The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine
Online ISSN : 1349-3329
Print ISSN : 0040-8727
ISSN-L : 0040-8727
Regular Contribution
Public Relations and Communication Strategies in Construction of Large-Scale Cohorts and Biobank: Practice in the Tohoku Medical Megabank Project
Fuji NagamiMiho KurikiSachie KoreedaMaiko KageyamaOsamu ShimizuSoichiro TodaAtsushi HozawaShinichi KuriyamaNoriko OsumiMasayuki Yamamoto
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2020 Volume 250 Issue 4 Pages 253-262


The Tohoku Medical Megabank Project was designed as part of the national reconstruction project for addressing the damage from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. It is an integrated project involving the genome cohort study of 150,000 participants, integrated biobank construction, and multi-omics analyses. Public relations and communication activities emerged to be extremely important in the successful development of this project. To gain insights into the contributions of these activities, we divided the public relations and communication activities for the project into three phases based on the situations surrounding the project. Prior to the start of the cohort study (Phase I), a cooperative relationship was established with a focus on concluding cooperation agreements with local governments. Until the participants reached the target number (Phase II), we actively communicated with the media to publicize the project. During the phase in which use of the constructed biobank is promoted (Phase III), for ensuring the industrial utilization of the biobank, visits from the industry are promoted. Throughout the execution of these activities, we explored the best strategies for building relationships with multiple stakeholders like local government, media and industry. By paying attention to these phases that have been changing according to the project’s progress, we were able to adapt the strategies and methods of public relations and communication. The success of these activities has enabled the overall project to progress smoothly. We hope that the process of designing our project’s public relations and communication activities will be useful for other similar initiatives.

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© 2020 Tohoku University Medical Press

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