Awareness, Travel PT

SOWH in Japan (Part 3 of 3): Interview with Fumiaki Isshiki

Fumiaki Isshiki, PT, DPT, MS, Movement System Fellow, is a physical therapist practicing at a private outpatient clinic in California that specializes in orthopedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Isshiki received his B.S. in Physical Therapy at Kobagakuin University in Japan, his MS in Physical Therapy at the University of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania and his DPT at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California. He completed the Movement System Fellowship at Washington Unviersity in St. Louis, Louisiana. Dr. Isshiki has been integral in the initiation of Section on Women’s Health’s Pelvic Health Physical Therapy education program in Tokyo, Japan in May of 2017.


Dr. Isshiki, what made you pursue physical therapy?

When I was a junior in high school, I had two professional baseball team doctors that addressed my shoulder and ankle injuries but did not prescribe any physical therapy to me. As you can imagine, I could not play baseball as much as I wanted to, even though I was able to play until college. Since then, my dream was to create a facility where athletes could regain their full mobility and get back to the playing field. When I was applying to medical schools, I learned of the physical therapy profession and field. I was so happy that pursuing the physical therapy field was possible in Japan, however I was unhappy to find out that physical therapy was not well known to local people. My next dream was to contribute to the growth of physical therapy education in Japan which would help more practitioners provide physical therapy services to those who need it.


What made you want to bring physical therapy education to Japan? What drives your passion for educating others?

I want patients to get the best physical therapy treatment. Unfortunately, I feel a huge gap in the physical therapy education in Japan. The medical system in Japan is lead by physicians. We, as physical therapists, need to prove the effectiveness of what we are doing and show everyone exactly what we do and can do. Education is a big key in further developing physical therapy field in Japan.


What were your takeaways/experience from the Japan courses?

I teach a lot of continuing education courses in Japan. However, I’ve never seen participants get drastically trained within 6 days. It was actually shocking and I learned a lot from the SoWH instructors who to teach not only the knowledge concepts but also share their strong passion with the participants. At the end of the courses, I really felt that this small group of 40 participants had a lot of potential to contribute to women’s health physical therapy in Japan.

What did you like most about your experience in hosting the SoWH courses in Japan?

The best experience I had was in getting connected with the SoWH and the course participants. Section on Women’s Health had a wonderful team. The courses in Japan would have not happened if the team from SoWH did not support me.  Also, all the participants that attended the courses showed so much strong passion towards learning and their professions. It is always a great feeling when you are surrounded by highly motivated individuals.


What do you envision for the future of Japan’s physical therapists and the physical therapy field?

Due to the socialized medical system in Japan, I envision that the growth of physical therapy will reduce the cost of medical expenses for the country. This will lead to a huge contribution to the country. Japan has high population of older men and women compared to the population of younger generations. Physical therapy will not only contribute to the better care of the older population but also would encourage women to conceive and get the care they need from a physical therapist.  Providing women’s health physical therapy services will make women more comfortable about sharing and addressing their health concerns before their pregnancy, during their pregnancy, and after giving birth.

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