Dr. Hiroaki Kitagawa is one of the key pediatric surgeons who laid foundation of pediatric surgery in Japan. He graduated from St. Marianna University School of Medicine in 1980, specializing in pediatric surgery. He was a Research Fellow at Los Angeles Children’s Hospital under the supervision of Professor Jim Atkinson from 1988 and conducted groundbreaking research on ECMO and small bowel transplantation. He was a Clinical Fellow, Surgical Registrar, and Junior Consultant at Wellington Hospital of University of Otago in New Zealand from 1995 to 1996 under Professor Kevin Pringle, and has continued his pioneering work on fetal therapy using fetal sheep models for about 25 years. This extensive research not only resulted in his graduate degree but also fostered a new form of international collaboration. Notably, his research on kidney development and bladder function in fetal urinary tract obstruction is at the forefront globally.
In 2006, Dr. Kitagawa was appointed Professor of Pediatric Surgery at St. Marianna University School of Medicine. His significant contributions continued as he assumed the role of Deputy Director of St. Marianna University Hospital in 2012, Director of the hospital in 2017, and finally, President of St. Marianna University School of Medicine in 2020. In these capacities, he played a vital role in advancing medical education and international exchange in medicine not only at the university but in Japan as a whole.
For nearly 20 years since 1998, Dr. Kitagawa has served as Executive Director of the Pacific Association of Pediatric Surgeons (PAPS) JAPAN, fostering a creative relationship between Japan and PAPS through the organization. During his tenure, he facilitated numerous collaborations and international exchanges by inviting doctors from abroad. Since assuming the presidency of St. Marianna University School of Medicine, he has made further progress in international exchange activities by signing Memoranda of Understanding with Khon Kaen University in Thailand, University of Health Science in Laos, and NITTE University in India.
In the realm of international journals, Dr. Kitagawa has been the Editorial Consultant for Pediatric Surgery International since 2015. He served as Publications Chair for Pediatric Surgery International of the Japanese Society of Pediatric Surgery from 2015 to 2023. Additionally, he held the position of Publication Chair for the Pediatric Surgery International of the Japanese Society of Pediatric Surgery (PSI JSPS) issue for eight years, working alongside Professor Prem Puri in Dublin and Professor Thomas Wester in Karolinska, the Editor-in-Chief of PSI's Publication Committee.
In summary, Dr. Hiroaki Kitagawa has made significant contributions to international research and education in pediatric surgery, as well as the establishment of robust partnerships abroad.