By Deb Matsuura

New Co-ops for 2018 (Cont.)

F&L has been fortunate enough to bring on six C0-ops this semester. You’ve met Ryan and Scott, so now let’s meet 2 more: Brynn & Emily!

BRYNN
What high school did you attend and what’s your current college?
I went to Lincoln High School in Portland, Oregon and I currently attend Northeastern University.

What drew you to physical therapy?
I was born with Erb’s Palsy in my left arm and grew up going to physical therapy so it seemed like a normal part of life to me. When I was in high school I realized that I could help people just as much as my PTs had helped me and decided that that was what I wanted to do in life.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I wanted to coop here in Hawaii because I was very interested in aqua-therapy and the hands on experience that the clinics offer. I also greatly enjoy traveling and immersing myself into new cultures so it seemed like the perfect fit for me.

What has been your experience like so far? 
So far I have loved every second of it and I already feel like I have learned so much both from my coworkers and from the patients.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
Since arriving the strangest thing that I have eaten is dried shrimp. I am not a huge fan of cooked seafood so that was an interesting experience.

What is on your to do list while here?
While I’m here I want to explore as much of the island as I can and go hiking every weekend. I want to experience as much as I possibly can and feel at home here.

      
What kind of therapist do you hope to be? 
I am not yet sure what type of therapist I want to be because there is so much that I haven’t seen and so many different patient populations that I have yet to work with. That being said, I don’t see myself working in an in-patient setting.

 

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
If I had to choose one person who has had the greatest influence in my life it would be my high school rowing coach. He is very driven and dedicated and throughout my 5 years with him taught me so many life lessons that I did not realize until I left the club.

EMILY

Aloha!
What high school did you attend and what’s your current college? 
I grew up in a small suburb outside of Boston and attended Dover-Sherborn High School. I am currently a fourth year physical therapy student at Northeastern University.

What drew you to physical therapy and why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
In 9th grade I loved my biology and anatomy class (MUCH more than math class) and realized that I was fascinated by how the human body worked. I decided to complete a PT internship in a small outpatient clinic in MA and my experience confirmed that I wanted to major in PT. I worked alongside a Northeastern Co-op student who raved about her PT program and I decided Northeastern was my dream school.

I studied abroad in Greece for my first semester of college and I had an absolutely amazing experience. When I returned to Boston I knew that I wanted to embrace more opportunities at Northeastern to travel and experience new challenges. When I heard about the Hawaii Co-op I knew it was something that I wanted to pursue. Previous Co-op students would post amazing photos, share stories about their experiences, and they carried a new positive energy. Who knew that my path at Northeastern would include two study abroad programs (Greece and London) and a 6 month Co-op on the amazing island of Oahu!

What has been your experience like so far? 
The transition to Hawaii was pretty smooth and although the jet lag and adjustment to the “vog” took a slight toll on me, I became immersed in a new lifestyle right away. I got right to work training at the Kailua clinic/pool the first week on the island and before I knew it the first weekend had arrived and promised adventure. So far my friends and I have hiked Kuliouoou Ridge and Koko Head and enjoyed Waimea Bay, Sandy’s Beach, Kailua Beach, and Lanikai Beach. The second trip to the North Shore wasn’t quite as pleasant as my friends and I (along with our phones) got taken out by a wave even though we were standing 50 feet away. On the bright side now I have waterproof phone with a great camera to capture the many memories and beautiful views to come.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving? 
The strangest thing I’ve eaten since arriving is Lilikoi.I found the fruit to be pretty sour and a patient recommended that I try it again with honey and sugar which sounds pretty yummy.

What is on your to do list while here?
My ultimate Hawaii to-do list includes the usual- tan at beaches all over the island, snorkel, kayak, paddle board, and hike as many mountains at possible. I also really want to horseback ride and drive ATVs at the Kualoa Ranch, sky dive, and take surfing lessons. I also plan to try as many acai bowls on the island as possible.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be? 
My last Co-op was half inpatient/ outpatient and to my surprise I really enjoyed both types of PT. I stayed on as an inpatient aide at the hospital for weekend shifts which is why I seeked out more outpatient experience for my Co-op. I felt like a lot of the information that we learned in the past three semesters of school could be applied and built upon in an outpatient clinic. I am unsure what setting I will be in when I’m older but luckily I have time to figure it out! As a Northeastern student I am truly lucky that I have the opportunity to be exposed to a variety of physical therapy placements at hospitals, schools, and rehabilitation centers.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
My mom has a very big influence in my life and I strive to be like her. People love to be around my mom as she is a genuine, kind person and she always puts others before her. She supports me no matter what and never fails to remind me how proud of me she is.My mom loves the ocean as she grew up in a beach town so she cannot WAIT to see the shores of Hawaii :). My friends at Northeastern also have a great impact on my life. We motivate each other to work hard in school and find a balance so that we can get through PT school but also be young and have fun. My friends always have my back and are always there for a good laugh.

By Deb Matsuura

Kyle’s Co-op Memories

After spending 6 months at Fukuji & Lum, I’ve learned a lot and am thankful for everyone who went out of their way to help and teach me. For example, when I started, I was 2 months out of a shoulder surgery and Shaw, Taryn, Mark, and Art all took time to help me through and make sure I was on track.

Every day after work, Lynn would drive me to the bus stop so I could make the early bus home and not have to wait another hour. If I was a little overwhelmed on a busy shift Mike or Jenny would help me out with a patient or two. Everyone helped each other out, and it made me want to do the same. This is the Fukuji & Lum culture that took me a few months to really get a grasp of, but looking back I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

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[two_third_last]In what other company could you be wrapped up in toilet paper and made to look like a bride for a game at a wedding shower? Where else could a student attend a continuing education course? Or how about play pickup basketball with other employees every Tuesday night?

Is it crazy to go all the way to a clinic on the Windward side, from the Honolulu clinic, just to take part in the katsu curry lunch on Fridays? What about dressing up every single day of October for PT month? [/two_third_last]

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[one_half] While there may be a company where you can say yes to a few of these, at F&L I did all of those things and much more. I had the experience of doing much more than going and applying what I’ve learned in class on real patients. I had the experience of being a part of something greater than myself. It wasn’t just about treating patients, it was about loving & growing together as a family, and we sure did. [/one_half]

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kyle3 [/one_half_last] On top of all the work-related memories, the other Co-ops and I ventured far and wide intra-island and inter-island. We explored mountains, valleys, and beaches. In between we explored sandwich shops, waterfalls, shave-ice stands, and our favorite poke places. The best part of these adventures was never the location or the food, but rather getting to know each other better.

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Words can’t fully express my 6-months in Hawaii, but they don’t need to. The employees of F&L, including the other students, Matt, Stevie, Liz, and Grace, share our memories and I find peace in knowing they will live on for the rest of our lives.

A hui hou Hawaii.

By Deb Matsuura

Special Thanks to Fukuji & Lum

Entering the New Year, I look back at my 2017 accomplishments. As many others strive for when creating their list of resolutions, I had hoped for positive change and personal growth. With the bittersweet end to my time in Hawaii, I reflect on how it has helped me to reach my goals. Surrounded by clear blue waters, soaring mountain ranges, and a unique Ohana; I had the opportunity to take a step away from the hustle of Boston and learn more about myself and the therapist I want to be one day.

After receiving word of my position in Hawaii, I was both excited and nervous for this new adventure. Weeks leading up to my arrival I had many friends and family, some more jealous than others, sending me good wishes on this next chapter in my life.

[two_third] Previous co-ops spoke so highly of their coworkers and experiences, so I knew I would be greeted with open arms. This made leaving home and coming to an unfamiliar place a little less daunting.

Within hours of landing, I was receiving welcome hugs from people I had never met – I already felt a part of the Ohana. With any new job, the first few months are a transition period. Learning to embody the values of a company and collaborate closely with colleagues you know little about, can be difficult. Although it was overwhelming at times and my supervisors received many of my dumbfounded looks, I felt every coworker I encountered was willing and able to help me make this transition seamless.[/two_third]
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[/one_third_last] I am grateful to have worked with so many accomplished and intelligent therapists. I learned that each therapist has something different to bring to the table, whether it be a skill or a thought process. I watched as they worked as a team of many backgrounds to provide the best care possible for our patients. Looking back at my experiences with each therapist, I have confirmed that I want to be a physical therapist. I learned something from each and every one of them that I will someday have the opportunity to apply in my practice.

I also had the chance to work closely with many determined, caring patients, who constantly embodied the aloha spirit. From my patients I learned the power of perseverance. Watching them maintain determination over the course of a few weeks, a few months, or even the entirety of my time at F&L to reach their goals, was an enlightening experience. I truly realized the importance of teamwork in this field, where healthcare providers should work closely with their patients. This unique team is what makes our jobs worth it each and every day.

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Having the opportunity to work in almost all of the clinics, it opened my eyes to how closely the company works in order to carry out F&L’s mission and values in every location. Rather than each being their own separate entity, the clinics worked together to be one, united team. During my 6 months, I also had the unique chance to experience the company go through big changes. One of which, was seeing lots of hard work go into creating a new logo that embodies all that the company is. With such a distinctive model and outlook on physical therapy, F&L stands out and makes me hopeful for further growth in the PT world.

[one_half] Aside from building many close relationships and a strong sense of work identity, I also had the opportunity to explore Oahu, and remind myself to take some time to enjoy the little moments in life. For an island that is only 40 miles long and 30 miles wide, I never thought there would be so much to do. As a co-op group we were able to explore the wonders of Hawaii together, truly making the most of our weekends. From sliding down steep, muddy mountains on my okole (yay Hawaiian words) to maneuvering the paddle out to the mokes, we made endless memories together that I will hold onto for the rest of my life.

A special thank you to Liz, Stevie, Matt and Kyle, my Hawaii family, for making the better half of my 2017, even better. I learned from you guys and our many adventures to take a step back and take in the moment. A little rest and relaxation never hurts.  [/one_half]

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From my amazing patients to the special company of Fukuji&Lum, I thank you all for this incredible experience. I will miss each and every one of you very much, and I hope to see you someday soon.

Mahalo Nui Loa,

Grace Taylor

By Mark Yanai

Being Present for the Future

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There are many moments in our lives that mark significant milestones of achievement. It is in these past few months that many of these milestones have presented themselves, leaving strong emotions and memories that will stay with me forever.

My blog posts have slowed in recent months. My life has become filled with travels and milestones like everyone else’s. It began in May when my entire family traveled to California to watch my nephew, Matthew, graduate from Chapman University. A fun week of graduation activities was sprinkled with visits to Disneyland and Universal Studios.

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The trip continued with a flight to Portland and drive to McMinnville where we celebrated my eldest son, Kaleo’s, graduation from Linfield College. After four years of multiple trips to Oregon, this last travel to McMinnville was the most enjoyable and memorable. Watching Kaleo walk up to the podium and receive his diploma was a definite proud father moment.

Being present at both graduations brought on a tremendous sense of pride. As my family sat in the stands and watched each moment, we all felt more connected and we all shared in the accomplishment. During the trip, my wife and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary while my mom celebrated her 80th birthday. It seemed surreal that all of these milestones would occur within a two-week period.

[one_half] Fast forward to this week when one of our employees, Ryan, completed his employment with F&L. Ryan was accepted to Western University in Pomona, California and began graduate school in August to attain his doctoral degree in physical therapy. Ryan was originally a patient with F&L while he was in high school. His experience with us led to a four-year period of volunteering in the summers while at Pacific University. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science, Ryan accepted a job with us as a front office receptionist and PT technician, a role that he’s filled while building his resume for graduate school.

We celebrated Ryan’s last day at work with party and mini-golf tournament at Bay View Golf Course. With over 40 people in attendance, we all got to recognize his contributions to the organization and wish him well in his new adventure. As the F&L family gathered, I felt the same feelings of pride and connection to Ryan and the rest of the group. [/one_half]

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We often tell ourselves that there’s our work family and then there’s our real family. For F&L we strive to change that perception and our Higher Purpose is “to love and grow, as family.” By sharing common values, we want our employees and patients to feel safe and supported, that whatever accomplishment they work toward, it will be through collaboration and love. If we can create that in our small organization, we can share it with the rest of the world.

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By Deb Matsuura

We Welcome Liz to the Fukuji and Lum Ohana!

Fukuji & Lum welcomes our fourth Co-op this semester, Liz, to our Ohana. She will be working with our aquatic therapists in the pool and at our outpatient physical therapy clinic in Kaneohe.

Liz is our guest blogger this week and shares a little introduction about why she got into physical therapy and her experience so far in Hawaii.

What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college? I went to Falmouth High School in Falmouth, Maine and I am now in the DPT program at Northeastern University in Boston.

What drew you to physical therapy? I grew up playing sports year-round so I was constantly focused on the way my body moved. I went to physical therapy for my own sports-related injuries in early high school and it opened my eyes to how amazing the human body is. I decided to do a job shadow with a couple of physical therapists in my area and that’s when I knew I wanted to be an expert on the way the body moved and pursue a career in physical therapy.

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Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii? The ocean and mountains of Hawaii are what initially grabbed my attention when I began my coop search. After I heard previous coop’s descriptions of the Fukuji and Lum culture, and saw the mission and values highlighted on the F&L website I knew I wanted to be a part of the fun, happy, and compassionate family I had heard about.

What has your experience been like so far? I’ve had an amazing experience so far. Rather than dreading going to work in the morning and counting the hours until the end of each work day, as I have found myself doing with previous jobs that I’ve had, I look forward to going to work and I find that the days fly by. I have learned a lot from my co-workers and patients, and I have become more excited for my future as a physical therapist.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving? Spam.

What is on your to-do list while here? I want to take advantage of the mountains and the ocean by hiking and swimming regularly and hopefully learning how to surf. I also hope to create lasting relationships with people that I meet, and learn as much as I can about PT from my co-workers and my experience.

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What kind of therapist do you hope to be? I hope to be a therapist who can help my patients understand how amazing their bodies are and show them how to manipulate the way they move so that they are confident in taking control of their own recoveries.

Who is your greatest influence in your life? As the youngest of five kids in my family, I have always had a lot of people to look up to. My parents, sisters, and brothers have showed me how to think critically, how to study, how to be considerate of others, how to appreciate all the amazing people in my life, and much much more. I continue to learn from each of them every day.

I have also met some pretty great people in my past two years at Northeastern. I constantly find myself describing my classmates and friends as some of the smartest, kindest and most hardworking people I know. I have met so many people worthy of raving about, and being around them has made me want to push myself harder in all aspects of my life.

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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.

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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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[one_half_last]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.[/one_half_last]

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!

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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. [/one_half]

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By Deb Matsuura

Jamie & Tiffany

Throughout the ten years that Fukuji & Lum has been partners with Northeastern University, there have been a total of 35 PT students come to the islands to work for our company. As we grow as an organization, the need for more Co-op students increases. This semester we are so fortunate to have five students, Tim, Dan, Rose, Tiffany and Jamie. We already introduced Dan and now would like you to meet Jamie and Tiffany.

Jamie is from Rhode Island and is currently a fourth-year in the physical therapy program at Northeastern University in Boston.

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What drew you to physical therapy? 
I knew that I wanted to do something in the health field, but I wasn’t sure specifically what I wanted to go into. As I explored my options, PT seemed like a great profession! I went to physical therapy for a sports injury, which initially sparked my interest. I ended up working at a clinic near my house in high school and it really solidified that I was heading in the right direction.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I went to Maui with my family two years ago and coming back to Hawaii  has always been in the back of my mind. I love the ocean and so being in a place with such beautiful beaches for 6 months was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Also escaping the winter in Boston isn’t too bad. [/one_half_last]

What has been your experience like so far?
I’ve been having a great time in Hawaii so far, the time is flying by though! We have done some great hikes and eaten a lot of food, both of which I’ve really enjoyed. Everyone here is so welcoming, both the staff and patients are so friendly and it has really made such a positive impact on my experience here.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
I had a pork lau lau which was very different from what I typically eat. Also spam musubi, which was my first spam experience. I was pleasantly surprised by the spam!

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What is on your to do list while here?
My to do list is constantly growing! I just want to keep hiking, going to new beaches and eating endless amounts of food. I also think it would be awesome to learn to surf and to travel to the Big Island.

What are your outside interests?
I like to run and eat! I’m also a huge fan of anything involving animals, especially dogs.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I want to be open minded as therapist and be supportive and effective in helping patients reach their goals. I want to continue learning the best ways to treat patients throughout my career.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
My family is probably the biggest influence on my life. Family is very important to me and my family has continued to be so supportive of me in whatever I do. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for them.

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Let’s meet Tiffany!

Tiffany attended Holliston High School in Massachusetts and is currently at Northeastern University in Boston.
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What drew you to physical therapy?
I have always wanted to work within the medical profession, but wanted to find a path that incorporated athletics. Physical therapy perfectly combines healthcare and athletics in order to help people return to their daily life. It is a profession that allowed me to spend time with patients and make a tangible impact on their lives.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I have spent my whole life in Massachusetts and have not been far from family. Traveling across the country and part of the pacific will definitely challenge my independence and adaptability. I wanted to challenge myself and experience a new part of the world. Learning about physical therapy here really emphasizes the compassion and empathy of the Hawaiian culture. [/one_half]

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What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?I have not eaten a lot of strange things, but my favorite thing to eat is poke! I love that I can go into the seafood section of Foodland and grab a poke bowl! I look forward to trying poi at a luau!

What is on your to do list while here?
I definitely want to try surfing, complete more hikes like three peaks and coco head! I recently heard of a site that has horseback riding, so I want to try that too! There are so many things that I want to do, and everyday the list keeps growing!
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What are your outside interests?
I love swimming and it has been great being able to swim in the ocean! Recently, I started helping out at the pool and love that I get to combine PT with aquatics! I also love languages and a lot of people have been teaching me some Hawaiian! Recently, I learned that toes are called mana mana wawae!

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What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I want to be a therapist that makes my patients laugh, feel comfortable and well cared for. Everyone at Fukuji and Lum has definitely set a great example for me to follow. They are all so passionate about the field and care so deeply about each patient!

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
I have met many inspirational and wonderful people in my life. However, my parents have given me everything I need to pursue my ambitions. Their support and love has helped me get to where I am today.

By Mark Yanai

Justin S: A Hui Hou

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In this week’s blog, Justin reflects on his new experiences at F&L while living and learning about the Hawaiian culture.

Reflections of a Co-Op

by Justin S.

To say I enjoyed my 6 months in Hawaii would be an understatement. I worked with amazing patients and coworkers, learned more than I could have ever expected, and thoroughly enjoyed living in the most beautiful place I have ever seen.
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I felt like a valuable part of a team while working at Fukuji & Lum. Even though it was my first time working in a physical therapy setting, I was trusted and given many responsibilities. It was an incredibly welcoming place to work. While searching for a co-op, the biggest thing I took from the Fukuji & Lum website was being part of their ohana. Family day, potlucks, and the Christmas party were great ways to get to know everybody. I think Art and I combined for about 10 plates of crab legs. Rachel happily invited the co-ops to her house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was such a kind gesture and we had a very fun time! This is just one example, but everybody that I worked with went out of their way to make sure my experience was fun and educational.

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The patients I worked with were fantastic. They taught me a lot about life in Hawaii, looked to me for help with exercises, and were great to talk story with. I will always remember these relationships that helped make my experience so great. I was so fortunate to be presented with t-shirts, poke bowls, and homemade foods from these great people.
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There were many firsts for me in Hawaii. I completed my first triathlon in September. It was a lot of fun and I couldn’t have done it without the swimming help from my coworkers at the pool. I had my first poke bowl my first day on Oahu, and it became a staple in my diet ever since. When working in Kailua, I would always pop over to Foodland for lunch to grab a spicy ahi bowl. I still crave them every day. I surfed for the first time in Waikiki about a week into my stay. Thereafter, I practiced when I could and steadily improved over the 6 months. I’m no Kelly Slater, but I have a lot of fun trying.
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Everyone always asked if the four co-ops knew each other before arriving in Hawaii. We met up for dinner once, but honestly had no clue who the other three were. Within a week, we bought a car together and were hanging out at the beach and watching Hawaii Five-O every day. Every weekend was filled with fun trips to town, Hawaii Kai, or the North Shore. It made all of us happy to hear that we were the closest group of co-ops that has come through. Ashley, Colby, Leila and I will always have oodles of awesome memories together that we will never forget. Even with our busy schedules, we are still able to see each other occasionally, most recently with a trip to Pokeworks, Boston’s attempt at replicating the divine Hawaiian dish. It wasn’t as good as the ones made in Hawaii, and it was really cold outside, but we still had fun.
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I will always be grateful for this experience, which has undoubtedly been the best 6 months of my life. Mahalo nui loa to everyone who made this experience so awesome.

 

A hui hou,

Justin

By Mark Yanai

Introducing Mila

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Introducing Mila!

As we continuing with our introductions of our five new co-ops, we welcome Mila to the F&L family. She and her classmate, Kaitlin, are currently working at our Kokokahi clinics, both at the pool and Kaneohe clinic. Throughout the next six months, we hope that some of our patients get the opportunity to be a part of her experience in Hawaii.

What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I attended Ashland High School and my current college in Northeastern University in Boston.

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What drew you to physical therapy?
During my freshman year of college I became very active and started running and working out with a grassroots workout group called November Project. As a retired dancer and a pharmacy major I quickly realized that my passion lay in the preventative side of medicine that focused on patient care and had an impact on patients’ lives. After going to physical therapy myself, I realized that a career as a physical therapist would allow me to explore my interest in the human body and make a huge impact on the quality of life of my patients. It is an extremely rewarding, challenging, and fun career that completely matches my active lifestyle.

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Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
F&L offers aquatic therapy, which is something I have always been interested in. They also seem to have a family environment within their company, which is something I have always wanted to experience. And… it’s Hawaii; the real question is why would I ever not want to do my coop in paradise! It is so amazing to have a full day at work and then be able to drive 5 minutes to do a sunset hike overlooking the beach.

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What has been your experience like so far?
My experience so far has been absolutely incredible! I can’t believe it has only been a month. I have been hiking, surfing, swimming, eating lots of delicious food, meeting wonderful friends, and getting my tan on.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving? Natto…

What is on your to do list while here?
Hike stairway to heaven, sky dive, check out Big Island and Kauai, paraglide, learn more songs on guitar, eat everything, get very tan, and of course learn how to surf!

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What are your outside interests?
I love to dance, cook, write, sing, read, watch movies, hike, and snowboard.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I would like to be an outpatient orthopedic therapist. I hope to obtain the experience and knowledge to confidently provide each individual patient with the best care and attention to their unique injuries.

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Who is your greatest influence in your life?
I don’t have a single influence in my life. I am blessed to have been surrounded by loving friends and family who have shaped me into the person I am today. I have had the same best friends since the 6th grade and I am very close to my family. I believe the close relationships I have made so far have been my biggest motivator and have showed me how fun life can be when you’re surrounded by those you love!

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By Mark Yanai

Mahalo & Aloha Victoria

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As we introduce our new Co-Ops, we also say goodbye to those who have completed the fall semester. Victoria guest blogs for me as she reflects back on the past six months and her experience with F&L.

There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t wish I could be back in Hawaii (especially with Boston’s current 30 degree weather). I had wanted to apply to the Fukuji and Lum co-op ever since I first heard about it three years ago. As someone who loves to travel, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to continue my physical therapy education while living in and experiencing a new place.

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While the thought of moving halfway around the world for six months seemed intimidating, the Fukuji and Lum family welcomed us with open arms and showed us the true meaning of “Aloha” from day one. I feel truly lucky to have had the privilege of getting to know both the staff members and patients at F&L. From giving me my first spam musubi to inviting us to an Okinawan festival, everyone went out of their way to ensure we experienced all aspects of the Hawaiian culture. The always calm and friendly Hawaiian spirit was impossible not to catch and is something I hope to always keep with me.

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My weeks in Hawaii were filled with learning while I worked at the Kailua and Kaneohe Clinics as well as the Aquatic Therapy program in Kaneohe. The dedicated physical therapists and PTA’s were always there to encourage me and answer my many questions. Thanks to them, I have come back to Boston knowing more than I ever thought I could learn in six months and with a greater drive to continue learning and complete my final three years of physical therapy school.

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Growing up a swimmer, Kaneohe pool’s Aquatic Therapy program made me feel at home immediately. Working with physical therapists Rachel, Jocelyn, and Joy, as well as the rest of the aquatic therapy staff, Deb, Billy, Wes and my fellow co-op Connor, there was always somebody ready to show me new techniques or answer a question. During my six months, I was able to watch the program grow and have gained a greater understanding of Aquatic Therapy and the many benefits it provides.

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In the Kailua clinic I worked closely with Randall Fukuji and Clarise who introduced me to PRI (Postural Restoration Institute), an approach to physical therapy that I had never heard of before coming to Hawaii. In the clinic, I instructed patients in their exercises and assisted with some manual techniques. I’ve learned the importance of keeping an open mind and always continuing my education as a physical therapist.

In Kaneohe’s Lower Atherton Clinic I was able to assist and observe physical therapists Jamie, Brad and Nate, and gained an appreciation for the many different ways each of them treated patients. Also, PTAs Colleen and Janie were always there to teach me new exercises and answer any of my questions. From observing evaluations, manual therapy, and attending different in-services, the Kaneohe clinic kept me constantly learning.

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Outside the clinic, my weekends were always exciting and filled with different adventures. My favorite memories include many muddy hikes and beautiful beaches, as well as kayaking to the Mokulua island, spending days on the North Shore, and swimming with wild spinner dolphins. I don’t think thank you is enough to describe how grateful I am to each one of my coworkers, patients, and new friends for making   Windward Oahu feels like home.

Aloha,

Victoria

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