School of Medicine
Keijiro Saku , MD , PhD
As typified by concepts such as organ transplantation, regenerative medicine, and gene therapy, we are now entering an age in which medical science must extend beyond medical care and develop as a study which focuses on the ethical issues related to the deepest core of humanity. In addition, the relationship between physicians and patients has changed from a one-sided relationship dominated by the physician to one in which both sides hold discussions until both are satisfied to select the best treatment methods and cooperate to implement medical care. Therefore, in addition to a mastery of the fast-evolving developments in medical science and medical techniques, physicians now must also have a high level of understanding of ethics and a well-rounded character. At our department, based on the reality that it is people that provide medical care for other people, we aim to foster physicians of the highest quality in terms of not only being medical physicians, but also sensitive human beings.
In order to foster physicians of the highest quality, rather than a curriculum based on memorization and cramming, our department has therefore adopted a "model core curriculum for medical education" for efficiently providing fundamental education, and all members of our teaching staff work to provide instruction that strengthens each student's ability to apply their knowledge. Moreover, some academic years include tutorials founded on problem-based learning (PBL) in which small groups of 6 or 7 students conduct their own research and deliberations in order to solve different problems. Tutors only correct the students when the students begin to go in the wrong direction. This cultivates each student's ability to solve problems and allows them to form the habit of independent learning.
Our main curriculum involves specialized courses on medicine as well as nursing experience and study tours of different facilities starting from the first year in order to expose the students to medical care at an early stage. From the second year until the first half of the third year, the curriculum focuses on basic medical science, and for practical training, we have enough equipment for each student. From the second half of the third year to the fourth year, through short-term integrated courses on clinical medicine and integrated lectures combining lessons on internal medicine and surgery for each internal organ, the students receive a thorough education to cultivate their clinical skills before undergoing clinical training. The students are also thoroughly prepared for the two nationwide common examinations conducted at the end of the fourth year, including a computer-based test (CBT), which is a computerized assessment of their comprehensive medical knowledge, and an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE), which is an objective test of their clinical skills. In the fifth and sixth years, each student enters a clinical clerkship program involving bedside learning (BSL) at an outpatient department or a hospital ward under the instruction of a supervisory doctor, and in addition to acquiring the practical knowledge and skills required of a physician and learning how to effectively deal with patients, the students also receive comprehensive guidance to prepare them for the National Examination for Medical Practitioners.