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Atrium Health Navicent and Mercer University School of Medicine Welcome Kurobe City Hospital Delegation in Sister City Medical Exchange

Atrium Health Navicent and the Mercer University School of Medicine are hosting visitors this fall from Kurobe City Hospital for the 19th year of a unique medical exchange rooted in a 46-year sister city partnership between Macon-Bibb County and Kurobe, Japan.

Each year since 2003 — with the exception of a two-year pause during the COVID-19 pandemic — resident physicians, nurses and other health care providers from Kurobe City Hospital have visited Atrium Health Navicent and Mercer University, and physicians and nurses from Atrium Health Navicent and Mercer University have traveled to Kurobe City Hospital to share their knowledge and learn from their international counterparts.

Beginning with an initial visit Oct. 2 through Oct. 7, and lasting through December, medical residents will rotate through Macon, spending three to four weeks each visiting to experience the innerworkings of the American health care system.

“Health care is constantly evolving and we value this sister-city partnership which gives us an opportunity share and learn as we seek to improve health for patients both here at Atrium Health Navicent and in Kurobe,” said Atrium Health Navicent Chief Medical Officer Patrice Walker. “We are excited to welcome our visitors and look forward to supporting this partnership for many years to come.”

To date, 88 medical residents, 14 nurses and five health care providers from Kurobe have visited Macon-Bibb County, and 49 physicians and 22 nurses from Macon-Bibb County have visited Kurobe.

“We are delighted to come back to Macon this fall to continue the Macon-Kurobe medical exchange program. The exchange is in its 19th year and constitutes the core of our educational program for residents, nurses and other health care providers,” said Dr. Ryosuke Komiya, director of International Exchange Programs for Kurobe City Hospital. “We would like to give our gratitude to Delvecchio Finley from Atrium Health Navicent, Dr. Jean Sumner from Mercer University, as well as administration, faculty and staff on both sides, YKK, and Macon-Bibb County for showing understanding for this program.”

The sister city relationship between Macon and Kurobe was established in 1977 with the support of YKK, whose manufacturing headquarters is located in Kurobe. YKK’s Atlanta office opened in 1970, making it one of the first Japanese companies to set up operations in Georgia. YKK’s Macon plant opened in 1974. YKK remains an active supporter of this sister city relationship, including the medical exchange.

About Kurobe City Hospital

Since its opening in 1949, Kurobe City Hospital, the main hospital in the Niikawa Medical Care District and in collaboration with other medical, health and welfare institutions, has aimed to strengthen its capabilities to treat five diseases (cancer, stroke, acute myocardial infarction, diabetes, and mental illness) and has sought to strengthen five departments (emergency medical care, disaster medical care, medical care in remote rural areas, perinatal medical care, pediatric medical care). The motto of the hospital is “Daily Contemplation,” defined as thoughtful medical care for patients backed up by medical research and ingenuity.

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of health care in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent is part of Advocate Health, which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is the third-largest nonprofit health system in the United States, created from the combination of Atrium Health and Advocate Aurora Health. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit

About Advocate Health

Advocate Health is the third-largest nonprofit integrated health system in the United States – created from the combination of Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health. Providing care under the names Advocate Health Care in Illinois, Atrium Health in the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama, and Aurora Health Care in Wisconsin, Advocate Health is a national leader in clinical innovation, health outcomes, consumer experience and value-based care, with Wake Forest University School of Medicine serving as the academic core of the enterprise. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Advocate Health serves nearly 6 million patients and is engaged in hundreds of clinical trials and research studies. It is nationally recognized for its expertise in cardiology, neurosciences, oncology, pediatrics and rehabilitation, as well as organ transplants, burn treatments and specialized musculoskeletal programs. Advocate Health employs nearly 150,000 team members across 67 hospitals and over 1,000 care locations and offers one of the nation’s largest graduate medical education programs with over 2,000 residents and fellows across more than 200 programs. Committed to equitable care for all, Advocate Health provides nearly $5 billion in annual community benefits.