Center for Southeast Asian Studies / Associate Professor

Research interests

Health care for the elderly in the Kingdom of Bhutan
History and future of public health in Japan
Sources of Legionnaire’s disease in the human living environment

Research overview

My goal is to create a comprehensive, sustainable health care system in Bhutan centered around medical checkups and follow-up exams of elderly residents living in a given community. The greying of society is occurring around the world. The global population of individuals aged 65 and above, which was approximately 5% in 1950, rose to almost 8% in 2009 and is estimated to reach 16% by 2050. Bhutan is no exception. According to a report from the Bhutan Ministry of Health, the life expectancy of infants aged 0 was 66.3 years (66.8 for women, 65.6 for men) in 2005. The population of individuals aged 65 and above, which was 29,745 (4.7%) in 2005 is expected to double to 58,110 (6.6%) by 2030. In Japan, the population of individuals aged 65 and above has continuously increased from 4.7% in 1940 to 23.1% as of September 15, 2010, making Japan a super-aged society. Although the government of Bhutan has created 5-year plans every five years since 1961, these plans have not included health measures for the elderly population. In this research, the plan is to conduct continuous medical exams, including doctors’ house visits, of elderly individuals living in the town of Khaling in eastern Bhutan with the cooperation for the Bhutan Ministry of Health. The goal will be to work together with local residents to develop a sustainable system for conducting medical exams and providing health care that is based on the most recent knowledge from around the world but also adapted to the region.