Department of CSD “builds international bridge” with Japanese cultural exchange program
by UH Med Now journalists Vina Cristobal and Amanda Shell
The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) hosted its second cultural week-long exchange program with Seirei Christopher University in Hamamatsu, Japan, on February 29. Twelve first-year undergraduate students who are majoring in speech language pathology and audiology, as well as their faculty chaperones, arrived at the University of Hawaiʻi medical school for a day of cultural activities centered in the Medical Education Building Classroom 301.
For the past few months, the CSD staff has worked with the Hawaiʻi Chapter of the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association (NSSLHA) to coordinate the exchange program, which is meant to be an educational, clinical and cultural exchange for the Japanese students and for the JABSOM CSD students.
“It’s really important for them to be involved with JABSOM because our department is part of the school of medicine,” said Jingyu “Linna” Jin, instructor and education coordinator of the Department of CSD and the coordinator for the student exchange. “And we want to build that bridge and showcase the involvement of Department of CSD with JABSOM. It’s a great opportunity for the Seirei Christopher University students because for them, it’s their first time in Hawaiʻi, for the faculty and for the students.”
Although the theories, evaluation and therapy methods are similar in the United States and in Japan, there are 200 speech pathologists in Hawaiʻi primarily practice in a school-type setting, whereas in Japan, many of the child language and speech therapists work in hospitals.
“So it’s a different setting, but [it’s about] how can we incorporate that into a school system, and how can we expand their minds into seeing other systems in what we do in our profession,” Jin added.
The visiting students received leis upon arrival and were split into groups with the CSD student clinicians. The students were also treated to a catered lunch from nearby Highway Inn and a hula lesson at Kaka’ako Waterfront Park, to introduce them to the food and dance which are such a part of Hawaiʻi’s culture.
“In Japan, there are many people from all over the world, so the students need to do the cultural exchange . . . and understand what the different countries and what different people think or understand,” said Dr. Isamu Shibamoto, a professor at Seirei Christopher University and the president of the Asia-Pacific Society of Speech-Language and Hearing. “That’s the reason that this exchange program is good for us.”
Other highlights of the exchange included a special lecture on autism, an English accent clinic that dealt with proper English pronunciation and observations of the clinical assessments that often take place at the UH Speech and Hearing Clinic, operated in the Gold Bond Building by University Health Partners of Hawaiʻi, the JABSOM faculty practice plan.
After seeing the success of both exchange programs from this year and the previous program in 2014, CSD department chair Henry Lew, MD, PhD, agreed to the idea of future partnerships with Seirei Christopher University.
“We have this activity so that the students from both countries can learn about how we practice clinicals, speech pathology, audiology in different countries,” Dr. Lew said. “So the students really appreciate the opportunity to interact, and for the faculty, we try to talk about different opportunities for collaboration. We are happy to be working with Seirei Christopher University, and we hope this collaboration continues.”
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