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Overview of the Center for Community Health, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan

Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine established the Center for Community Health (CCH) on May 1, 2011 to provide support to the local communities in Miyagi Prefecture that were affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Background and mission
After the initial acute phase in which emergency medical care and humanitarian support were needed, it is now important to protect health of people in affected areas from mid-term and long-term perspectives.  Currently, many evacuees are facing to various health risks, including communicable disease, under-nutroition, psychological distress, and physical inactivity.  Moreover, public health systems in many affected areas were also severely damaged and are not fully functioning yet. It is critical to reconstruct the local public health systems for protecting lives and health of survivors and also for recovery of the communities as whole. Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, located in Miyagi prefecture, which was most severely affected by the earthquake, has established CCH with an aim to provide technical support toward recovery of public health systems in affected areas.

Structure of the center
Director: Prof Ichiro Tsuji (Division of Epidemiology)
Vice-directors: Prof Hitoshi Oshitani (Division of Virology), Prof Kayoko Hirano (Division of International Nursing Management)
Project teams: There are a total nine project teams headed by professors of the school and staff and students of the school and other relevant experts outside of the school will participate in supporting activities.

Activities of the center
Based on the mutual agreement between Miyagi prefecture and / or affected municipalities and CHSC, following four activities will be conducted;

1)    To conduct the survey on health needs of people and public health needs of the communities including living environment, general hygiene and physical and psychological status.

2)    To provide necessary recommendations for the purpose of reconstructing local public health systems based on the survey

3)    To provide various preventive health care including health counseling, health education, communicable disease prevention, mental health, maternal and child health, exercise, nutrition, and so forth.

4)    To provide advisory support on overall public health programs


Project teams and team leaders
To cope with above 4 areas activities, there are 9 project teams in the center.

1)    Community survey (Leader: Prof. Ichiro Tsuji, Division of Epidemiology)

Conducting the survey of health needs of people in affected areas and public health needs of the communities, and providing necessary recommendations for reconstructing public health systems

2)    Health promotion and education (Leader: Prof. Kayoko Hirano, Division of International Nursing Management)

Providing advice and conducting health promotion and education activities for people and providing technical advice to public health nurses and relevant health professionals of affected areas

3)    Communicable disease prevention (Leader: Prof. Hitoshi Oshitani, Division of Virology)

Assessing the potential risk of communicable disease in affected areas and providing the necessary guidance to prevent communicable diseases to public health nurses and relevant health professionals

4)    Mental Health (Leader: Prof. Hiroo Matsuoka, Division of Psychiatry)

Assessing the status and the needs of mental health and providing necessary support to people and the technical advice to public health nurses and relevant health professionals

5)    Maternal and child health (Leader: Prof. Nobuo Yaegashi, Division of Gynecology and Obstetrics)

Assessing the status and the needs of maternal and child health and providing the necessary support to people and technical advice to public health nurses and relevant health professionals

6)    Physical exercise (Leader: Prof. Ryoichi Nagatomi, Division of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise)

Assessing the physical activity and functions, conducting exercise and health promotion activities to people and providing technical advice to public health nurses and relevant health professionals

7)    Nutrition (Leader: Prof. Yuko Minami, Division of Community Health)

Assessing the dietary and nutrition status and providing necessary support to people and technical advice to public health nurses and relevant health professionals.

8)    Preventive care (Leader: Prof. Ichiro Tsuji, Division of Epidemiology)

Assessing the risk to increased level of necessary care for elderly, providing preventive care support and technical advice to public health nurses and relevant health professionals.

9)    Dental Health (Leader: Prof. Keiichi Sasaki, Dean of Graduate School of Dentistry)

Conducting dental health activities in affected areas and providing technical advice to public health nurses and relevant health professionals.


In addition to team activities listed above, three projects below were identified as cross-cutting issues of the Center

1)    Public health assessment

With the assessment of public health system and health needs of people in affected areas, the recommendations on public health recovery will be provided

2)    Health survey

It has been conducted questionnaire survey and physical examination for people in affected areas every 6 months to monitor their health status. Output of this survey will be utilized by each team of the Center.

3)    Record and documentation of public health recovery process

The process of public health recovery will be recorded and documented


Staff
Director                            Ichiro Tsuji
Vice Director                    Hitoshi Oshitani


Location
Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine
2-1 Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai, 980-8575, Japan
TEL : +81-22-717-8124
FAX : +81-22-717-8125
MAIL:info@ch-center.med.tohoku.ac.jp