Posted in JMSA Japan Relief Fund

First Anniversary Memorial for Japan's Earthquake and Tsunami Victims

Almost a year has passed since the terrible earthquake and tsumani struck Japan. On the eve of the first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, a memorial event, "Together for 311", will be held by the Fellowship for Japan to commemorate the victims of the disaster. The Fellowship for Japan is a coalition of organizations collaborating to support disaster relief efforts in Japan.

The memorial event will include speeches by Ambassador Shigeyuki Hiroki of the Consul General of Japan in NY, Mr. Motoatsu Sakurai, President of Japan Society, and student representatives from Ridgewood High School in New Jersey. Video messages from Dr. Takeshi Kanno of Tohoku University Hospital, Mr. Yohei Arakawa from the Congress of Natori City in Miyagi Prefecture, and Minato Preschool in Fukushima Prefecture will also be played. 

Date: Saturday, March 10, 2012
Time: Doors open 5:00pm
           Memorial event 5:45-6:45pm
Place: First Church of Christ, Scientist
          10 West 68th St at Central Park West, New York, NY 10023 (map)

Admission is free. Donations will be accepted.
100% of donations will be used for relief efforts in the affected areas in Northeastern Japan.  

Please click the following for details of the event in English and Japanese

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One year later - a special symposium at Columbia University and Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Posted in JMSA Japan Relief Fund

consortium for japan reliefOne Year Later, a Special 2-day Symposium at Mount Sinai and Columbia University

The Consortium for Japan Relief (CJR) is organizing a special 2-day symposium at two university campuses in NYC. Focus will be on the long term community recovery program and state of mental health in Tohoku, one year later. CJR is Columbia-wide student organizing committee advised by Dr. Shunichi Homma and Dean Jeanette Takamura, along with student coordinators, Emily Kidder, Daiyu Suzuki and Kirsten Homma, and core members, Professors Hugh Patrick, Gerry Curtis, Paul Anderer, and Dr. Robert Yanagisawa (MSSM).

The Rockefeller Group Donates to the Japan Relief Fund

Posted in JMSA Japan Relief Fund



The JMSA is pleased to announce that The Rockefeller Group has made a generous donation of $8,000 to the JMSA Japan Relief Fund. The Rockefeller Group also pledges to donate an additional $16,000 over the next two years.  These funds will provide much needed support for long-term recovery efforts in Touhoku.  For more information about ongoing relief activities in Touhoku, please see the links on the JMSA Japan Relief Fund Update page.  Many thanks to our generous sponsors!

International Symposia in Fukushima on Jan 8, 2012

Posted in JMSA Japan Relief Fund

As people celebrated Coming of Age Ceremonies all around Japan, “Kokoro-no Care” team held a very special symposia at Fukushima Medical University and simultaneously broadcasted to four satellite locations.  Symposia began with an encouraging video message from Dr. Phil Landrigan, Dean for Global Health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.  He set a warm and sympathetic atmosphere in the auditorium filled with Disaster Relief Supporters from all over Japan and US.

Dr. Craig Katz, a world expert in building Global Disaster Mental Health Programs gave one of the most substantive lectures on Disaster Psychiatry.  Symposia continued with lessons learned from Great Hanshin Earthquake by Dr. Hiroshi Kato and Great Sichuan Earthquake by Dr. Eizaburo Tanaka centering on Traumatic Stress.  Dr. Robert Yanagisawa summarized various international disaster relief actions to date and Dr. Shunichi Homma discussed coordination of international support with a future vision.  Dr. Tom Hedberg proposed use of web based medical information resources for both relief supporters as well as disaster victims.  Program concluded with a report of current state of mental healthcare in coastal Fukushima area from Dr. Hirooki Yabe of Fukushima Medical University.

Reception for Japanese Delegates of Pediatric Mental Health Care Organizations

Posted in JMSA Japan Relief Fund


December 10, 2011

Focus: US-Japan Summit for the Great East Japan Disaster Relief Supporters
趣旨: 東日本大震災 復興支援者たちの日米交流会

Co-Sponsored by American Airlines, Asian American Federation, Prospect-Hill Foundation, and the Japanese Medical Society of America
協賛 アメリカン航空、在米アジア人連合、プロスペクト ヒル財団、米国日本人医師会

Makoto IwaharaAbout 40 delegates from 18 different organizations came together for a summit meeting to exchange ideas regarding how US and Japanese groups can best continue to collaborate, especially focusing on post disaster mental health care issues. Many delegates from Japan were disaster survivors themselves from Miyagi and Iwate, but continue to work as specialists for pediatric mental health care providers. They are joined by those who continue to offer support from all over Japan. Many US delegates are leaders of various US support groups who have carried out disaster relief missions in Japan. Japan’s strong resilience and strides toward recovery as a nation are enhanced by bonds of friendship from the US and abroad.


この度の東日本大震災の復興のため子供のメンタルヘルスの分野に対して今後、日米間でいかなる協力が必要か議論されました。 参加者はそれぞれ支援活動のリーダーで、御自身が被災者で ありながら宮城県や岩手県の専門家として活躍されている方々、日本各地から被災地にて子どもの心のケアに従事する医療・保健・福祉関係の専門職の方々、またはるばる米国から被災地入りし救援活動、支援をしている方々などで、18団体から約40名が集まる合同意見交換の場がもたれました。これからも更に復旧復興に向けての切磋琢磨されようとする日本の皆様の有志と、米国からの様々な継続支援の絆が、被災地の励ましになるのが感じられました。

For more details about the summit participants, please click Read More.

Tribute to Japan Benefit Concert

Posted in JMSA Japan Relief Fund

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On October 14, the Tribute to Japan benefit concert was held at Rockefeller Research Labs, featuring performances by students from Weill Cornell Medical College and the Juilliard School, and special guests Yuko Okamoto, Hiro Matsuo, and Saburo Ochiai.  The event raised over $2000 for the JMSA's Japan Relief Fund.  Many thanks to the Music and Medicine Initiative and all who donated to support long-term relief efforts in Touhoku! 


Kokoro no Care

Posted in JMSA Japan Relief Fund

pic 1This Obon marks five months since the 3/11 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. As of 8/11, 20,433 people are reported dead or missing and more than 90,000 people are still displaced from home. In this time of sorrow and remembrance, Japan Society has given us at JMSA hope and the opportunity of a lifetime to profoundly impact one of the medically underserved areas of East Japan by awarding us a three-year grant to support Kokoro no Care programs in Fukushima.

People in Fukushima prefecture suffer from high levels of stress as they face the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, and the fear of harmful radiation. For survivors dealing with these issues and grieving for lost loved ones, quality mental health care is a great need. 

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 Unfortunately, mental health care resources are currently scarce in Fukushima. Even prior to 3/11, many areas such as Soma City (population 38,000) did not have mental health clinics or hospitals with a psychiatry unit, so patients commuted to Minami Soma for their care.  However, since 3/11, their care has been interrupted because a large part of Minami Soma falls within the 30 km evacuation zone from the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant; almost all mental health care facilities in Minami Soma, including four hospitals with psychiatry units and several outpatient clinics, have been closed down since 3/11. This amounts to 840 psychiatric inpatient beds.



Faced with dire need and a lack of mental health care resources for Soma and Minami Soma, Dr. Shinichi Niwa and his “Kokoro no Care” team at Fukushima Medical University began executing their plan to build a new mental health care system in the area.  Their main goals are to:

  1. Provide ongoing therapy and support for patients with preexisting mental health conditions
  2. Provide early intervention for disaster related depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD)
  3. Reduce cognitive functional decline in displaced elderly residents
  4. Prevent expected rises in the suicide rate and “lonely deaths”
  5. Decrease hospital admissions for mental health

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After thorough research and visits to several local medical facilities, JMSA identified Kokoro no Care as a meaningful, long-term project that will significantly impact areas affected by the earthquake, tsunami, and radiation. With the help of Mr. Eisaku Sato and the Rotary Club, JMSA has established a relief fund and has sent $150,000 to help start the program.  We at JMSA believe that our collaboration with the Kokoro no Care team and core networking groups including Columbia University, Fukushima Medical University, JAMSnet Tokyo, JAMSnet NY, Japan Society, Mount Sinai Global Health, Noveida, and Rotary Club represents a truly unique international effort to support the financial and operational aspects of local relief efforts in Fukushima.

As the intial step in the Kokoro no Care project, Dr. Niwa and his team opened a temporary mental health clinic at Soma Public General Hospital (公立相馬総合病院) with the support of many volunteer mental health specialists and other medical staff. Since 3/29, they have had 500 outpatient visits and some 20 patients who required admission to a psychiatric hospital in central Fukushima.


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The team also began to offer stress relief sessions to the general public through a program called “Let’s take a break” (ちょっとここで一休みの会) which is held weekly at various town halls near the temporary housing units. At the sessions, a team consisting of mental health nurses, occupational therapists, clinical psychologists, and social workers conducts various relaxation exercises, yoga, kids’ play, and counseling. The average attendance has been about 15 people per meeting including children and adults.




pic 4In the next phase, Dr. Niwa and his Kokoro no Care team are planning to establish two multidisciplinary satellite mental health care outreach teams as well as a day care center in order to better serve the needs of Soma and Minami Soma. The day care center will serve as the base office for outreach teams, and will also house 2-3 short stay beds for acute or respite care services. These facilities will offer much needed breaks for families caring for elderly or chronically ill family members at home. 

Japan Society will generously fund JMSA over the next three years to help support  the Kokoro no Care project in Fukushima. This will provide much needed financial support to implement this important project as a model for future mental healthcare systems in Japan.



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Dealing with Disaster Symposium: Oct. 5th

Posted in JMSA Japan Relief Fund

CJR logo


The Consortium for Japan Relief (CJR), led by JMSA board member Dr. Shunichi Homma, invites you to attend a multidisciplinary symposium:

Dealing with Disaster: Caring for Japan Post 3-11
Wednesday October 5th, 2011
6:00 pm - 8:15 pm (Reception to follow)
Faculty House Skyline Dining Room
Columbia University
64 Morningside Drive, New York NY, 10027

Please register at

This symposium will mark the six-month anniversary of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, and will feature a multidisciplinary panel composed of renowned Columbia experts on radiation, disaster preparedness, economics, politics, mental health and complicated grief. For more information, please visit the link above. We hope to see you at this great event!