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Department of Rehabilitation Medicine


To provide the best medical care and rehabilitation to contribute to the health and welfare of everyone in the local community.

Basic Policies

  1. To strive to put the patient first in clinical practice
  2. To promote basic and clinical rehabilitation medicine
  3. To nurture outstanding health care workers and rehabilitation teams

Although this is a small Department, it is the only Department of Rehabilitation Medicine in any public medical university (school of medicine) in the Kinki, Chugoku, and Shikoku regions. Although we have a small medical staff, in July 2005, a system was introduced in which the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine is placed in charge of patient treatment at an early stage in cooperation with the Department of Emergency Medicine. This system has enabled medical rehabilitation training including holistic, whole body management. We are striving to provide the best medical care, including rehabilitation, on the basis of proper whole body management starting even from the date of onset or injury.

Needless to say, the University also has a Rehabilitation Department as a general central examination department, so we can also perform training in recovery phase rehabilitation. As rehabilitation physicians, acquiring the knowledge and skills for acute phase rehabilitation of patients with severe or multiple disabilities also enables an adequate response to rehabilitation during the recovery phase. There are many patients and it seems possible to acquire clinical ability in a short space of time. We consider acute phase experience to be of importance to those considering working in the central services field in future, whether men or women.

Please get in touch with the Department if you agree with the Principle and Basic Policies set out above and want to study rehabilitation medicine as a doctor.

Rehabilitation Medicine

The progressive aging of society and decline in birth rates and advances in medicine are bringing about an increase in average life expectancy and a rise in the number of people with disabilities. Consequently, there is an increasing need for comprehensive medicine that strives to improve patients abilities and lives as well as treat their disease. Rehabilitation medicine is a relatively new field of medicine born out of this need. The basic concept involves identifying unaffected healthy parts in addition to diagnosing the disability itself and improving ability by using the healthy parts to compensate.

Here are some specific examples. The obvious essential treatment for gait disturbance in patients who have undergone an above-knee amputation is regenerative medicine for the lower limb. However, regenerative treatment of the lower limb is not currently possible. It is important to return patients to their families and society by prescribing a prosthesis and implementing gait training to allow the acquisition of walking ability. Rehabilitation medicine is an umbrella term for disability medicine including this treatment, and involves comprehensive understanding of the patient, improvement of disability, and measures to deal with social disadvantages.

In the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Wakayama Medical University, we respond to disabled patients from a whole body perspective without offering medical treatment by organ, and strive to improve activities of daily living and QOL. We are of course assisted in this by related organizations, and we work to provide the medical services required by all kinds of disabled patients from the acute phase into the chronic phase. We are also engaged in the research and development of such services. When it comes to education, therefore, we strive to nurture doctors capable of performing their duty with the medical knowledge and skills of an attending physician performing whole body management during the acute phase and with the ability of a “family doctor” after discharge.

In terms of research, we are proactively engaged in clinical and basic research in the field of rehabilitation medicine. We have also been working hard on research funded by Grants-In-Aid for scientific research, and we have reported the results of this research in international journals, mainly the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. We are engaged in a wide range of research including rehabilitation fundamentals such as pathophysiology of disabled patients, basics of exercise therapy, action mechanism and medical significance of physical therapy, relationship between autonomic nerves and disability, rehabilitation for cerebrovascular disorders, spinal cord injury, and bone and joint diseases such as rheumatism, basic research on prosthetic limbs, exercise physiology in healthy individuals and sports injury, and sports medicine in the disabled. Please refer to our research record.

In addition, in 2005, we also started efforts to educate physical and occupational therapists and speech-language-hearing therapists in association with the establishment of a master’s course in the School of Medicine.

In this way, we are building on the basis of medicine by organ to engage in clinical practice, education, and research aimed at the holistic understanding and treatment of individual patients.

Introduction to Department

The Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Wakayama Medical University was newly founded in association with the move of the University in May 1999. Akitaka Ueyoshi was appointed the first professor and constructed the basis for the Department. Fumihiro Tajima was appointed professor in September 2003 and aimed at greater leaps in activity.

Including professors, there are ten medical doctors in the Department working together with co-medical staff (physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language-hearing therapists, nurses, etc.) to implement rehabilitation medicine that puts the patient first. We are striving everyday in our clinical, educational, and research activities to justify the slogan that “The best rehabilitation is from Wakayama.”
Furthermore, we are on the lookout for people to join us in the implementation of rehabilitation medicine. We welcome young doctors who have completed their clinical training and aim to become rehabilitation doctors, as well as anyone who has an interest in rehabilitation medicine and is aiming to become a rehabilitation doctor in the future, regardless of the field of specialism. Rehabilitation medicine is for the benefit of disabled patients, and therefore requires knowledge from a variety of fields. We ourselves are always on the lookout for the opportunity to absorb knowledge from various fields. Please do get in touch if you have any interest at all.

Please also look at our specific second semester clinical training course.

Clinical Practice

The Department treats all patients with disabilities. We therefore need to be able to treat a variety of diseases and require a wide range of knowledge. Furthermore, some diseases occur uniquely due to the disability itself, and it is important to respond to them from a whole body perspective rather than by looking at only the disease itself. Naturally, we do offer various treatments for disabilities to improve physical function, improve activities of daily living, and promote social recovery. We also offer primary care and whole body medical management of disabilities, and we aim to fulfil the role of family doctor for our disabled patients. One of our most important roles as rehabilitation physicians is to prevent further exacerbation of disability and to examine disabled patients holistically.

Following the path set out by the first professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Dr. Akitaka Ueyoshi, and adopting the patient-first approach of the first professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine of the University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Dr. Hajime Ogata, we are striving to implement clinical practice with a strong sense of doing “everything for the patient,” as espoused by Dr. Akira Nagano, a professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery of the Hamamatsu University School of Medicine.


Rehabilitation medicine involves almost every branch of medicine and it is sure that  concepts, knowledge and skills acquired here will be made good use of in any branches of medicine you choose in the future. We are eager to teach rehabilitation medicine to as many students and young doctors as possible. Needless to say, the number of elderly and disabled patients is increasing, and it is vital that rehabilitation doctors specializing in rehabilitation medicine are trained to meet this increasing demand.

We would like to see people interested in becoming rehabilitation doctors as well as other people learn about rehabilitation medicine in the Department.

Furthermore, the University also has a master’s course, and is also making efforts at research guidance for physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language-hearing therapists, and the like, and at postgraduate education. Even if you do not qualify as a fourth year graduate, we would be happy to receive your application if you qualify on the basis of 3 years of operational experience.


In comparison with healthy individuals, there are still many things we don’t know about physical and pathological mechanisms in disabled patients. Elucidating these mechanisms medically is indispensable for the future development of rehabilitation medicine.

We are therefore mainly engaged in research focused on disable patients. Of course finding out about disabled patients is also useful for the elucidation of normal physiology in healthy patients. Our current research topics are shown below.

  1. Sympathetic nervous activity in disabled patients
  2. Sports for disabled patients
  3. Immunological activity in disabled patients
  4. Onset and healing mechanism of decubital ulcers in patients with spinal cord injuries
  5. Carotid arteries and cerebral blood flow in disabled patients

Social activities

We are proactively involved in on-site support such as health management and advice for athletes, including medical checks at various sporting events, notably the Oita International Wheelchair Marathon. In addition, we also offer normal medical support to some of the athletes outside of such events.

We are also engaged in various studies including evaluation of immunity, motion analysis, and evaluation of muscle characteristics (muscular strength, muscular endurance, muscle oxygen, etc.) in disabled athletes competing at the international level. Through this research, we aim to confirm scientifically the safety and effectiveness of sports for the disabled, and help to promote a leap forward in sports for the disabled in Japan.
We believe that it is very important for disabled people to participate in sports proactively to maintain residual function and further improve their physical and mental abilities. However, proper medical support is very important if people with various disabilities are to participate in sports. We have a system in place to enable proper support even for disabled individuals competing in sports at a high international level.

Furthermore, we are also proactively involved in public activities such as medical care outside the hospital and assessment of assistive devices to fulfil our role at the core of community medical care.