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兵庫医科大学医学会

My clinical clerkship at Hyogo College of Medicine, Japan

Ofer Fassさん(第4学年次)

My time at Hyogo College of medicine was an extraordinary and formative experience. Before arriving in Japan, I was worried that an insurmountable language and cultural barrier would exist between myself, the college faculty and the medical students. However, from my first day, I found myself warmly welcomed. I met students, made friends, performed cutting-edge research, and spent weekends immersing myself in the history and traditions of Japan.
My month at Hyogo College of Medicine was primarily spent working in Professor Hiroto Miwa’s research lab. I chose to work with Professor Miwa because his lab performs numerous, highly specialized techniques used to study the gastrointestinal system. One of these techniques, known as air-liquid interface (ALI) culture, allows for accurate modeling of the esophageal lumen. His lab has validated the use of ALI and continues to use the model as a powerful tool for testing how acid exposure alters the molecular proteins holding the cells of the esophagus together. As an aspiring gastroenterologist with an interest in academia, the opportunity to work with an internationally renowned gastrointestinal investigator was an incredible experience. I learned a great deal from Professor Miwa and plan to apply the techniques I learned from his lab towards my future research in the United States.
My time with Professor Miwa culminated in the 2017 joint meeting between the Asian Neurogastroenterology & Motility Association (ANMA) and the Japanese Society of Neurogastroenterology & Motility (JSNM). At this meeting, I had the opportunity to speak with academic leaders from around Asia and the world. I attended keynote lectures, read posters about research occurring throughout Japan, and networked with other young physicians with similar interests as myself. The ANMA and JSNM joint meeting demonstrated to me the importance of international relationships between physicians and scientists. The sharing of ideas allows for accelerated innovation and advancements in medicine. It reinforced my decision to complete an international research elective at Hyogo College of Medicine.
In addition to research, I also had plenty of time to meet fellow medical students, who made an extra effort to make me feel welcome. During my first week, members of the Hyogo College of Medicine English Club held a welcome party for me, and brought numerous Japanese snacks for us to enjoy. They took me out for meals near the college and spent an entire weekend showing me around the historic, nearby city of Kyoto. Their hospitality was endearing and made me feel at home. Most importantly, I learned that medical school in Hyogo is not so different from my school in Boston. Medical students in Japan and the United States both take stressful exams, complete challenging clinical rotations, and enjoy spending their free time watching movies and playing sports. I value the friendships I made and hope to stay in touch with the people I met throughout my medical career.
Although I spent a significant portion of my time in the research lab, I had plenty of opportunities to explore the food, history, and culture of Japan. I spent a weekend touring the ancient capital of Kyoto and another weekend travelling throughout the Kansai region. I tasted various Japanese foods and became especially fond of two dishes. The first, okonomiyaki, is a noodle and cabbage pancake loaded with seafood and sauce. The second, sukiyaki, involves cooking raw meat in a bowling pot of broth and then dipping the meat in raw egg yolk before eating. Try either of these dishes and I’m sure you’ll be hooked on Japanese cuisine as well!
I strongly believe that my experience at Hyogo College of Medicine has enabled me to become a better scientist and physician. The people I have met and the research techniques I have learned will continue to shape my professional development for many years to come. I hope to maintain productive relationships with the friends I made and to continue working with them throughout my professional career. I am thankful for the unique opportunity to spend a month in Japan and will continue to look for opportunities to bring together the American and Japanese medical communities.

研修中の様子

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