Prof. Yoko Kato is professor and chair of the department of neurosurgery of Fujita Health University Banbuntane Hotokukai Hospital in Aichi, Japan. She received her medical degree from the Aichi Medical University in 1978. After finishing residency in the department of neurosurgery at Aichi, she joined the department of neurosurgery at Fujita Health University. Subsequently, in 1981, she served as instructor of neurosurgery at the Suzhou Medical College in China before returning to Fujita Health University’s department of neurosurgery in 1983 as an assistant instructor. She was board certified by the Japan Neurological Society in 1985.
In 1986, she went to Australia to pursue research and became a research fellow at the department of neurosurgery, Graz University, Austria. She returned to Fujita Health University’s department of neurosurgery in 1989 as an assistant professor and there expanded her career as a neurosurgeon for the subsequent 11 years. She was promoted to associate professor at Fujita in 2000 and in 2006 became the first female professor of neurosurgery in Japan. Her exemplary performance has continued as she became professor and chair, department of neurosurgery, Fujita Health University Banbuntane Hotokukai Hospital and named as chief of its associated Stroke Center in 2014. Presently, she serves as an affiliate professor at Mainz University in Germany; George Washington University, Washington, DC, in the U.S.; and the Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute in Chennai, India.
Professor Kato plays a conspicuous role in a number of neurosurgical scholarly activities and has served as assistant secretary of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS), on the board of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies Foundation Committee, as chair of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies Women in Neurosurgery Committee, on the advisory board for the Tenth Asian-Australasian Congress of Neurological Surgery, as the Secretary of the WFNS Foundation Committee, and as the chair of the WFNS Education and Training Committee.
In addition, she has been appointed to various international editorial boards and advisory journal boards. These include associate editor of the journal Neurosurgery; member, Perspectives in Neurological Surgery; the international advisory board for the Pan Arab Journal of Neurosurgery; and the advisory board of Neurosurgical Review (SpringerVerlag). She has held key posts in various academic conferences both nationally and internationally, including as president of the Third Asian Conference of Neurological Surgeons; president, Fourth Asian Women’s Neurosurgical Association Conference; president, Seventh Annual Meeting of the Japan Society of Intraoperative Imaging; president, 16th Annual Meeting of the Japan Society of Neurosurgical Emergency; president, 16th Meeting of the Japanese Association of Brain Hypothermia; assistant secretary, bidding committee, 15th WFNS World Congress; general secretary, 13th WFNS; president, 44th Annual Meeting of The Japanese Society of Neuroradiology; and president, 2016 International Mt. BANDAI Symposium for Neuroscience.
She is recognized by her peers as one of the premier neurosurgeons in the world with regard to the surgical management of brain aneurysms and has performed more than 1,800 brain aneurysmal clipping procedures throughout her career. The volume of procedures, using state-of-the-art technology, has attracted many young neurosurgeons to study at her institution each year. She has published more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles related to research in brain aneurysms.
In addition, in order to contribute to the development of global neurosurgical treatment, she established the Yoko Kato Foundation. Not only is Professor Kato a notable clinician and teacher who has made an incredible contribution to the neurosurgical field, she also has played an invaluable role as a role model for women in medicine and the life sciences, providing inspiration to innumerable female clinicians and scientists. To this end, she founded the Women’s Neurosurgical Association of Japan in 1990 and the Asian Women’s Neurosurgical Association in 1996. She is recognized as a leader in the field of neurosurgery both in Japan and internationally. She is a diligent physician, a meticulous researcher, and an outstanding leader, who has served as a role model and an inspiration for women in surgery for many decades, demonstrating the ability to revolutionize health systems and to promote a successful career in a male-dominated profession.