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Int J Med Educ. 2016 Feb 21;7:62-8. doi: 10.5116/ijme.56b5.010c.

A qualitative study of infectious diseases fellowships in Japan.

Author information

Division of Infectious Disease, Kobe University Hospital, Japan.
Division of Infectious Diseases, Kobe City Medical Center General Hospital, Japan.



The purpose of this research is to elucidate the actual status of Infectious Diseases (ID) Fellowship programs in Japan to improve them further.


We conducted qualitative interviews with infectious diseases fellows and his/her faculty consultants from 10 institutions providing ID Fellowships in Japan. We qualitatively analysed the data to delineate the actual status of each program and the fellowship program policies overall, and to identify measures for further improvement.


The interviews revealed that there are largely two kinds of ID fellowships; ID programs entirely devoting full time to infectious diseases, and programs that are subordinate concepts of other subspecialties, where only a portion of hours were devoted to ID. Some institutions did not even have an ID department. Time spent by the faculty consultants on fellows also varied among programs. The desire for improvement also varied among interviewees; some being happy with the current system while others demanded radical reform.


Even though there are many ID fellowship programs in Japan, the content, quality, and concepts apparently vary among programs. The perceptions by interviewees on the educational system differed, depending on the standpoints they have on ID physicians. There probably needs to be a coherency in the provision of ID fellowship programs so that fellows acquire competency in the subspecialty with sufficient expertise to act as independent ID specialists. Further studies are necessary for the improvement of ID subspecialty training in Japan.


Japan; infectious diseases; qualitative study; specialty training

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