The Japanese Association for Gender-Specific Medicine



I am Hiroaki Shimokawa, professor at Tohoku University, and I am the new director of the Japanese Association for Gender-Specific Medicine. As I am determined to do the best I can for the further development of this association that Dr. Chuwa Tei, the first director, has helped to establish, I cordially solicit your kind support and cooperation.

Human gender has two types: male and female. It is self-evident that there is no difference in the basic mechanism for maintaining life, but there is a large difference in particular in the reproductive function for the preservation of the species and in the related mental and physical functions. It is only recently, however, that people have started focusing squarely on the above.

It is said that the history of gender-specific medicine started when Barbara Seaman, a female American journalist, started a women's health movement in 1957. Later in 1975, the National Women's Health Network was founded, covering the entire United States. But because of the negative effects of thalidomide drugs between the 1960s and 1970s, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a notification prohibiting the inclusion of women of child-bearing potential in the clinical testing of drugs. But the study of clinical conditions unique to women by Dr. Brandt of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1985 and the start of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), large-scale epidemiological research by NIH in 1991 prompted the FDA to issue a notification recommending that half of the subjects be women in the clinical testing of drugs. And since 1995, the Office on Women's Health (OWH) has been set up in the FDA.

In the meantime in Japan, based on the above movements in the U.S., Dr. Tei founded Japan's first women's clinic in Kagoshima University in 2001. Then, the Association for Gender-Specific Medicine in Japan was established in 2004 with Dr. Keiko Amano serving as the representative organizer, when the first academic meeting was held. The meetings were held annually for four years. These activities developed into the establishment of the Japanese Association for Gender-Specific Medicine in 2008. Dr. Tei became the first director and led the association for the past four years.

As one of my areas of expertise is ischemic heart diseases, I have studied microvascular angina common in women after menopause. This is why Dr. Tei and Dr. Amano invited me to take part in the workshop at an early stage.

I have been appointed to the post of director, replacing Dr. Tei, the first director, and I am determined to work for the development of gender medical care/gender medicine in Japan, following the line set by Dr. Amano and Dr. Tei. Ours is a cross-disciplinary broad-based association participated by doctors in a wide variety of specialties, as you can see in the column showing the list of the officers. Not only professionals in all areas of clinical medicine but also social medicine and legal professionals take part in this association. It goes without saying that cooperation by the officers and members in various specialty areas as above is essential for the development of the association. Additionally, I intend to make this association one that attracts the attention of the general public and enjoys their participation in wide-ranging ways.

Therefore, I sincerely hope for your cooperation.

Hiroaki Shimokawa,
Director, Japanese Association for Gender-Specific Medicine
Professor, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine