University of Findlay Physician Assistant Program Explores Japanese Culture
University of Findlay received a grant to have students learn and experience the Japanese healthcare system. The project was led by Hiroaki Kawamura, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Japanese, Director of Modern Language, and the University International Relations Representative and Liaison. Kawamura, along with Richard Hopkins, DMSc, PA-C, and Jill Brown, DMSc, MPAS, PA-C took six Physician Assistant students to the Fukui Prefecture, located in the Chūbu region in Japan. This is a grant project supported by the Japan Foundation. The Japan Foundation is Japan’s only institution dedicated to carrying out comprehensive international cultural exchange programs throughout the world. Students were picked based on an application to find students who had a passion to learn about another culture outside their own.
The main purpose of the trip was to explore the effects of social relationships on longevity in healthcare in Japan. “The Japanese healthcare system doesn’t have physician assistants as a role, so it gave us the opportunity to explain what a PA is, what a PA does, and how a PA would function in their healthcare system,” said Hopkins. The students and faculty were able to interview high school-aged students and the elderly to gain insight into the Japanese culture and learn the similarities and differences between the Japanese healthcare system and the United States healthcare system. Another part of the trip was a cultural exploration of Japan. The students and faculty were able to visit shrines and other site seeing. They were also able to interview the mayor of one of the cities and leaders of one of the larger hospitals to talk about the programs they had in place for the elderly population in the area. “Their healthcare system is very different from our own,” said Kennedy Kern, University of Findlay PA student. “You can go see a specialist without a referral, it’s more accessible, but there is less likelihood of being seen since it’s so accessible.”