From the Chair


Some 40 years have passed since the foundation was established by Ryoichi Sasakawa, the founding chairman of The Nippon Foundation, and Professor Morizo Ishidate. During that time, it has benefited from the concerted efforts of many people, including late Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara and Professor Kenzo Kiikuni, the current senior advisor. To all I would like to express my sincere appreciation for their support and cooperation.

I intend to make full use of the knowledge and experience I have gained in my career to see that our activities as a public interest incorporated foundation are more effective than ever.

Our foundation is engaged in three areas of endeavor: Hansen’s disease; community health; and public health. We are committed to achieving a world without Hansen’s disease and its related problems. In the field of community health, we are working to enhance the quality of life of individuals with all diseases and their family members, and promoting home care as a way of providing better health care in an aging society. Regarding public health, our focus is on nurturing human resources that make a contribution to global health care services.
Through these wide-ranging activities, Sasakawa Health Foundation is working to realize a better health and dignity for all.
I thank you and look forward to your continued support.

Etsuko Kita MD, PhD, Chair


Etsuko Kita

Dr. Kita was born in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. She graduated from Nara Medical University in 1965 and received Ph.D. in medicine in 1976.
In 1991, she completed a special training course at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and later became a special research fellow at this school.
Dr. Kita started working as a pediatrician at Nara Medical University Hospital and a national hospital.
After working as a visiting researcher at NIH/NIEHS (National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences), she accumulated experiences in the field of international medical cooperation at China-Japan Friendship Hospital in China (as a JICA expert), National Center for Global Health and Medicine, UNICEF Afghanistan Office as a chief of health and nutrition department, and at WHO as a chief of the emergency support section of the department of emergency and humanitarian action. In 1988, Dr. Kita was sent to an UNICEF office newly established in Peshawar, Pakistan, from the government of Japan. She was the first Japanese physician sent into a conflict zone of a foreign country.
She became a professor of Japanese Red Cross Kyushu International College of Nursing in 2001, and thereafter was dedicated to the school as a dean of the students.
She is now an honorary dean of this college.
In 2013, she became the chief director of Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation, and since 2017, she has been traveling all around the world as the chairperson of this foundation.

She has received many awards including the AVON Awards to Women, the Award for Excellence of the Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare in 1997 for supporting the local medical services at the time of the Japanese embassy hostage crisis in Peru, an award from the Prime Minister of Japan in 2012 for her dedication to establishing the gender-equal society, and an award from the Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2013. She was also selected by Newsweek in 2006 as one of the Japan’s 100 most respected people in the world.

Her hobby is to fall asleep while reading a book or listening to classical music (especially opera music). She enjoys eating good food and staying in areas with full of nature. She adores cats and anything to do with cats. She is a person being loved by cats. She wishes to be a cat living with a millionaire if she could ever be born again.
She is not a big fan of sour foods and lazy people (not animals), and good at taking a good care of people.