Message From The Chairperson

At the Board of Directors meeting held during the 19th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Gastroenterological Association (JGA) in February 2023, I was elected as the 6th Chairperson of the Board of Directors. Since its founding in 2004, the JGA has evolved vibrantly under the leadership of its past Chairpersons Makoto Itoh, Akira Terano, Choitsu Sakamoto, Kazuma Fujimoto, and Kazuhide Higuchi, and I firmly believe that it is my mission to help drive its continued growth and development in the future.

One of our key challenges is to apply the philosophy of the JGA, which is “to contribute to the welfare of humankind by improving and advancing the study of gastrointestinal diseases.” It is our belief that the certification of JGA Certified Gastroenterologists and Gastroenterological Specialists will directly contribute to the improvement and progress of the study of gastrointestinal diseases. For this reason, we strongly encourage doctors with a variety of specializations, including internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, radiology, emergency medicine, and pathology, to obtain these certifications. Certification as a JGA Certified Gastroenterologist, obtained through attendance at the Annual Meeting and Educational Workshop of the JGA, serves as a guarantee of knowledge in the field of gastrointestinal diseases to patients in routine clinical practice. Gastroenterological Specialists are highly professional physicians specializing in gastrointestinal diseases, who provide patients with the latest medical care as pioneers of the field. Although specialist training at a training institution is indispensable for obtaining certification, we are committed to enhancing the system by establishing joint training institutions to help the many doctors who provide gastrointestinal care at front-line hospitals day and night to obtain their certification.

To rectify the uneven regional distribution of our members, and to extend the reach of the study of gastrointestinal diseases to local communities, the JGA established regional branches in 2023. The whole country is divided into 6 blocks, and members are assigned to their respective branches. The roles and aims of the branches are to involve local doctors as organizers at the JGA, to provide more doctors with easy access to this specialty by hosting branch-based educational workshops, to educate the public about gastrointestinal diseases through public lectures, and to promote awareness of the JGA.

In addition, to deliver the latest medical information to doctors, the JGA prepares and revises Guidelines for Abnormal Bowel Movement and Guidelines for Diverticulosis of Colon, as well as providing up-to-date information in The Journal of Japanese Gastroenterological Association (available on the JGA website) and its official English journal, Digestion. Furthermore, with the start of the JGA-led research system, the JGA is striving to become a center for the dissemination of evidence.

At the JGA Annual Meeting, the JGA organizes GI Week with the Japanese Society of Ulcer Research and the Japanese Association for Capsule Endoscopy to hold joint academic meetings. The International Gastrointestinal Consensus Symposium (IGCS), an international academic conference, is also concurrently hosted to deepen exposure of our members to a broad range of medical fields both in Japan and abroad.

At the same time, we created the Diversity Implementation Committee and are working on ways to allow doctors to continue their studies of gastrointestinal diseases in various settings and from various perspectives.

With advice from Prof. Higuchi, our former Chairperson, and through these efforts, I intend to work together with directors, delegates, and members of the JGA to become an association that members are happy to have joined!

We look forward to your continued guidance and support.

February 2023

Akihito Nagahara
Chairperson of the Board of Directors
Japanese Gastroenterological Association
(Department of Gastroenterology,
Juntendo University School of Medicine)