Greetings from advisor

When I had the honour to work during a sabbatical for 6 months in Higashi Sapporo Hospital (HSH) in 2016, conducting a qualitative study with my wife and participating in different clinical activities such as meetings and medical rounds, I discovered a fascinating hospital.

Founded in 1983 by Dr Kunihiko Ishitani, HSH – with 243 beds including 58 for palliative care – provides comprehensive treatments for inpatients, most but not all of them affected by cancer. In addition, HSH has also an outpatient clinic and offers home care and care for people requiring a nursing home (100 additional beds).

HSH can best be described by the term “integration”. First, because all patients, independent of the stage of their disease, can benefit from the competences of the palliative care units within the hospital, which spread their experience to all other units. On the other hand, palliative care patients can benefit from oncological treatment modalities, when considered to be indicated. Second, because HSH is embedded in a wide international network, which allows a constant exchange of ideas, knowledge, competences, and practices. For example, HSH is linked to a sister institution, the Calvary Hospital in New York City, since over 20 years, allowing physicians and nurses of HSH to regularly visit Calvary Hospital for training; HSH is also member of the Union for International Cancer Control and HSH organizes the legendary Sapporo Conferences for Palliative and Supportive Care, which can rely on a board of outstanding international experts, who are in constant exchange with Dr Ishitani and his team. By the way, the next and fifth conference will be held in 2026 (http:/ Again, the program of these congresses covers topics from molecular biology of pain to psychosocial aspects of care, integrating medical, psychiatric and social science perspectives, reflecting how Dr Ishitani and his team are committed to comprehensively practice medicine and to integrate different perspectives and approaches for the benefits of clinicians and patients.

When we stayed at HSH, we were especially impressed to observe how the staff of HSH is dedicated the common goal of providing the best possible care to their patients, how delicate physicians, nurses, and paramedical carers engage with patients and how evidence medicine is applied with humanity.

This spirit of HSH is certainly the fruit of the daily effort of all the collaborators of HSH, but also of the long and constant commitment of Dr Ishitani, President of HSH, who very early recognized that comprehensive care can best be achieved by different views, experiences, competences and practices, integrated in one hospital setting, providing all levels of care, to patients in all stages of their illness trajectory. Dr Ishitani’s qualities as a clinician, scholar, pioneer, entrepreneur and intellectual have allowed to make HSH an exemplary and exceptional hospital for the care of the severely ill.

Prof F Stiefel

Psychiatric Liaison Service

Lausanne University Hospital