By Deb Matsuura

New Semester, New Co-ops!

Fukuji & Lum’s receives a handful of Northeastern University physical therapy students every semester. For spring semester 2017, we just said mahalo and good-bye to five awesome, enthusiastic and hard-working students who we know will make a great impact in the physical therapy world. We wish them the best!!

This July we welcomed five new students who will be with us till December. We look forward to teaching and nurturing them as well as sharing our island spirit and company culture, which they will be able to take back with them to Boston.

You’ve just met Matt in our previous blog, now here’s Kyle and Grace with a few words about themselves and why chose to study physical therapy.

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 Kyle’s Blog

What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I attended Andover High School in Massachusetts. I now go to Northeastern University in Boston.

What drew you to physical therapy? 
There have been a few things that have drawn me into the field of physical therapy. In high school I was a rower and our coach focused hundreds of hours on moving correctly and power application. This was the start of my fascination with the body, how it moves, and the quest to perfect movement in sport. From there, I would research different body parts and how to exercise them. Fast forward a few years to 2015 when I injured my shoulder, I researched what I thought was wrong and how to rehab it. The process of troubleshooting the injury and trying to rehab it was really exciting for me. As exciting as it was, it didn’t work so well, so after a few weeks I went to a real PT. When going myself, I enjoyed the atmosphere and the role of a PT in a patient’s recovery. It was a relaxed environment where everyone would chat and joke and I could see myself working in something similar.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I used to work with a youth development program called Andover Youth Services and it was a huge influence in my life. One of the most significant values we lived and encouraged in the young people was to get out of your comfort zone. When looking for co-ops I wanted to stay consistent with my values so I wanted to go somewhere that would challenge me and give me a new experience. I’ve found that forcing myself uncomfortable situations is when I learn the most.

What has been your experience like so far?
After 3 weeks on this beautiful island I’m confident coming here was the right decision. Working in Honolulu, I’m exposed to a demographic I wouldn’t otherwise be if I was working in Boston. The clientele is typically on the older side and many are of Asian descent. Occasionally I’m tasked with working with someone who speaks no English. This has been hard for me so far, but it is challenging me to improve my visual cues and other nonverbal communication.

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What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?Being here for about a month I haven’t had a ton of time to really venture into strange cuisine. I’ve tried some local foods like poke and I’m a big fan of the Hawaiian marinade at Fresh Catch. Also our host family makes ahi and ono jerky which is a little unusual. Other than that I think I’ve eaten pretty similarly to back in Boston.

What is on your to do list while here?
I’m a little limited with having shoulder surgery a few months ago but I’d like to hike, surf, explore the islands, jump off some cliffs, and eat some more exotic food.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
Of course I want to be the best therapist there can be. I want to be a therapist who deeply understands each treatment and why it works. I want to be up to date with new technologies and methods of treatment to give my patients the most efficacious therapy they can get. I want to learn how to garner my patient’s imagination of who they can become and use it to motivate them to work towards their goals.

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Who is your greatest influence in your life?
I’d be lying to say anyone influenced me more than my parents. Simply living with them for the greater part of 20 years I’ve learned an incredible amount. From my dad I’ve learned how to be industrious and how to learn. From my mom I learned how to listen and be empathetic. These traits among others have been super beneficial in my journey through life.

Grace’s Blog

What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I attended Trinity College School in Toronto, Canada. I am now a student at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

What drew you to physical therapy? Ever since I was young I knew I was interested in a helping profession. I was interested in a variety of positions such as dentistry, chiropractic care, and Occupational Therapy. I had the opportunity to shadow a few physical therapists and fell in love with the profession. Each and every day I find myself loving it more and more.

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Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
There are many reasons why I was interested in doing my co-op in Hawaii. I have always enjoyed traveling and learning more about the world around me, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. During this last semester, we have also had many discussions on cultural differences and the impacts it can have on physical therapy and other forms of care. This co-op seemed unique in its ability to introduce me to this learning curve. Lastly, Fukuji & Lum has a focus on family culture. I am very close with my family back home, so I was naturally drawn to F&Ls values and overall mission and purpose.

What has been your experience like so far?
Traveling to a new place can sometimes be daunting and with it comes a lot of unknowns. From the get-go I felt nothing but kindness and support through the transition. It’s like a home away from home. I get along so well with the other co-op students and my new coworkers, and I am so excited to see what adventures this journey takes us all on.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
We haven’t really explored eating strange things yet. We have tried poke a few times now, and I have yet to be disappointed! Giovanni’s shrimp trunk was also delicious, highly recommend! I’m hoping to try lots of new foods, especially spam musubi, acai bowls, and poi. I’m also looking forward to finding the best shaved ice around!

What is on your to do list while here?
I mainly want to explore the island. I want to go on lots of different hikes and learn about the history of the island and Hawaii as a whole. I am also excited to get to know more about Hawaiian culture by exploring things like a Luau, hula dancing and listening to Hawaiian music. I have been working on Hawaiian Pidgin and I am trying to learn a new word every day. I’m hoping I’ll be able to take some of it back and confuse my friends back home!

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
Physical therapy can be a very rewarding job, because we have the opportunity to help patients reach their personal goals. I think the relationship between therapist and patient is what you choose to make it, and I hope to be a motivational and supporting factor in my patients’ lives. If I am able to positively impact a number of my patients during my time as a therapist I will feel rewarded.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
My greatest influence in my life is my older brother Riley. He is my built in best friend and I look up to him in many ways. He pushed me to embrace this opportunity and for that I’m grateful. I can’t wait to continue to grow up and find our way in life together.

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By Mark Yanai

Appreciating the Past and Embracing the Future

Reflections of the Co-Op Program

It has been ten years since we began our relationship with Northeastern University‘s Physical Therapy Department and introduced the Cooperative Program at F&L. Looking back at our journey with this exceptional educational partnership has allowed me to recognize how much our relationship with NEU has grown in step with our company’s growth.

In 2007, we took in our first two NEU students, Brittany Giles and Renee Noel. It was a learning experience for all of us, as expectations of our roles were undefined. But as the years passed on, we grew in diligently and developed a program that has now has a history of 32 students over the past ten years.

Personally, I’ve gained so much appreciation for the program and our growing relationship with NEU. I’ve interviewed and hired all of the students that have come into the program and continue to remain in contact with each of them. My recent trip to Boston was a great way to reconnect with some of them and foster new relationships with the staff that sends them our way.

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The Co-Op program has provided the students a great way to experience the culture of our island and learn first hand what it’s like to work for a Values-Based Organization. Physical therapy is a profession that requires a high level of emotional intelligence and compassion and we hope that when the students leave, they’ve improved these qualities in themselves.

With that reflection, we look back at one of our students, Colby, who completed his stay with us last fall. Colby shares his experience working and living in Hawaii and compares it to his life back at school in Boston. We also look to the present and future with the introduction of Dan, one of the newest co-ops this current semester. Dan has been here for a couple of months now and tells us a little about himself and why he chose to do his Co-op in Hawaii.

Colby: The Best Six Months of my HI Life

[one_half] It’s been a little over a month since I’ve left the beautiful island of Oahu and I can one hundred percent say I miss it.  Without a doubt I spent the best and happiest six months of my life in Hawaii.  As I write this, my headphones are playing Island 93.1 Da Paina.  After being back in the cold, treacherous, concrete jungle of Boston I’ve been able to narrow down what it is about Hawaii that I especially miss.  And the answer is simple: everything.  Here’s a little look at my Monday-Friday Schedule… and the one that I can’t wait to get back to.

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Monday

  • Class from 8:00AM-5:30PM.  I have frequent breaks but am studying Gross Anatomy in the library during those breaks.  After 5:30PM I will usually do more homework in the library for Gross Anatomy until about 8PM then grab dinner.  Afterwards, I will finish my week’s assignments and go home.

What I would like to be doing:

  • Going to work, seeing all the awesome patients in the pool in the morning.  Going up to WORC or to LA in the afternoon and learn something new every single day.  After, I’d even have the option of grabbing dinner at Kim Chee 1!  Every lunch has to be a poke bowl of course, maybe spicy kine, maybe wasabi mayo kine, but definitely a poke bowl.

Tuesday

  • Tuesdays are my relaxation days; I only have one class: Healthcare Research.  But as usual, I have 3 other classes and have to continue studying for those classes too afterwards.

What I would like to be doing:

  • This is my half day, working 7:30-12:30.  After work I will usually take a drive to Sandy Beach and body surf, body board or take some Clark Little-esque pictures.  Some sort of injury, big or small, will occur at some point during the escapades.

Wednesday & Thursday

  • I have my Gross Anatomy lecture today and cadaver/palpation lab.  In cadaver lab I look at dead people and learn the internal anatomy including organs, muscles, arteries, bones, veins, nerves and everything else.  Palpation lab is learning how to identify all the muscles and bony landmarks of the body on a living person.

What I would like to be doing:

  • See Monday or Tuesday

Friday

  • I have my Tuesday class again with recitation after.  After I will probably head to the library and in the evening I will finally be able to unwind before the weekend when I have to learn everything I accomplished during the week.

What I would like to be doing:

  • Literally anything else, I miss you Hawai’i and all of the wonderful people!

Mahalo nui loa to my Fukuji & Lum Family.  A hui hou!
As many may know, I enjoy taking pictures… here are a few of my favorites!

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We are so appreciative of Colby for sharing his experience with us as well as some of his favorites photos of the islands. As Colby transitions back to Boston life, Dan is here to soak up the sun and gain some PT knowledge “Hawaiian Style”!

Let’s Meet Dan!

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What school did you attend and what’s your current college?
The University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. After receiving a bachelors degree in exercise science, I was accepted into the DPT program at Northeastern University where I am currently studying.

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What drew you to physical therapy?
In high school I played soccer and lacrosse where I accumulated numerous injuries which first allowed me to see the patient side of physical therapy. When I started at UNE, I was not set on physical therapy; however the classes, faculty, and internship experience I underwent quickly showed me this was the work field I desired. The feeling of helping patients achieve their goals and helping them return to a high quality of life drives me to become a PT.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
During my undergrad, I was fortunate enough to spend a semester internship at an out-patient orthopedic clinic. I immediately gravitated to this environment as it provides a laid-back, friendly atmosphere of rehabilitation.

What has been your experience like so far?
The atmosphere at Fukuji & Lum along with their therapist’s has been everything I expected and hoped. When arriving at either the W.O.R.C or the pool (the two clinics I work at) you are immediately greeted by the friendly staff, which creates a fun, engaging atmosphere allowing for a more successful treatment session.

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What is on your to do list while here?
I tried to limit the list of things to do before arriving at Hawaii as I wanted to talk to therapists and patients to discover the best activities to try from those who live on the island. I am a big hiker and avid scuba diver, but I also wanted to try new things such as surfing.

What is your favorite thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
POKE BOWLS!!!!!!

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

I want to be a therapist that sees patients for the individuals that they are, one who engages and develops lasting relationships with patients that show I care about their recovery and is glad to see them.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
This is an impossible question for me as I have been greatly influenced by so many wonderful people. I expect by the end of these six months there will be several more people who I can add to this list. My family is one influence that has always pushed me to discover new experiences and continue along my dream of becoming a physical therapist.

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By Mark Yanai

Introducing Leila

From Boston to Hawaii

5,027 miles. That’s how far our Northeastern University students travel from Boston to Hawaii to be a part of our ohana for the next six months. They put a pause on their school life and travel all this way, not knowing what is in store for them here in the islands. Four of them arrived for the fall semester, all with big smiles and feelings of excitement and adventure. We’ve already introduced two of them, Colby and Ashley, who work at our Kokokahi sites in Kaneohe. We have another student, Leila who works there as well and is enjoying working with patients at the pool and W.O.R.C. 

Let’s meet Leila!

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What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I attended Middlebury Union High School in Middlebury, VT. I am currently a student at Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

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What drew you to physical therapy?
Both my parents are doctors, so I have always been drawn to the medical field. I became interested in physical therapy when I started seeing physical therapists in middle school and high school due to sports injuries. The therapists were always able to help me recover so that I could get back to doing what I loved to do. I want to be able to do the same for other people. [/one_half]

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Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I chose to come to Hawaii because I love to travel. I have always wanted to come to Hawaii and now seemed like the perfect time to go. I was also really interested in the aquatic physical therapy program at Fukuji and Lum, especially because I heard the pool was outside.

What has been your experience like so far? 

My experience here has been beyond amazing. The people of Hawaii have been so kind, welcoming and helpful. I love the island not only because it is so beautiful, but also because there are so many different things to do. I am never bored here! I love working at Fukuji and Lum because I am learning so much everyday in an extremely positive environment.

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What is on your to do list while here?
I have so many things I want to do while I am here. I want to hike Stairway to Heaven and the Pillboxes at sunrise, swim with dolphins and eat endless acai and pitaya bowls. It’s so hard to narrow it down because the opportunities here are endless.  I also really want to learn how to hula dance!

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
Spam musubi and spam in general. My favorite foods I have had since coming here are acai and pitaya bowls. I’m obsessed with them![/two_third_last]

What are your outside interests? 

I absolutely love to dance. It is my favorite thing to do. I also like to hike, swim, and do yoga. I love to spend time with my friends and family as well. I am happiest when I am outside.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I hope to be a caring, supportive therapist that helps patients meets their goals. I am keeping my mind open to what exactly I want to do later on in my physical therapy career, but I am currently leaning towards aquatic therapy for both adults and children.

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Who is your greatest influence in your life?
My family has been my greatest influence in my life. They have made me into the person I am today. My family is full of the most loving, supportive and kindest people I know and I aspire to be like them in everything I do.

By Mark Yanai

Introducing Colby

Every six months I interview and hire new Co-op students from Northeastern University to work with our organization as physical therapy students. From their first Skype interview to their last day in clinic, I feel the need to take care of these kids, making sure they are learning about the PT profession and experiencing life here in Hawaii. I always feel a sense of closeness to them and often wonder what it is that draws me so much to these students.

Last week I dropped my son off to college at the University of Washington for his freshman year. The feelings I had as a dad seeing my son leave home and off to a new school was of both elation and sadness. I felt so proud of him that he was taking on a new adventure and yet I was sad that from now on, I wouldn’t get to be a part of it, as I have been. I hope that the new people who become a part of this new chapter will take care of him.

And with those thoughts I realized what draws me so deeply to our Co-op students. While they are not my sons or daughters, the F&L family treats them as such. I feel like a parent watching them grow as students and prosper as employees, while guiding them along the way. I am grateful to be a part of their short stay with us and am happy to say that I had a hand in their learning process so they are able to get the most of out of their experience, whether it be in or outside of the clinical setting.

With that, I am happy to introduce our new student Co-ops this fall semester, starting with Colby.
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In a haiku, what school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?

First, Lynnfield High School.

Next, I go to Northeastern

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What drew you to PT?
I originally was in school for Mechanical Engineering (at Northeastern University); but after shadowing some engineers the summer before my freshman year of college, I realized I didn’t see myself as an engineer in 20 years.  My mom and dad have been in and out of Physical Therapy for as long as I can remember.  Seeing their progress through and through has inspired me to become a part of this field that can positively affect a patient’s life.

Why did you want to do your coop in Hawaii?
I grew up in a small town right outside of Boston.  If I didn’t experience living in another state outside of New England then I would be doomed to live there for the rest of my life.  Hawaii is a great opportunity to see and learn about a whole new culture.  Now that I’m here I can’t wait to move back.

What is the strangest thing you have eaten since arriving?
Lychee Seeds brah, dey broke da mout’!

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What are your outside interests?

I really enjoy hiking, body surfing, being at the beach, photography, pick-up games of basketball, football and soccer, and playing music.  I’m also involved with the musical theatre company back at school.

What is on your to do list while here?
See the other islands.  Try as many foods as I can.  Take lots of pictures.  Get better at surfing.  Take a Hula Class.  Honestly, the list keeps getting longer every week just by talking to the patients and coworkers.

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What is your spirit animal?
The majestic sea cucumber.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I hope that I can be a therapist that not only provides care and therapy to the patient.   But can be a friend if they need it.  I want to foster a relationship with my patients and coworkers that makes choosing to go to work in the morning a very easy decision.  As far as what setting I’d like to work in… honestly I have no idea yet; I would love to have a chance to work at as many different settings as I can.

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Who is your greatest influence in your life?
I have many influences in my life, all equally important to me.  I can’t say one is greater than the rest because I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of them.  An important influence has been my parents though.  Being able to go home one day and fix them would be one of the most rewarding experiences.  Another influence is seeing a patient’s path to recovery from start to finish.  I’m glad and hope that I will always be able to relish and share the joy of getting a patient back to their “old selves”.  

 

By Mark Yanai

Introducing Natalia

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We continue with the introductions of our most recent Co-ops. Meet Natalia, our newest addition to the Kailua clinic. Read about how her detour from the mainland to Hawaii for her next Co-op experience came about in our Q&A session below.
IMG_9242– What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I went to Jesuit High School in Portland, OR and moved to Boston for Northeastern University‘s six year DPT program.

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– What drew you to physical therapy?
I’ve always known I wanted to be in the health profession, so in high school I did a lot of research and talked to a bunch of people from different careers. What struck me the most was how much physical therapists enjoyed their jobs and felt that their work was deeply rewarding and meaningful. I shadowed at an outpatient clinic and it was very inspirational to see the strong rapport PTs have with their patients and how hard they work to help their patients improve.

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– Why did you want to do your Co-op in Hawaii?

I really enjoyed my last outpatient Co-op because I appreciated the depth of a relationship that can be built over a longer timeframe with patients seen in an outpatient clinic as opposed to a hospital setting. I decided the Hawaii Co-op would give me a new take on an environment that I’ve already had some experience with and plan to go in the future, as well as provide me the opportunity to learn fresh techniques, perspectives, and cultural values which will shape my practice down the line.
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– What has been your experience like so far?
It’s been incredible! Honestly, everyone is so friendly and chill. I thought it would be hard to transition to a completely different culture and surroundings than what I’m used to, but I already never want to leave! I have never felt so stress-free and so physically and mentally healthy! I can tell these six months are going to fly by.

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– What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
I would probably say the strawberry guava that we picked off the side of a trail during a hike in Temple Valley. It was delicious and not as strange of a texture as lilikoi, but just the fact that I could pick tasty, edible fruit to munch in the middle of our hike totally blew my mind! I also couldn’t figure out if I should eat the small seeds or spit them out!
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– What is on your to do list while here?
My to do list mainly revolves around being fully immersed in the culture and experiences while I’m here and to take advantage of every moment. I am going to try and be outside as much as possible by swimming, biking, running and hiking O’ahu’s beautiful landscapes. My other main goal is to learn as much as I can from the unique culture and clinic opportunities, making sure I come away with an unforgettable educational experience.

– What are your outside interests?
I’m very into tea and I love to cook healthy and try new recipes. I bike everywhere back in Boston and enjoy reading outdoors whenever I get a chance. I really like petting people’s dogs and taking advantage of community volunteer opportunities.

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– What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I hope to be the kind of therapist who is constantly learning and bettering herself in order to best help other people, putting the well-being of my patients above all else. I really value education and continual learning which I believe is crucial for providing the best possible health care.

– Who is your greatest influence in your life?
That’s hard to say, because everyone I’m close to has influenced me in some way — my family, friends, teachers, peers, and coworkers alike. If I had to choose one person, I would say my sister. She’s the one who’s given me my love of outdoor adventure, shaped my taste in music and literature, and honed my skills in vegetarian cooking. She has showed me what it means to be a compassionate and altruistic individual. She has always encouraged me to follow my dreams and has been there whenever I’ve had to make tough decisions. She definitely is likely the reason why I chose a career in physical therapy.

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