Changing the Future of Health — With Innovation and Passion From Redeeming the “Lowest Life Expectancy Prefecture” to Promoting Health Around the World
President of Center of Healthy Aging Innovation(COI), Hirosaki Univ.
Shigeyuki NAKAJI, M.D., Ph.D
21 July 1951: Born in Isahaya, Nagasaki
March 1979: Graduated from Hirosaki University, School of Medicine
April 1979: Joined Hirosaki University, Graduate School of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine I
September 2004 to March 2017: Served as Professor at Hirosaki University, Graduate School of Medicine, Department of Social Medicine
February 2012 to January 2016: Served as Dean of Hirosaki University, Graduate School of Medicine (and School of Medicine)
April 2017 to present: Currently serving as Research Professor at Hirosaki University, Graduate School of Medicine, Department of Social Medicine
In 2013, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology selected Hirosaki University as one of twelve centers for its national COI STREAM project, a radical innovation and entrepreneurship program.*1 This was truly an honor for Aomori Prefecture, Hirosaki University and all our participating businesses. I was truly overjoyed when I heard the news.
COI STREAM works to envision “an ideal society existing ten years from today”. To realize this ideal, backcasting research (defining a desirable future and working backwards to determine how to achieve that) and new discoveries are applied to our present society in an effort to stimulate great innovation.
Through analyzing over ten years’ worth of integrated big health data (comprised of 2000 data elements) from the City of Hirosaki’s Iwaki Health Promotion Project, our COI has developed a means to detect early signs of dementia and lifestyle diseases, and continues to propose and verify preventative measures, applying its achievements to society at large. It is our goal to redeem Aomori’s reputation as the prefecture with the lowest life expectancy and create a healthy aging society, “an ideal society existing ten years from today.”
“Preventing and slowing dementia and lifestyle diseases” is an important theme for our COI. This is due to a paradigm shift in this country of high life expectancies, where the average man or woman lives to be over 80 years old. People do not want to simply live longer, they want to be healthier in their old age.
We cannot achieve our goal without the cooperation of industry, academia, the government and the private sector. Fortunately for Aomori Prefecture, these different spheres, along with citizens of the prefecture, are forging ahead with the promotion of good health, independently or in cooperation, united by the objective of extending the average life expectancy. This united front reflects the core beliefs of the national COI project. I sincerely hope the findings of our COI will contribute to health promotion in Aomori Prefecture, improve life expectancies, and go on to be shared with Japan and the world.
*1:This message was written in 2013. As of 30 June 2017, there are 18 COIs.
The Promise of a Trail-Blazing Project in Preventative Medicine
Governor of Aomori Prefecture
The COI at Hirosaki University brings together industry, academia, and the government to blaze new trails in preventative medicine by analyzing massive amounts of health data obtained from Hirosaki University’s exceptional research on brain disorders and the Iwaki Health Promotion Project. This work carries great social significance and promises to enrich the health of Aomori’s citizens while also contributing to its regional industries. I pray that this will lead to radical innovation and an improved quality of life for not only a rapidly aging Japan but the entire world.
From Hirosaki to the World
Innovation to Overcome the Unprecedented Aging Society
Mayor of Hirosaki City
The research of Hirosaki Univ. which aims to detect early lifestyle-related diseases and dementia and to develop prevention by the analysis of Health Big-Data of Iwaki project is a very significant trial for realization of healthy and wealthy society. I expect that the result born in Hirosaki could produce the innovation of preventive medicine and new products and services, and as the innovation to overcome the inevitable unprecedented aging society spread out all over the world.
We Must Strive for Innovation in Preventative Medicine and the Creation of New Industries
President of Hirosaki University
Preventative medicine has played an incredibly important role in the formation of our modern society. And yet it will likely be difficult to establish and implement clear preventative measures for illnesses brought on by lifestyle diseases and a large number of other factors over a long period of time. This is particularly true for people suffering from dementia or strokes. Hirosaki University has always been committed to neuroscientific research; however, the COI and Health Center for Future Innovation will facilitate cohort studies and contribute to innovation in preventative medicine. We will apply the full resources of our university behind the creation of new industries and jobs in Aomori Prefecture.
The five colors that make up this pentagon stand for “University” (Red), “Business” (Yellow), “Government” (Cyan), “Community” (Blue), and “Residents” (Pink). Together, these colors convey a firm commitment to cooperation. The green that sprouts at the top signifies the birth of innovation, advancement, progress, and the future.