Activities

Launched the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Law (CBEL)
Since 2003, our staff have offered introductory courses in biomedical ethics for undergraduate and graduate students as well as adults who work in healthcare related fields. We offer a 3 month seminar and a summer intensive course, and have run the program eight times to date. About 600 people have now passed through the course. After completing the course, many of our students are now working as members of hospital ethics committee or as ethics consultants. Some of them have also formed a study group on their own and meet on a regular basis

Voices of our graduates:

  • “Through this course I acquired a way of thinking that is necessary when you try to solve ethical problems and to understand their backgrounds. Lectures given at CBEL were systematic and covered a broad range of knowledge including philosophical ideas and relevant legal regulations, which are indispensable for problem solving. The lectures met my expectations. The teachers were great, too, and I could feel their enthusiasm for teaching. Also, the group discussions always gave us a good opportunity to think on our own. Each of the members in my discussion group had a different point of view and different values which helped me think about the problems in new ways.”
    Nurse
  • “In joining the course, I was hoping to become the kind of a doctor who is capable of appropriately addressing the kind of ethical problems that we encounter in routine clinical practice. I now feel I have a solid foundation to work on which requires me to make sure that I follow the laws and regulations first, and in addition to “think ethically” by applying such practical knowledge as the “four principles of bioethics” and the “four topics method” of clinical ethics to the case at hand.”
    Doctor
  • “My initial worry that a layperson like me may not be able to understand the lectures proved unfounded and every week I was looking forward to the seminar. I could feel the administrator’s care and consideration in the atmosphere of the class, the lecturers’ choices of words, and the way they addressed us, not to mention the PowerPoint slides used in the lectures, and also the lecturers’ strong belief that “we need to foster consultants of biomedical ethics!” I gained more than I expected by sitting among many medical providers, learning about real situations encountered in medicine, seeing how people of different opinions structure their thoughts.”
    Magazine editor

Published the first biomedical ethics textbooks / educational materials in Japan
UT-CBEL published Introduction to Biomedical Ethics,, volumes 1 and 2 (ed. A. Akabayashi, Keiso Shobo, 2005/2007), the first systematic textbooks of biomedical ethics in Japan. These textbooks are considered the best introductory book in the field to date. UT-CBEL also translated into Japanese some of the major textbooks around the world: Clinical Ethics by A. Jonsen et al. (5th ed, McGraw-Hill, 2002; Japanese translation from Sinkoh-Igaku Shuppan, 2006); and T. Hope’s A Very Short Introduction to Medical Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2004; Japanese translation from Iwanami Shoten, 2007). The center has also made contributions to biomedical ethics education in Japan by publishing an educational DVD, Introduction to Biomedical Ethics, (ed. A. Akabayashi, Maruzen, 2005).

Received grade “A” from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)
Our center received an overall grade of “A” (the best grade) in the post-project evaluation from MEXT in recognition of our achievements in training researchers and practitioners in biomedical ethics.

“Overall evaluation: The center has achieved more than their original goals. It must be highly evaluated that the center has trained researchers and practitioners by creating an effective curriculum for lectures and running a work-study program in biomedical ethics, a topic that is of growing importance in biosciences and medicine. That the number of researchers who completed their program has become larger than was anticipated, and that the number of consultants who completed the program is considerably larger than originally envisioned, demonstrates simultaneously the high social need of their project and the large impact the center has made. It is also worth noting that graduates of the program have formed a network and try to exchange information through organizing a study group on their own. It is expected that the center will continue to pursue its goal of training highly skilled researchers in the future.”
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
post-project evaluation of the “Center for Biomedical Ethics and Law” (2003-2007)

To be an international hub for biomedical ethics
In 2008, our Center for Biomedical Ethics and Law was selected as one of the “Global Centers of Excellence” by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). We now aim to become a large hub for biomedical ethics research both domestically and internationally through collaborations with major biomedical ethics research institutions, focusing on three areas: public policy, clinical practice, and research.

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