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Medtronic Foundation and Project HOPE to Rebuild Town Hospital in Northeastern Japan Devastated by March 2011 Tsunami

Medtronic Foundation Grant Will Enable HOPE to Bring Long-term Stability and Care

Millwood, Va. (May 16, 2012) – Medtronic Foundation and Project HOPE today announced a partnership to rebuild the Yamada General Hospital in Japan’s northern coastal town of Yamada one year after it was submerged underwater in the earthquake-triggered tsunami that destroyed the hospital and killed hundreds of people in the town.  

The grant from the Medtronic Foundation aims to re-establish the hospital to its pre-tsunami standard of providing primary and secondary health care in the town, including emergency services. The new hospital will accommodate staffing to previous levels and pave the way for greater stability of long-term care for residents.

“Thanks to the support of the Medtronic Foundation, the Yamada General Hospital will be able to better meet the medical needs of the community, and this is crucial as people continue to rebuild their lives,” said John P. Howe III, M.D., President and CEO of Project HOPE.

Following the disaster in March last year, the first floor of the Yamada General Hospital was completely flooded under eight feet of sea water, disabling the hospital that served the town’s 20,000 people.  All vital imaging suites, including general X-Ray, CT scan and other technologies were destroyed, as well as medical records.

Currently, the hospital is being used as a part-time outpatient clinic, where emergency patients can only receive triaging and stabilization before they are sent for further care to Miyako City Hospital, 40 miles away, which is limited in the scope of services it provides. The closing of the Yamada hospital also caused a shifting of health staff who migrated to towns and cities with open facilities.  The rebuilt hospital in Yamada will not only stabilize the town and region’s health staffing, but also stabilize the town’s pre-disaster population.  

“With Yamada General Hospital functioning again, and offering health services that are critical to the well-being of the community, residents can take another step toward a return to their normal lives,” said Jacob A. Gayle, Ph.D., Vice President of Medtronic Foundation and Community Affairs. “We also hope that by strengthening a pillar of Yamada’s healthcare infrastructure, we are helping create a path to long-term healthcare access and excellence.”

Project HOPE, a global health education and humanitarian assistance organization, has worked with local officials in Yamada since last May to help organize reconstruction of its health system and reestablish health system services. The Project HOPE grant fulfills a $1 million Medtronic commitment made in March 2011 that includes product donations and foundation grants supporting immediate relief efforts, as well as the rebuilding of healthcare infrastructure. The Medtronic Foundation’s disaster relief program provides short- and long-term assistance to global disasters, with an emphasis on access to healthcare.

Details about the Medtronic Grant

The Medtronic grant will enable Project HOPE to restore health services at the Yamada General Hospital and create stability for long-term medical care such as:

  • Rebuilding the physical structure to include mechanical, electrical and utilities integrated with the complete hospital structure.
  • Coordinating construction activities with town government and health authorities.
  • Reintegrating purchased or donated technology and imaging systems into the new construction spaces.
  • Restoring emergency, outpatient and hospital services to Yamada’s beneficiary population.
  • Halting the migration and stabilize Yamada’s pre-disaster health staffing to properly operate the new hospital’s health systems.

Three Project HOPE medical volunteers are currently assigned to the Kondo Clinic in Yamada to help train local health care professionals and family members to better care for the elderly. More than 40 Project HOPE volunteers have worked throughout the region since the disaster last year.

About Medtronic and Medtronic Foundation

Medtronic, Inc. (, headquartered in Minneapolis, is the global leader in medical technology – alleviating pain, restoring health, and extending life for millions of people worldwide.

The Medtronic Foundation ( is committed to improving the lives of people around the world living with chronic disease.  Its grant making is focused in three areas: health, education and community.

About Project HOPE
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health crises, with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world’s first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now conducts land-based medical training and health education programs in 35 countries across five continents.


Medtronic Media Contacts:
Rich Fischer, Public Relations, 763-505-2975
Geraldine Carroll, Project HOPE, 540-257-3746