SFH hosts Japanese medical profs

SFH hosts Japanese medical profs

LITCHFIELD (Oct. 12, 2017) – Japanese medical professionals recently visited hospitals in the HSHS Central Illinois Division, which includes St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield, St. Mary’s Hospital in Decatur and St. John’s Hospital in Springfield. They also visited the Hospital Sisters Health System office in Springfield.

The American Province of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, based in Springfield, coordinates the annual event and includes visits to several of its hospitals, including those of the HSHS Central Illinois Division This event began in 2007 and is organized by the Japan Province of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis to engage their medical professionals in an understanding of the Franciscan spirit, an awareness of American health care services and aspects of American culture. This year, Sister Gratia Maihara and Sister Philippa Sato led a team of 15 medical professionals from Nagasaki and Himeji.

The Japanese medical team included several nurses, an orthopedic surgeon, radiologist, engineer, operations manager and several medical interns. They toured each facility and had informational lunch/dinner meetings with administrative teams from each hospital.

At St. Francis Hospital, senior team members hosted the group and showed them the hospital’s patient care floor, new Cancer Care Center, surgery and maternity departments. Several members of the hospital’s senior leadership team — including Erica Bruns, director of operations; John Peipert, interim president/CEO and chief nursing officer; and Jerry Cruthis, patient experience manager — visited with the Japanese team members from St. Francis Hospital in Nagasaki. The hospital gave the group polo shirts embellished with the hospital’s logo.

“They were so pleased to get a shirt and to be in a photo with colleagues from Litchfield as we share the same hospital name,” said Becky Bishop, marketing manager at the hospital. “It was a pleasure to host this team and to show them the types of health care services we offer in the United States.” Bishop also said they were very interested in things like the communication boards in the patient rooms. “They also were amazed at how large our hallways were compared to those in Japan,” she said.

While at St. Mary’s Hospital in Decatur, the visitors were greeted by hospital administration in the Assisi Room, a recently renovated forum. After introductions were made, the group split into two for tours of the hospital. They visited different departments around the hospital, including the obstetrics unit, advanced rehabilitation, cardiac catheterization lab, emergency department and ICU. More than half of the group was from St. Mary’s Hospital in Himeji.

When arriving in Springfield, they were welcomed and given a history of St. John’s Hospital by Dr. Charles Lucore, president and CEO. They enjoyed a tour in which they visited the cath lab, pavilion surgery, pediatrics, NICU, chapel and gift shop.

During their time in the United States, the group also experienced American culture by taking in a baseball game at Busch Stadium.

In 1948, two Hospital Sisters of St. Francis from the American Province who had served in the Province’s mission in Jinan, China, arrived in Japan in response to a request for health care services. The American Province then established a mission in Nagasaki and Himeji, and in 1977 the sisters in Japan established the Japan Province. Presently, the Japan Province sponsors two hospitals: St. Francis Hospital in Nagasaki (since 1949), a 208-bed facility with emergency medicine, long-term care, hospice and palliative care; and St. Mary’s Hospital in Himeji (since 1950), a 360-bed facility with emergency medicine, acute medicine, perinatal care, and palliative care, along with an 80-bed facility for handicapped children. The province also sponsors Francisco Villa in Tokyo (since 1976), a life-care facility for the elderly, and Maria Villa in Himeji (since 1992), a temporary care facility for the elderly. Two Korean Sisters provide pastoral care in non-Catholic hospitals in South Korea. As of January, there are 54 Sisters, two novices and two pre-novices in the Japan Province.


A group of Japanese medical professionals recently visited St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield, as well as hospitals in Decatur and Springfield.