Participating in an international physical therapy conference

By Hata Hitoki, Doctoral candidate, Graduate School of Health Sciences

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On May 1–4, 2015, I attended the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) Congress 2015 in Singapore to give a presentation relating to my research.

Around two years on from having given a presentation at an academic conference in Taiwan, I had enrolled in the PhD program at the Graduate School of Health Sciences, in order to undertake more in-depth research on my research topic, which is motion analysis. For my Doctorate, I have been engaged in research on the stresses experienced by the joints when the body is in motion, by using a musculoskeletal modeling system. Having finalized my latest research results, I had the opportunity to present them at an international conference held in Singapore. The participants at the last international conference I attended, in Taiwan, were mostly from countries within the Asia region; by contrast, the researchers giving presentations at the Singapore conference came from all over the world. My previous experience in Taiwan had brought home to me the fact that my English language communication skills were in need of improvement, but it had also shown me just how enjoyable it can be to exchange ideas with other researchers. For the Singapore conference, I set myself the goal of proactively communicating not just with people from Asian countries, but also with researchers from Europe, etc.

Apart from myself, the other members of the group from Kagoshima University that traveled to Singapore for the conference included Mr. Kiyama, a faculty member at the Graduate School of Health Sciences, graduate students Mr. Nishi and Mr. Kawaida who have been working in Mr. Kiyama’s research group, and graduate students Mr. Haseba and Mr. Ozuka. On arriving in Singapore, I was very impressed by the cityscape, which demonstrated how Singapore is continuing to grow and develop, with its beautiful streets lined with verdant greenery and its imposing skyscrapers designed according to Fengshui principles. The conference was being held in the Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre in Singapore’s city center, where the enormous floor area featured huge display screens. People from all over world—some wearing national dress while others were dressed more casually—were engaged in enthusiastic discussions in English, while in the exhibition booths companies from many different countries were giving demonstrations of the latest medical devices. I was a little taken aback by how different the atmosphere was from the previous international conference that I had attended in Taiwan, but it was great to have the opportunity to hear presentations by researchers from all over the world, and I was surprised to see that, besides Kagoshima University, there were also researchers from other Japanese universities giving presentations at the conference too. The conference featured presentations relating to the latest rehabilitation technology, presentations that focused on helping women and senior citizens, and presentations relating to physical therapy for people who have lost limbs as a result of armed conflict, etc.; all of them were extremely interesting. While giving my own poster presentation, I had the opportunity to communicate with an instructor from Croatia. He told me that in Croatia there is a shortage of funding for rehabilitation and physical therapy research, and said how envious he was of Japan, which has research facilities with the latest equipment, and ample funding. When I tried to use my limited English to explain to him about my own research, the other research being conducted at Kagoshima University, and the current state of the physical therapy field in Japan, he replied with a smile in carefully-enunciated, very polite English. Cementing our mutual determination to continue undertaking research aimed at furthering the development of physical therapy with a firm handshake, we had a photo taken together, which was quite moving. Besides bringing home to me once again the importance of the kind of international exchange that is possible at international conferences such as this one, it also made me appreciate just how difficult it can be to communicate with other people in English, leading me to set a new goal for myself of improving my English in time for the next occasion on which I have to present research results at a conference.

My research results have only been realized thanks to the assistance and collaboration of many other people. I sincerely hope that these results can be used to make a positive contribution to society and promote human happiness, a feeling that was reinforced through this participation in an international conference, with the opportunity to engage in cross-cultural communication. Attending the WCPT Congress 2015 was a very meaningful experience, and one for which I am deeply grateful.

The holding of international nursing seminars and the Kagoshima International Nursing Forum

By Yatsushiro Rika, Professor, Medical and Dental Sciences Area

Yatsushiro Rika, Professor

With the aim of building Kagoshima University into a global research university, and of developing nursing professionals who are capable of operating effectively on the international society, while also recognizing the vital importance of international research collaboration and exchange between faculty members. The Faculty of Medicine has held five international seminars to foster international research exchange between teaching staff. Instructors from the Faculty of Medicine have undertaken assignments at nursing schools and healthcare institutions in the U.S.A. and in South Korea, and the Faculty proactively welcomes overseas researchers to come and work together in Kagoshima.

The Kagoshima International Nursing Forum has been held four times to date, for the benefit of nurses working in Kagoshima Prefecture, as part of the Faculty of Medicine’s local community contribution activities. With planning based around the concept of creating opportunities for nurses in Kagoshima Prefecture to “Think globally, act locally,” leading domestic and international experts are invited to speak at the Forum, which provides a venue for fruitful discussions. Forum participants come not only from Kagoshima Prefecture, but from all over Japan.