Message from the Director General

Message from the Director General

Michiaki Unno, MD, PhD
Director General
Japan Biliary Association

My Commitment

I was appointed Director General of the Japan Biliary Association (JBA) at the Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors on September 2016. It is a daunting challenge indeed to fill the big shoes of my stellar predecessors, from our first Director General Dr. Jo Ariyama, our second Dr. Yuji Nimura, our third the late Dr. Satoshi Kondo, to our fourth and most recent Dr. Kazuo Inui. However, with the support of my esteemed colleagues, I am committed to the wholehearted pursuit of the further development of cholangiology and the prosperity of the JBA.
JBA is a medium-sized association with some 3,200 members. We are governed dynamically, thanks to our unique membership composition of roughly equal numbers of internal doctors and surgeons.

Our Aim

1. An Organization of Professionals

JBA’s strength lies in its capacity to convene its members, who belong to a wide range of clinical departments including internal medicine, surgery, pathology, and radiology, to engage in debate under one roof. This kind of vigorous, cross-departmental interaction is distinctive to our Association and is something I hope will continue. Moreover, we should not let an obsession with minute techniques cause us to “fail to see the forest for the trees”–we must not forget pathophysiology, epidemiology, diagnostics, therapeutics, and oncology, which are the fundamentals of cholangiology.

2. Fostering Young Doctor

While maintaining our pride as an organization of professionals, we should steer clear of becoming such an exclusive guild of specialists that young people perceive as barriers to entry. We will incorporate programs that allow for active participation by our younger colleagues so that we can foster the next generation of leaders in cholangiology

3. Societal Recognition

We will further develop the JBA Board Certified Trainer system, initiated by my predecessor, Dr. Inui, into a framework recognized by society. Terms such as “biliary tract” and “cholangiology” are unfamiliar to the public; we hope to offer open lectures and other outreach programs to make them more widely known to society. We envisage a future in which hospitals have departments of cholangiology and biliary tract surgery.

4. Creating New Evidence

Cholangiology has advanced greatly in the past few decades. Nevertheless, many challenges remain. Clearly, their resolution will not come about through retrospective data collection by individual hospitals. Only prospective case collection by our many affiliated facilities can solve the longstanding issues. Today, with the bar set high for clinical evidence, it is all the more significant for JBA to lead clinical studies for building new high-level evidence.

5. Toward Global Recognition

Although I am confident that cholangiology in Japan is the best in the world, there are concerns of possible overspecialization and misalignment with global trends. Effective use of our official English language journal, JHBPS, would allow us to showcase our nation’s excellence in cholangiology. I would like to see a collective effort by the JBA to create and communicate new evidence to the world.
To meet these challenges, we will augment our Academic Committee and engage dynamically in the planning and implementation of Annual Meetings. We will also inaugurate a Project Committee in Charge of Clinical Research (provisional name) with a focus on prospective research projects. We will also revisit our financial frameworks to secure the funds required for this research. Furthermore, we hope to create systems for JBA to provide full support to JBA members wishing to obtain competitive research funds.
We are committed to the health and welfare of humanity and aspire to become a world-class association. We look forward to continue working with all of our members.

Michiaki Unno, MD, PhD
Director General, Japan Biliary Association
Department of Surgery, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine