FUKUSHIMA Lives on the Line

250*Hitoshi YOKOYAMA, Tohoku University Medical School (Graduated in 1983)– Dr. Yokoyama became Professor and Chair of Cardiovascular Surgery at Fukushima Medical University in 2001, and has served concurrently as Vice President of Fukushima Medical University Hospital since 2006. In 2011, following the Great East Japan Earthquake, Dr. Yokoyama consolidated all of the disaster and medical relief efforts in Fukushima Prefecture as well as the radiation medical assistance efforts at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant through the Fukushima Medical University Disaster Response Headquarters. He has been a member of both the Fukushima Prefecture Reconstruction Vision Committee and the Reconstruction Plan Evaluation Committee.IntroductionWhat kind of function should universities serve within societies and can they actually serve any function are major themes of the discourse on modern society? In this book, I attempt to consider the function that has been placed upon my university as a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the role it should play in the ongoing recovery of Fukushima Prefecture. I have learned many lessons as an individual, ranging from the measures taken by the university’s Disaster Response Headquarters to participation in the Recovery Plan for Fukushima. At the same time, this was an opportunity to consider the management of the university and its contribution to society. The organization known as today’s “university,” born out of modern contemporary progress, could be said to be a grand and historic social experiment. In the face of the critical state of both the nation and its people in the aftermath of the unprecedented disaster that shook the very foundations of regional communities, we must ask ourselves, “How much can we help? What will we contribute?”General Background of the UniversityFukushima Prefecture is located at the midpoint between the Tohoku and Kanto regions of Japan. It is divided into three large subregions: “Hamadori,” the Pacific coastal region; “Nakadori” with Fukushima City and Koriyama City, where the Tohoku Shinkansen Rail Line and the Tohoku Highway were established; and “Aizu”, the region with Aizuwakamatsu City at its center. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is located in Hamadori, and is situated 57 km away from Fukushima City, the prefectural capital and location of Fukushima Medical University (FMU).As Fukushima Prefecture’s only medical school, FMU runs both medical and nursing schools, and commits itself to providing medical and nursing training programs, facilitating research, and offering clinical care. Since its establishment, it has produced approximately 3700 physicians, and has developed a network for healthcare services in all regions of Fukushima Prefecture, involving healthcare providers from large general hospitals to medium and small-sized hospitals and clinics. The FMU Hospital has approximately 300 specialist physicians on staff across all departments, providing sophisticated, high-quality medical care. The Hospital admits approximately 700 patients on average per day, treats an average of approximately 1600 outpatients per day, and performs 4500 general anesthesia surgical cases per year. The university was established by the Fukushima prefectural governor, was reestablished as a public institution the following year, and remains as such to this day. The University collaborates closely with the prefectural government, and cooperates with other prefectures in the Tohoku Region by being responsive to the severe need for physicians.FMU streamlined its decision-making protocols after its incorporation as a public institution, and specializes in clinical healthcare and nursing. “Health, Safety, and Security for the Residents of Fukushima” clarifies the mission of the university as a “community university.” Its faculty of general and basic studies Article excerpt from the 2012 March Volume of the magazine “University & College Management” with the headline “Special Edition: The Great East Japan Earthquake—How Universities Reacted when the Earthquake Hit”:Fukushima Medical University: Managing Risks, and Prospects for Recovery after The Great East Japan Earthquake and the Accident at a Nuclear Power PlantHitoshi Yokoyama*Recovery Headquarters Committee Member Vice President, Fukushima Medical University HospitalProfessor and Chair, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Fukushima Medical University