The Graduate School of Medicine at Keio University originated in 1873 as the Keio Gijuku Academy of Medicine. In 1920, it became the first Faculty of Medicine at a private university in Japan. The launch of a doctoral program in April 1956 saw it then become a Graduate School under the reformed educational system. Now, as then, the School consists of five specialties: three basic (physiology, pathology, and preventive medicine) and two clinical (internal medicine and surgery).
Following our selection for the Center of Excellence (COE) program, the close ties between basic and clinical medicine espoused by Keio’s “Father of Medicine,” Shibasaburo Kitasato, have been strengthened further. This approach enables graduate students in clinical medicine to make full use of our superb research facilities, such as the Center for Integrated Medical Research on the Shinanomachi Campus. The fruits of our new approach are evident in the increasing number of papers arising from joint research between basic and clinical fields.
This integrative approach has seen the combination of the five specialties into a single medical research major. At the same time, we are accelerating efforts to transcend the conventional framework of specialties in clinical medicine, and driving forward with the education of highly skilled cancer specialists by combining expertise in basic and clinical medicine through our MEXT-supported Cancer Professionals Training Plan.
The motivation for this plan derives from an honest recognition of Japan’s relatively poor clinical research reputation by international standards. We see an urgent need to develop practitioners capable of designing and managing outstanding clinical research that is up to the standards for publication in journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine. As this new form of medical training evidently could not be achieved through the traditional structure of postgraduate medical research, the Graduate School of Medicine was transformed to create a new department of medical science offering two majors. The first cohort of students to study under the new setup began their studies in April 2009.