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J UOEH. 2013 Oct;35 Suppl:35-40.

[Current status and issues in development of occupational physicians in Japan].

[Article in Japanese]

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Department of Occupational Health Practice and Management, Institute of Industrial Ecological Sciences, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan.


Training systems for occupational physicians (OPs) have existed since the Industrial Safety and Health Act was enacted in 1972. However, it is necessary to enhance them because of changes in the business environment of Japanese corporations and working patterns have brought about new needs of occupational health (OH) activities. In this paper, OPs were classified into three categories; doctors who spend a part of working time on OH activities, i.e. "non-specialist OPs", doctors who engage in OH activities full-time, i.e. "specialists OPs", and doctors who manage corporate-wide occupational health programs or lead programs at OH service institutes, i.e. "lead OPs", and the status and the issues were reviewed. The major concern identified for each of the three categories in training were found to be quality management for non-specialist OPs, short supply for specialists OPs, and development of competencies such as leadership and management skills for lead OPs, respectively. Current efforts and ideas to improve the training systems were discussed.

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