Message from the President
My name is Masaaki Mori from the Department of Lifetime Clinical Immunology, Tokyo Medical and Dental University. After recommendations, I was honorably selected as President of the Pediatric Rheumatology Association of Japan (PRAJ) at the 27th General Meeting and Academic Meeting, held in October 2017.
It has been 27 years since this association was known as the Pediatric Rheumatology Study Group. Thanks to a vast effort by Dr. Yasuhiko Itoh, Nippon Medical School, who is the ex-president, this association became an incorporation on September 1, 2017. I had participated in the first study meeting (at former Yamanouchi Hall) in 1991, and vividly recall that time and the exciting “passionate discussions.” I believe that the bottom line of all processes that have developed this association to date has been everybody’s passion that “the patients should benefit.” In this regard, we conducted clinical research, developed fundamental research, interacted with patients’ associations, and achieved clinical trials of new drugs and their application—including biological drugs. Furthermore, we recently made significant progress towards creating handbooks on the guidelines for the treatment of specific pediatric chronic diseases and measures against intractable diseases, which have been advancing clinical practices of pediatric rheumatology and collagen disease in Japan.
However, we are still in the middle stages of growth. I would like to make three suggestions.
- To break the status quo of uneven pediatric rheumatologist distribution, each region nationwide should establish a plan and practice (that is, include the general public in the medical treatment system).
- Widely stress the significance of this association’s existence, both inside and outside Japan, to enhance social awareness about the association and its engagement in creating living environments for patients (in other words, enhance and raise the social and academic status of this association).
- Cultivate and educate young pediatric rheumatologists who will carry the present and next generations (that is, establish the education system for pediatric rheumatologists).
To execute the suggestions above, it is essential for the following to be fulfilled, specifically: 1) prepare secretariats in line with the incorporation of this academic association (review the ethical code and modification of constitutions); 2) academic arrangements (establish the disease registration system, certifications, and implement research plans); 3) maintain a close network with the Japan College of Rheumatology and parent associations, including the Asunaro-kai, the Pediatric Collagen Disease Club, etc.; 4) raise the social position of the Pediatric Rheumatology Association; and 5) increase our own influences in international meetings and cooperations, etc. I would like to think about how we can achieve these tasks in medium- to long-term periods.
Finally, I would like to thank all senior doctors who contributed to the former Pediatric Rheumatology Study Groups, Dr. Shumpei Yokota who formed the foundation for the present association, Dr. Syuji Takei for smoothly guiding this association in the right direction for which we were aiming, and Dr. Yasuhiko Itoh’s great efforts to incorporate this association as per increasing members and requirements of society. I will always keep these great doctors, and their strong passion in the fight against pediatric rheumatism in mind, and devote myself to contribute toward further development of pediatric rheumatic medicine.
All your cooperation, now and in the future of this association, is always welcome.
Dr. Masaaki Mori
President of the Pediatric Rheumatology Association