The ultimate outcome envisaged for this Ph.D. Program is that it functions as a human resources training and education system for the Tsukuba Innovation Area for life (TIA life), a life sciences research consortium that can lead Japan in this field. At the same time, the Ph.D. Program should help the University of Tsukuba develop into a hub for a global network of universities conducting collaborative research on an international basis.
This program is aimed to foster what we call “environment leaders”, environmental medical specialists who are focused on the medical aspect of the environment.? Trained in an education program based on both on-site and laboratory practices, these leaders can translate experimental science into policy science
Environmental issues and health issues always lie side by side.? Taking Mekong River for example, the biggest international river in Asia that runs through Indochina, the basin is being increasingly industrialized, and as a result, the river is now polluted and there is a decrease in biodiversity.? Also there have been reports of foul odor and health problems such as respiratory illnesses.? In order to prevent people’s lives from further degrading in the region, swift measures need to be taken, which requires excellent leadership in many social and academic aspects including engineering, agriculture, economics and politics.? Because environmental issues and health issues are closely intertwined, we believe that the biggest outcome of solving environmental issues is good health–maintaining and restoring it. Therefore, what we need is good human resources that can tackle environmental problems from the medical standpoint.
Featuring hands-on policy, this program incorporates a month of field trips into the regular curriculum as one of its main pillars to learn the history of pollution in Japan.? Other modules of the curriculum include: 1) three months of course work?to improve basic knowledge in Environmental Medicine and other related fields; 2) four months of laboratory work?to learn advanced skills in Environmental Medicine; 3) four months of skill development?to acquire power of execution, the ability to plan and execute independently.
All of these will help students develop an awareness that the interest of science should be in line with the interest of its recipients, and therefore, the study of environmental medicine stands with people’s lives.? This awareness will in turn foster the spirit of volunteerism in scientists.
Furthermore, this program stresses the need for translational research, in which students not only learn skills out of a textbook or in the lab, but actually visit historic sites of pollution in Japan with Japanese students, and have hands-on experience.? By doing so, students will feel the need to translate laboratory science into policy science.
Medicine does not stand alone with basic and advanced studies.? It is the practice of clinical medicine that truly signifies our studies and helps tackle the challenges of modern times.? Particularly in terms of international medical activities, there is literally a mountain of issues to address in the fields of clinical medicine and public health, including the issues of establishing a solid training system and building social and financial infrastructures.? In clinical training, clinical research is of great importance.? Therefore, it is quite significant that trainees experience in an excellent overseas environment clinical cases that are different from those in Japan both in terms of quality and quantity, and organize such experiences in their studies.