Last week, St. Charles Madras hosted a team of medical executives from the Japan Association for Development of Community Medicine (JADECOM), who were visiting the area as part of an effort to learn more about rural family medicine in the US. The collaborative visit included seven executives from Japan as well as representatives from OHSU Department of Family Medicine, which has a longstanding exchange program for medical residents, students, and physicians from Japan (learn more about the program). For years, the OHSU exchange program brought physicians to other rural areas in Oregon, but beginning this year, St. Charles Madras will host a portion of the exchange program. This is one of the many benefits of new Three Sisters Rural Track residency program, which will welcome its first class of residents in 2024.

This October, the team from Japan visited the OHSU campus and then came to Madras, so the executives could learn more about how rural family medicine is handled here and see where residents pursuing rural family medicine would train during their visits.

Dr. Daisuke Yamashita, associate professor of family medicine with OHSU, said the visit was successful and the team enjoyed seeing the health campus in Madras, which connects public health, Mosaic Community Medical (the federally qualified health center) and the hospital.

“This is an opportunity to reflect on and recognize the common threads that are universal in our health care systems, despite the differences in circumstances and cultures. This provides an opportunity to recognize strengths and areas of improvement,” Yamashita said.

Dr. Jinnell Lewis, director of the Three Sisters Rural Track Program, said in addition to providing a chance to collaborate and learn, this exchange is also special for the Madras community in particular. For many years Madras has had a sister city in Japan, Tomi City, and students have an exchange program between the two towns.

“This deepening of our connection with Japan and its medical community is one of the many benefits of the partnership we have with OHSU through the Three Sisters Rural Track residency program,” Lewis said.