Nishimiya Fellows Program

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Advisor: Dr. Shunichi Homma, Columbia University Medical Center
Location: Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima, Japan
Duration: One week during June (exact dates TBD)
Funding: Airfare & living expenses provided by the Japanese Medical Support Network (JAMSnet).


Description: The Nishimiya Fellows Program is a weeklong program at Fukushima Medical University (FMU) that introduces students to the topics of disaster medicine and gives them an opportunity to engage in disaster relief activities in Tohoku. This program began in 2012 with funding from the Japanese Medical Support Network (JAMSnet) and support from the Education Center for Disaster Medicine at Fukushima Medical University.

During the summer of 2012, three students from Columbia University participated in this program at FMU. They spent the first two days attending seminars on the basics of radiation biology, the history of past nuclear disasters and the current situation in Fukushima. They also learned how to examine the thyroid gland with an ultrasound, perform disaster triage, and respond to a nuclear accident case using a manikin. Students then spent three days visiting key regions and interacting with individuals who were directly affected by the disaster. Some of the on-the-ground experiences students took part in include volunteering at a health fair for mothers and children at a temporarily housing facility, visiting the base camp for the Fukushima Daiichi cleanup, and traveling to a region destroyed by the tsunami. The experience gave students an opportunity to interact with the local community and learn from physicians and staff at FMU, giving them a much deeper understanding of the scale of the disaster.

This program was very well received and will continue during the summer of 2013. Students selected for this program will be named Nishimiya Fellows in honor of the late Ambassador Shinichi Nishimiya, Deputy Foreign Minister and former Japanese Ambassador to New York, who greatly contributed to the effort to aid those affected by the March 11th tsunami and earthquake.


1. Students in good academic standing pursuing a 4-year undergraduate degree, a professional degree or a doctorate

2. Due to the nature of the program, preference will be given to affiliates of CUMC, students attending medical school and students pursuing pre-medical studies

Selection Criteria

1. Demonstrated academic excellence
2. Show strong interest in the Nishimiya Fellows program
3. Demonstrated interest in medicine, Japan, the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake or social activism


1. Present summer experiences at the CJR meeting in the fall of 2013
For more information on the program, please visit
If you have any questions about the Nishimiya Fellows Program, please email

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