S, Kaneko C, Ueki S. Comparison of characteristics and care-needs certification proportion between participants and non-participants in a geriatric health examination over a 3-year follow-up. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 53: e46-e50, 2011.


Suzuki Y, Goto A, Nguyen QV, Nguyen TTV, Pham NM, Chung TMT, Trinh HP, Pham VT, Yasumura S. Postnatal depression and associated parenting indicators among Vietnamese women. Asia-Pacific Psychiatry, 3 (4): 219-227, 2011.


Makigami K, Ohtaki N, Ishii N, Tamashiro T, Yoshida S, Yasumura S. Risk factors for recurrence of scabies: A retrospective study of scabies patients in a long-term care hospital. The Journal of Dermatology, 38 (9): 874-879, 2011.


Nomura T, Nagano K, Takato J, Ueki S, Matsuzaki Y, Yasumura S. The development of a Tai Chi exercise regimen for the prevention of conditions requiring long-term care in Japan. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 52 (3): 198-203, 2011.


1. Kawai T, Goto A, Watanabe E, Nagasawa M, Yasumura S. Lower respiratory tract infections and gastrointestinal infections among mature babies in Japan. Pediatrics International. 2010 Oct 29. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-200X.2010.03285.x. [Epub ahead of print]


Imamura T, Sato M, Hashimoto K, Ishii T, Goto A, Go H, Kawarada T, Kawasaki Y, Momoi N, Ujiie N, Fujimori K, Hosoya M. Glucocorticoid receptor expression and cortisol level in cord blood of term infants. Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine. 2011 Mar 7. [Epub ahead of print]


Yokokawa H, Sanada H, Goto A, Watanabe T, Felder RA, Jose PA, Eisner GM, Yasumura S. Characteristics of Antihypertensive Medication and Change of Prescription Over 1 Year of Follow Up in Japan: Fukushima Research of Hypertension (FRESH). American Journal of Hypertension, 23: 1299-12305, 2010.


Soejima K, Goto A, Phan TNV, Le HTB, Nguyen QV, Pham NM, Gautam AD, Yasumura S, Akira Fukao. Perception of anesthesia safety and postoperative symptoms of surgery patients in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: A pioneering trial of postoperative care assessment in a developing nation. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, 15, 333-343, 2010.


Goto A, Yabe J, Sasaki H, Yasumura D. Short-term operational evaluation of a group-parenting program for Japanese mothers with poor psychological status: adopting a Canadian program into Asian public service setting. Health Care for Women International, 31, 636-651, 2010.


Saito T, Goto A, Yokokawa H, Sato Y, Yasumura S. Association between maternal feeling about pregnancy and child’s lifestyle. Fukushima Journal of Medical Science. Fukushima Journal of Medical Science, 56: 80-89, 2010.


Goto A, Nguyen QV, Nguyen TTV, Yokokawa H, Yasumura S, Nguyen TK. Epidemiology research training in Vietnam: Evaluation at the five year mark. Fukushima Journal of Medical Science. Fukushima Journal of Medical Science, 56: 63-70, 2010.


Yokokawa H, Nguyen TK, Goto A, Tran QN, Tran TT, Vo TK, Nguyen TBN, Pham NM, Nguyen QV, Okayama A, Yasumura S. Diabetes Control among Vietnamese Patients in Ho Chi Minh City: An Observational Cross-Sectional Study. International Electronic Journal of Health Education, 13, 1-13, 2010.


Goto A, Nguyen QV, Nguyen TTV, Pham NM, Chung TMT, THP, Yabe J, Sasaki H, Yasumura S. Associations of psychosocial factors with maternal confidence among Japanese and Vietnamese mothers. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19, 118-127, 2010.


Yokokawa H, Goto A, Sanada H, Watanabe T, Yasumura S. Longitudinal community-based assessment of blood pressure control among Japanese hypertensive patients: Fukushima research of hypertension (FRESH). Journal of Clinical Hypertension, 12: 166-173, 2010.


Shimada H, Ishizaki T, Kato M, Morimoto A, Tamate A, Uchiyama Y, Yasumura S. How often and how far do frail elderly people need to go outdoors to maintain functional capacity? Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics. 2009 04; 50: 140-146.


Yasumura S, Hasegawa M. Incidence of falls among the elderly and preventive efforts in Japan. Japan Medical Association Journal. 2009 07; 52(4): 231-236.


Yokokawa H, Goto A, Sanada H, Watanabe T, Yasumura S. Gaps between hypertension treatment guidelines and clinical practice in Japan: Baseline survey results from Fukushima Research of Hypertension (FRESH). Journal of Clinical Hypertension. 2009 11; 11: 333-341.


Yingjiao MA, Goto A, Yasumura S, Qijun W, Jianguo XU. Mental health and its relationship to life events and family socioeconomic status among Chinese medical students in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Stress and Health. 2009 02; 25: 71-79.

Updates on the Fukushima Nuclear accident

http://www.iaea.org (Recommended by the Japan Epidemiological Association)
http://www.nirs.go.jp/ENG/index.html (Recommended by the Japan Epidemiological Association)
http://www.who.int/hac/crises/jpn/faqs/en/index.html (Recommended by the Japan Epidemiological Association)
http://www.cochrane.org/features/evidence-aid-resources-japanese-earthquake-and-tsunami (Recommended by the Japan Epidemiological Associat10ion)

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