Activity Report

Activity Report of Open Application Course vol.25

Young university faculty from Sri Lanka were invited to conduct an experiential exercise on leading-edge research in health sciences together to consider the future vision of Japan and Sri Lanka

Report by Sato Takuichi, Chair of the International Exchange Committee at the Graduate School of Health Sciences, Niigata University

The Graduate School of Health Sciences at Niigata University invited 10 young faculty members (and the Dean of Health as the supervisor) from the University of Peradeniya (the Department of Health), which is the top school in Sri Lanka, to conduct an experiential exercise program for leading-edge research in health sciences from December 10, 2019.

During their six-day visit to Japan, they stayed for three days at our Graduate School of Health Sciences. We held an intensive program for them to experience leading-edge health research in Japan, with the aim of increasing their momentum to study abroad for graduate doctoral work (latter term) in Japan. While international students in doctoral programs coming from Asia are predominantly young university faculty, there are four international students in our Graduate School of Health Sciences which is a sign of our applying leverage (promoting study abroad) to the current troubled situation. (It should be noted that since the conclusion of the Inter-university Exchange Agreement in 2010, the number of international students studying at the undergraduate level has steadily increased to a total of more than 50 students).

In this experiential exercise program, we selected as the theme, leading-edge research in the fields of medical technology, radiological technology and nursing in our Graduate School of Health Sciences to match the areas of expertise of the young faculty at the University of Peradeniya. Specifically, we conducted mini-lectures on ultra-rapid laboratory testing methods, medical physicist training, autopsy imaging using CT, practical training using biomedical engineering validation models for food support and skin care, and even on the possibility of pathology diagnostics using artificial intelligence. (All lectures were conducted in English.) All were conducted in laboratories capable of accepting PhD (latter term) students and were aimed at promoting research exchanges (studying abroad).

Practical exercises using biomedical engineering validation models
Medical Physicist Training

Particularly for POCT (Point-of-Care-Testing), experiential exercises on rapid clinical examination equipment developed by Japanese manufacturers (Panasonic-based PHC Corporation), lectures on Japanese artificial intelligence, and experiential exercises on autopsy imaging using medical imaging diagnostic techniques and CT to determine the cause of death appeared to have an impact on the participants.

Experiences with rapid clinical examination equipment
Autopsy imaging experiential exercise

During their stay at Niigata University, the participants were also invited to participate in the International Symposium (4th GSH International Symposium), sponsored by our Graduate School of Health Sciences, to provide them with an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the state of the art in health research and to spread the word. GSH is an initialism of Gender/Generation-Specific/Sensitive-Health, one of the most advanced areas of human health science and health research that our Graduate School of Health Sciences has been working vigorously on in recent years, that focuses on gender and age.

Furthermore, at this international symposium, the Dean of Health, who came to Japan as the supervisor, was asked to speak about the history and future of international exchanges with our Graduate School of Health Sciences. One significance of this participatory exercise program is thought to be the ability to provide young faculty at the University of Peradeniya who do not have extensive opportunities to travel abroad or to participate in international symposiums such changes. After next fiscal year, we hope that the 5th, 6th and many other opportunities, and GSH International Symposium will continue to be held successfully.

At the 4th GSH International Symposium

This time, with the support of the Sakura Science Exchange Program, we were able smoothly to implement an experience-based exercise program in English at the Graduate School of Health Sciences, Niigata University, and were able to let the University of Peradeniya know and remind them that the system is such that the credits required for obtaining a degree (doctoral degree) can be obtained in English.

The implementation of the program was a good opportunity for Niigata University (Graduate School of Health Sciences) to reaffirm the necessity of strengthening the system (e.g., more faculty can improve their ability with English and their presentation skills, and actively to apply to the MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, and Science and Technology) scholarship) and to consider future plans and directions for insurance research in Japan and Sri Lanka. We wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who collaborated in the program (over 40 people in total) who supported the Sakura Science Exchange Program and implementation of this experiential exercise.