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Tohoku University Undergraduate and Graduate Schools of Dentistry, Bringing Forth the Next Generation in Dentistry and Dental Treatment

Dean of the Tohoku University Undergraduate and
Graduate Schools of Dentistry
Keiichi Sasaki

The Undergraduate and Graduate Schools of Dentistry at Tohoku University are located in the middle of the northwest district of the city of Sendai, also known as the "City of Trees." This district is called Seiryocho, and is the foot of the northern terrace of Sendai, which is blessed with the famous temple Kitayamagozan related to the leader of Oshu, Masamune Date (popular name Dokuganryu, "One-Eyed Dragon"). The School of Medicine, Graduate School of Geriatrics, and the Tohoku University Hospital are also located at the same Seiryo Campus, and the campus is forming the most important hub in dental education and cutting-edge treatment in eastern Japan.

Since it was founded in 1907, Tohoku University has developed into a prominent Japanese university based on its "principle of research first" tradition, "open and free" ideology, "respect for practical learning" spirit, and in 1965 the School of Dentistry was formed. The Graduate School of Dentistry was formed seven years later in 1972. In 2000, the Graduate School of Dentistry at Tohoku University took an important turn that other dentistry schools in Japan would follow, becoming more practical in graduate education, increasing the number of leaders in the field it trained, and gaining a good evaluation from the National Institution for Academic Degrees. Due to the background of how the school progressed, Tohoku University, bearing the name of "research-centered university," holds high expectations in the development of the field of dentistry.

Tohoku University Undergraduate and Graduate Schools of Dentistry

In 2002, the proposal of "Interface Oral Health Science" caused a new large advancement in the concept of the system of dental education and research. Using this concept as a basis, the school is currently actively undergoing interdisciplinary research in cooperation with other departments as well as other universities, both domestic and abroad, and is achieving steady success. Going together with the "principle of research first," the prominence and internationality cultivated by cutting-edge research is kept going strongly by the dental education of the school, and is developing towards clinical application, "practical learning." In 2004, the school made it an objective to expand the range of dental treatment and oral health maintenance and "open and free" ideology of dental education and research, and created the only masters program in dentistry in Japan. Currently, many people in various careers such as co-dental/co-medical, engineering, dietetics, those in the health welfare and medical treatment administration system, and many other specialized domains, are studying at the Graduate School of Dentistry.

There are plans for remarkable development of education and research through international cooperation with world-eminent dental research hub universities, such as Beijing University, Sichuan University, and Tianjin Medical University (China), and Seoul University and Chonnam National University (South Korea). With these universities, the school will establish an East-Asian Standard in dental education and treatment, and in line with this the option of a double-degree program (receiving degrees from two different universities) is being offered from 2012. During the March 11, 2011 Eastern Japan Earthquake, Seiryo Campus sustained heavy damage, but the restoration and reconstruction of the education and research environments have been remarkable, and even further enrichment is being planned.

At the Graduate School of Dentistry, the established objective in education is to develop a "sense of inquisitiveness" and a "scientific mindset," making it possible to support the next generation through extensive domains of research, education, and clinical settings, reaching into medical treatment administration, nurturing students to become leaders and central figures. The objective of education at Undergraduate School of Dentistry is not just to train mere dentists, but to develop in students an ability to think logically based on the "principle of research first," and to nurture talented people to rise to leadership positions in their fields.

In the beginning, Tohoku University, formerly known as Tohoku Imperial University, came after Tokyo Imperial University and Kyoto Imperial University as the third university established in Japan, and was blessed with many scientific assets and excellent staff, having many achievements famous worldwide. At this university of tradition, the Undergraduate and Graduate Schools of Dentistry were formed, and there has been much interdisciplinary cooperation with other research departments, as well as international cooperation, bringing forth the next generation in dentistry and dental treatment and producing the talented people who will support this next generation.

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