Dean, School of Tropical Medicine and Global Health
Health is precious for every person in the world. This is also true for the Earth itself. How can humans make sustainable progress understanding “health” as “science” while valuing a “life”? In the current era of globalization where numerous factors are complexly correlated within the rapid growth of the 21st century, it is essential to adequately and objectively understand the current situation and swiftly implement measures showing a concrete direction for solving global problems.
The School of Tropical Medicine and Global Health (TMGH) is aimed at cultivating professionals who can directly contribute to solving global health issues for people struggling with such problems in low-and middle- income countries (LMIC). In addition to a lack of such professionals in the global health field worldwide, Japan has been unable to contribute to training or sending qualified personnel because of the lack of a large-scale graduate school focused on public health or educational institutions for tropical medicine.
As a result, Nagasaki University established the Master of Tropical Medicine Course within the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 2006 based on the education and research achievements of the Institute of Tropical Medicine. Through the course, doctors with clinical experience could systematically learn the theoretical and clinical foundations of tropical medicine, tropical public health, and epidemiology. This program gave doctors in Japan the opportunity to obtain a master’s degree in tropical medicine in just one year. Along with this new program, considering the importance of tackling health problems internationally from the viewpoint of “global health,” we established the Master of Public Health Course in the Graduate School of International Health Development in 2008. This was aimed at encouraging practices which would improve health and sanitation conditions in LMIC based on scientific, experimental, and theoretical findings in global health. In this course, we provided programs giving insights into the environmental, political, economic, societal, cultural and historical aspects of local areas in addition to knowledge of public health and hygiene. Upon graduation from these two graduate courses, many students have proceeded to work actively on the ground in locations all over the world and in academic positions with international organizations, universities, research institutes, and so on.
It is becoming apparent, however, that an even higher level of education/research is necessary in this rapidly changing world when considering “global health.” As evident by the cases of the Ebola hemorrhagic fever that broke out in West Africa in December 2013, and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) that occurred in our neighboring country of Korea recently, the Earth is becoming more interconnected. Therefore, the School of Tropical Medicine and Global Health was newly established in April 2015 by integrating these courses systematically. All courses will be conducted in English to push for an even higher level of global health professionals. In the School, specialized courses on Tropical Medicine, International Health Development, and Health Innovation will be offered to meet the needs of students from various backgrounds in order to aid them in their studies, offer them chances to gain experience, and conduct research and learn practical procedures. We have established a PhD course and are also striving to train global health professionals through our collaboration with the National Center for Global Health and Medicine in Japan as well as the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which leads the field in global health to offer truly world-class level education and programs, integrating education, practice, and research.
The TMGH is a fresh and new kind of graduate school. Both graduate students and staff are multinational and expected to become strong core personnel in this field while valuing diversity. Nagasaki was a “window” to foreign countries in the Edo Period in Japan. Together, we will establish the true meaning of a “global standard” as a forefront to support the development of health worldwide so that a child’s birthplace does not dictate their future.