Partnership For Women's Health At Columbia University Honors Renowned Japanese Journalist

Mitsuko Shimomura to receive International Athena Award on May 8

May 6, 2002


The Partnership for Women's Health at Columbia University will present its International Athena Award to Ms. Mitsuko Shimomura, president and CEO of the Center for Healthcare and Public Concern in Tokyo, Japan, at its annual gala on May 8, 2002.

"Ms. Shimomura is a pioneer in the field of women's health," says Marianne J. Legato, M.D., F.A.C.P., founder and director of the Partnership and professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. "She has dedicated herself to focusing the attention of the Japanese people at all levels, including those in government, to the importance of women's unique health needs and we are very pleased to be presenting her with this award."

The Partnership for Women's Health at Columbia University is a unique collaboration between academia and the private sector focusing on gender-specific medical research and educational programs for health care professionals and the public. The Partnership's Annual Gala and Athena Awards honors leaders from the media and public and private industry who have contributed to women's health and gender-specific medicine.

In December 2001, Ms. Shimomura hosted a symposium, "Gender and Health in the 21st Century," the first conference of its kind in Japan to focus on gender as an issue in health care. Dr. Legato led an American delegation to the two-day conference where her keynote address, "Women's Health Update: Sharing for Better Practice," opened the proceedings.

"It was incredibly exciting for me to introduce the new specialty of gender-specific medicine to the people of Japan," said Dr. Legato. "The enthusiasm and understanding the audience displayed was remarkable. I feel strongly that Ms. Shimomura is responsible for helping to change the way that many Japanese women and their doctors approach their unique healthcare needs."

Ms. Shimomura is one of Japan's most distinguished journalists. Graduating from Tokyo's Keio University in Economics, she took a master's degree in the same subject at New York University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1987-88.

Ms. Shimomura began a career in journalism in 1965 to help promote people-to-people understanding and build bridges of mutual knowledge. Assigned to the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading newspaper (daily circulation: 8 million), she was offered many challenging special assignments in the Middle East, the United States, Europe, Russia, and China, and wrote many articles.

In 1995 she became president & CEO of the Center for Health Care & Public Concern and has been a very active leader in the medical and healthcare fields. The center has a 110-year history and performs health screenings at workplaces, schools and local communities, operates human dock (a system of sophisticated health screenings and checkups), outpatient services, a diabetes center, mental and physical counseling, and the "ViVi" medical care center for women.

Ms. Shimomura has served as a member of the Japanese Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Board, president of the Gender Equality Center in Fukushima Prefecture, a member of Asahi Television Program Evaluation Committee, director of the Asian Women's Fund, and chief-director of the Institute for Corporate Citizenship Japan.