Japanese National Physician Graduate Medical Education Program
In May 1990, United States Naval Hospital, Okinawa, Japan received support for the formation of a program to acquaint graduates of Japanese medical schools with Western medical practices, to provide improved medical care for Japanese beneficiaries, and to enhance overall patient care through liaison between U.S. Naval Hospital and local Japanese hospitals.
Through cooperation between the Naha Labor Management Office and Marine Corps Base, Camp Smedley D. Butler, arrangements were made in December 1990 to select the initial class in April 1991.
This year-long program rotates trainees through various medical and surgical specialties with an emphasis on primary care, in the style of an American family practice or transitional year. Fellows are provided with the opportunity to improve their English skills as well as observe and participate within a Western-style medical practice.
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United States Naval Hospital Okinawa (USNHO) is the largest U.S. Naval Hospital outside the United States where 122 physicians and 175 nurses provide a broad range of medical services. The hospital consists of 64 active beds (expandable to 175 beds), 11 operating rooms, an Emergency Room, 2 caesarean-section rooms in labor and delivery, 14 labor and delivery rooms (now called Mother and Infant Care Center) averaging 1,200 deliveries per year, 8 ICU beds, and a 12 bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Our specialty and primary care clinics, located at the main hospital, 6 branch medical clinics, family medicine clinics, and 4 annexes throughout Okinawa see more than 25,000 visits per year. USNHO also serves as the referral center for U.S. military personnel in the Western Pacific, including ships at sea.
The fellowship program is styled after transitional or family practice internship programs in the United States. After completing a 3-week orientation, fellows rotate through twelve clinical rotations that last four weeks each. The rotation will include seven core specialties (Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, General Surgery, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pediatrics, and Neurology-Psychiatry) and five elective specialties. You can also choose to study overseas during elective months.
Japanese citizens who have graduated from medical school and who will have completed 2 years of junior residency prior to the fellowship start date are eligible to apply. Refer to the Vacancy announcement (follow the link in the "How to Apply" section) for specific requirements. Those with SOFA status are not eligible. Applicants should be fluent in verbal and written English. Applicants with a Language Proficiency Level (LPL-3) or higher will be considered. Incomplete applications WILL NOT be considered for interview.
Previous externship experience at USNHO is not required for application to the fellowship program.
A total of six to seven fellows will be selected. Successful candidates will be notified by e-mail following the interviews. All fellows must live off the military base at their own expense during the fellowship year.
Core Rotations: Four weeks are spent in each of the following specialties: Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, General Surgery, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics/Gynecology or Public Health, Pediatrics, and Neurology-Psychiatry.
In addition to the seven core rotations, there are five elective rotations that may be spent in other medical specialties such as Ophthalmology, Orthopedics, Dermatology, Otolaryngology, Radiology, Urology and others. Fellows can also choose to repeat one or more of the core rotations. In addition, fellows may spend up to four weeks doing elective rotations overseas, and salary during the away rotation is guaranteed.
Fellows will be assigned an attending physician sponsor in their chosen specialty. The sponsor will act as the intern's advisor, advocate, and mentor through the year. Fellows will spend Friday mornings from 0800-1200 seeing patients with their sponsor in a "continuity clinic" regardless of their assigned clinical rotation.
There are daily, weekly and monthly educational conferences for interns. These include a daily morning report (case-based teaching round lasting 30-45 minutes), a weekly Friday afternoon lecture series, and monthly joint conferences with Okinawa Chubu Hospital and Nanbu medical center. The Friday afternoon series includes traditional didactic lectures, procedural skills, history and physical exam skills, evidence based medicine, and legal/ethical/cultural issues. Also available are CME (continuing medical education) lectures often presented by visiting specialists from the United States. Lectures are an important component of the fellows’ medical education.
United States Naval Hospital Okinawa (USNHO) is the largest U.S. Naval Hospital outside the United States with 122 physicians and 175 nurses providing a broad range of medical services. Physician specialists are available in Neurosurgery, Pulmonary Medicine, Neurology, Gastroenterology, Urology, Ophthalmology, Neonatology, Otolaryngology, and a wide range of other medical and surgical specialties.
Fellows’ salary is approximately JPY 250,000 per month before taxes. There is no additional pay such as bonuses, overtime pay, or other allowances.
Salary maybe revised according to Japanese law (possible pay revision)
Fellows are insured with health insurance for Japanese employees working on base.
Welfare facilities on military bases are available for fellows. These include on-base fitness centers and U.S. military recreational facilities on Okinawa.
Cost of Living
No on-base apartment is offered to fellows. Current fellows with family rent 2DK flats near base for around JPY 65,000 per month.
All transportation, accommodations, and other expenses incurred while participating in this program must be borne by the applicants.
How to Apply
Last updated: July 16, 2020
Applicants to the Fellowship must be PGY-2 or higher and complete junior residency prior to the start date of Fellowship. Refer to the link below for specific requirements.
Fellowship Program Application Package:
* IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING PACKAGE: Please do not forget to attach APPLICATION FOR (NAVY) VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT, HROY FORM 1
In addition to the above, please send an email with the following documents below to the USNH Okinawa fellowship at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- A current curriculum vitae, written in English (the same one which you sent to LMO)
- A personal statement, written in English, stating the reason for desiring fellowship training at USNHO and future goals for your medical career. (the same one which you sent to LMO)
- Two letters of recommendations, written in English. (the same one which you sent to LMO)
should be scanned and submitted together by an e-mail as PDF files.
should be directly sent to the email address above by the recommender who writes the letter for the applicant. However, the letter submitted by the applicant is also acceptable. Both are handled in the same manner and whether the letter sent by the recommender or applicant never affects the fellow selection.
Please send us an email under the title "FELLOWSHIP APPLICATION (LAST, FIRST name)". Include your full name and your telephone number to contact. Also, please do not forget to attach documents 1-2 (or 3)
in this email, as mentioned above. DO NOT use your celluar/smart phones to send the email.
Applications are currently being accepted. The application deadline is July 31, 2020. (It has been extended.)
If you are expecting to receive a letter(s) of recommendation from your extership rotation at USNHO this year, please contact us.
If you have further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
List of important dates:
Application deadline: Tuesday, July 31, 2020.
Invitation for interviews: At the beginning of August 2020.
Interview date: Mid to late August, 2020
*IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING INTERVIEW FORM: This year's interview will be a video interview at home.
* IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING E-MAIL ADDRESSES: Unfortunately, the Department of Defense often blocks emails from Yahoo and Cellular/Smart Phone carriers. E-mails from gmail and hotmail should not be blocked.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where is the U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa located?
A: It is located on Camp Foster, which is situated in Kitamae, Chatan-cho, Nakagami-gun, Okinawa, along Route 58. You may travel to Camp Foster from the Naha Airport via bus, taxi or privately owned vehicle. However, please remember that you will not be allowed on the base without proper photo ID(passport, driver’s license) and base pass. Applicants will be escorted in on interview day.
Q: Do I need to have a previous externship experience at USNHO in order to apply for the fellowship program?
A: No. Previous externship experience at USNHO is not required to apply.
Q: Do you offer open-house days?
A: No, unfortunately, we only offer externships.
Q: What is an average day schedule for interns?
A: 0700-0730 Morning report
0800-1200 Rotation assignment
1300-1600 Rotation assignment
Q: Do I have on-call duties?
A: Yes, we do. Typically, interns are scheduled to be on-call once every six nights. Call duties include translating between English and Japanese for Japanese-speaking patients at USNHO, and coordinating patient transfers between USNHO when the medical needs of patients exceed the capabilities of USNHO.
Q: How do I know that I’m invited to the fellowship interview?
A: By phone call or email
Q: In case of typhoon, what should I do?
A: You will be notified in advance. An alternative interview date will be offered.
Q: Should I open and scan the sealed medical school academic record written in English?
A: Yes, please open it and scan, then attach to the email.
Q: What would I have to write down in the blank space of Physical Examination?
A: If you do not have any findings, please write here so. (e.g. within normal limits/WNL). If you have specific findings, please write that down by the physician.
Q: What is SOFA status?
A: SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) is applicable if you are married to a U.S. Military member. If you have a SOFA status, you cannot apply for this program.
Q: Who should I contact when I have further questions about the application?
A: Please mail to email@example.com