Doctors, medical students visit USNH Okinawa

Lt. Cmdr. Gene Sherrod, far left, gives visiting students and physicians from the University of the Ryukyus a tour of the intensive care unit Sept. 12 at U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa on Camp Foster. Sherrod is the ICU department head at USNH Okinawa. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Natalie M. Rostran)

Doctors, medical students visit USNH Okinawa

by: Lance Cpl. Natalie M. Rostran
Okinawa Marine Staff
published: September 20, 2013
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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa, Japan -- Physicians and medical students from the University of the Ryukyus University Hospital visited U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa Sept. 12 at Camp Foster.

The purpose of the visit was to familiarize the members of the university with the medical practices of the hospital and provided tour the facility.

The day began with a presentation that introduced the visitors to the Marine Corps’ operational structure. The brief also discussed the role of III Marine Expeditionary Force during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations along with the volunteer work and community relations of III MEF and Marine Corps Installations Pacific personnel.

“I didn’t know the Marines were doing so many good services,” said Asuka Shiomi, a fifth-year medical student with the University of the Ryukyus. “They really are trying to build a good relationship with the Japanese people.”

The lecture was followed by a tour of USNH Okinawa that included the multiservice ward, which specializes in treating patients of all ages, the intensive care unit and the operating rooms.

“It’s great to show off our new building, and share and exchange knowledge with cultural (experiences) like these,” said Lt. Cmdr. Gene Sherrod, the department head for the intensive care unit at USNH Okinawa.

During the tour, the hospital staff answered the visitors’ questions about equipment and practices.

“The tour was very interesting,” said Shiomi. “Not only did I learn about the services and equipment, I learned about how the location and structure of the hospital were built.”

The hospital, which opened in March 2013, was constructed to withstand earthquakes and located on high ground outside of tsunami flood zones.

The students were also introduced to the hospital’s Japanese National Physician Graduate Medical Education program. The yearlong program takes six Japanese interns and introduces them to Western-style medical practices. The interns also serve as translators and liaisons between the hospital staff and the people of Okinawa.

“I’m enjoying myself very much,” said Reiichiro Obata, an intern with the program. “We can use what we learn here and apply it when we return to Japanese hospitals. The standards between (Japanese) techniques and Western styles are different enough that this has been very helpful and diverse.”

The visiting medical students expressed interest in the program and the options it opens to interns.

“It’s a very good opportunity for Japanese interns,” said Shiomi. “Many Japanese medical doctors who would want to practice in America can get the training they would need to work in the U.S. (here at USNH Okinawa). I’m very interested in applying for the program.”

The students ended their day with a question-and-answer session with the Japanese interns.

“I did not know what the (U.S. Forces) offered here,” said Shiomi. “Today’s tour of the hospital and the lecture on the Marine Corps this morning gave me more insight.”