National Taiwan University’s School and Graduate Institute of Physical Therapy (NTUPT) will be partnering with Juntendo University’s Department of Physical Therapy, establishing the two schools as sister universities, creating more opportunities for future international exchange. Juntendo University is located in Tokyo, Japan. The university was founded in 1838, and gradually expanded into the current six faculties: Medicine, Health and Sports Science, Health Care and Nursing, International Liberal Arts, and Health Science. The establishment was made between NTUPT and Juntendo University’s Physical Therapy department, which belongs under the Faculty of Health Science. Juntendo University has 6 medical school affiliated hospitals (with 3199 beds). As of May 1, 2020, the school has 4959 undergraduate students and 1021 graduate students; 232 full-time professors, 503 associate professors, 448 assistant professors, and 29 lecturers. Juntendo University’s Department of Physical Therapy was established in 2018, and enrolls about 120 university students per year. At present, there are about 240 university students, 14 physical therapists, and 6 physicians in the Department of Physical Therapy.
Due to the current epidemic situation, the first conference between the universities was held virtually on July 6, 2020, with the purpose of discussing future exchange of research and teaching resources between the physical therapy departments of both schools (Figure 1). It was an honor to have Distinguished Professor Yen-Hsuan Ni, Dean of the National Taiwan University College of Medicine, participate in the conference along with a number of professors from NTUPT (Figure 2). Professors representing Juntendo University that were present during the virtual conference included Hiroyuki Daida, Dean of the School of Health Sciences, and Professor Toshiyuki Fujiwara, head of the Department of Physical Therapy of Juntendo University, and nearly 20 other faculty members. Dean Ni also gave a speech in fluent Japanese, which really surprised the audience.
Figure 1: Conference Agenda
Figure 2: Distinguished Professor Yen-Hsuan Ni, Dean of the School of Medicine, giving a speech in fluent Japanese. From left to right: Shwu-Fen Wang, Director of the Department of Physical Therapy; Yen-Hsuan Ni, Distinguished Professor and Dean of the College of Medicine; Professor Suh-Fang Jeng of the World Confederation of Physical Therapy Asia-Western Pacific Region (WCPT-AWP); and Associate Professor Wei-Li Hsu.
The conference began with introductions of the faculty members of both departments and the expectations for future international exchanges. After a brief introduction of the history of both universities and the current campus locations, the second half of the conference focused on current research regarding the four major fields of physical therapy (orthopedics, cardiopulmonary, neurology, and pediatrics). Professors introduced their present ongoing projects, results, as well as future prospects for research development.
Professor Jui-Jenq Lin of National Taiwan University introduced the current research on orthopedic physical therapy; Professor Li-Ying Wang introduced the field of cardiopulmonary physical therapy; Professor Pei-Fang Tang introduced the field of neurological physical therapy; and Assistant Professor Hsiao-I Kuo introduced current research in the field of pediatric physical therapy. The representative professors of Juntendo University also introduced their ongoing research projects, as well as the university’s well-known fields of sports rehabilitation and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation.
The conference successfully established a mutual understanding and plan of action for cooperation between the universities, encouraging the exchange of academic publications, research, as well as teaching resources. As the physical therapy departments of Juntendo University and National Taiwan University will become sister departments, physical therapy students will be given more opportunities to participate in overseas clinical internships in the future. Both universities will allow a designated number of students to participate in overseas clinical internships, and will send students to the respective for clinical practice. After the epidemic, an official itinerary for professor and student exchange will be announced.
Figure 3: Professors of NTUPT who participated in the online conference