Masahiro Asaka, M.D., Ph.D.
Graduated from the School of Medicine, Hokkaido University
Former Director of Hokkaido University Hospital, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Cancer Preventive Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Hokkaido University
Appointed Vice President of the Health Sciences University of Hokkaido in October 2015 and President in April 2016
In 1974, our university was established on an educational ideal that aimed to combine knowledge, virtue, and physical wellbeing. This year, we celebrated our 42nd anniversary. We, "the northern base for fostering new health professionals," are a medical university devoted to the social mission of nurturing specialists for regional healthcare. Our university comprises five faculties and graduate schools, including the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Dentistry, School of Nursing & Social Services, School of Psychological Science, and School of Rehabilitation Science, which is at last fully constructed after four years, as well as the Dental Hygienist School affiliated with the School of Dentistry. We now have approximately 3,500 active students, faculty, and staff members on our three campuses in Tobetsu and Ainosato and Downtown Sapporo (ACU, Satellite Campus in Asty45). The main campus is located in the Tobetsu countryside; set against a backdrop of rich green hills, it overlooks the vast Ishikari Plain. An urban facility with modern equipment in such luxurious natural surroundings - - our university is indeed the ideal ground for higher education, not unlike that offered by the University of Cambridge in the UK or the Ivy League colleges in the US.
In April 2016, I was named the President of the Health Sciences University of Hokkaido as President Norio Niikawa's successor. Before that, apart from the two years I spent studying abroad in the US, I had spent almost 40 years at Hokkaido University after graduating from its School of Medicine in 1972. From 1994 to 2011, I served as a Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine (Gastroenterology), Graduate School of Medicine, Hokkaido University. From 2007, I worked for three years as the Director of Hokkaido University Hospital. At the time, the Hokkaido University Hospital was facing financial troubles, although, fortunately, I could repair much of the damage during my tenure with kind assistance from not only the doctors but also the entire medical team. That experience taught me that running a hospital is not only about managing doctors; it also requires the cooperation of all medical professionals on staff. Thus, treatment must be primarily administered by a doctor and supported by a medical team of nurses and pharmacists, among others. Furthermore, the quality of treatment is directly affected by the efficiency of teamwork involved. Hence, I have come to believe that good teamwork leads to patient satisfaction and can attract more patients, and thus income, to a hospital.
Today, universities face a strong demand for professionals to respond to the various needs of our society. Our university is highly regarded by the outside community and has received outstanding commendations for its regional contributions among all medical universities nationwide. These accolades could be earned because of the tireless efforts of our alumni, who number around 19,000 today. Students at the Health Sciences University of Hokkaido are required to pass qualification exams, such as the state examination, before graduation. The superb environment provided by our university also encourages club or volunteer activities besides academic pursuits. In fact, everything is so enjoyable here that what may seem at first like a long wait before the completion of a course or graduation actually goes by in the blink of an eye. As the highest authority at this university, I bear the enormous responsibility of helping each student find his or her way of life in the few years that they are enrolled here. Thus, it is fortunate that Hokkaido is a splendid land, blessed with the beauties of the four seasons. By providing the best education in a land privileged by the changing seasons, our students will find fulfillment in both academic and campus life, and this, I am confident, is what makes the Health Sciences University of Hokkaido a future Mecca for hopeful elites, a place all medical professionals will aspire to attend. This is also one of my main goals. Our university will soon have a large affiliated hospital in Sapporo where plans for more comprehensive clinical training for our students are also ongoing. With this in mind, we would like to extend our warmest welcome to all aspiring medical professionals to join the Health Sciences University of Hokkaido as we continue to thrive as "the northern base for fostering new health professionals."