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Writer: Amy Lillard

Contact: David Pedersen

(319) 335-8032

(319) 358-0297 Home

david-pedersen@uiowa.edu

Release: Immediate

Dec. 15, 1999

UI medical student chosen for Japanese exchange

IOWA CITY, Iowa — A University of Iowa College of Medicine student has been chosen as an exchange student at Aichi Medical University in Japan next year.

Todd Johnston, a fourth-year medical student, will travel to Japan for two months in March.

"I am extremely excited about the opportunity to experience a completely different medical environment and philosophy," Johnston said. "I think this will force me to think critically about the things we do, and I hope to adopt some new practices after this."

The exchange program between the UI and Aichi is in its second year. In addition to choosing UI students to send to Aichi, the UI College of Medicine has hosted two Aichi students and faculty members.

During Johnston's study at Aichi, he will perform rotations in orthopaedics, neurosurgery and internal medicine. Japanese medical schools differ from their American counterparts in the amount of practical experience students receive, Johnston said, which means he may be shadowing doctors more than working independently.

Johnston will encounter other curricular and cultural differences in his trip that will benefit his career, said Peter Densen, UI professor of internal medicine and associate dean for student affairs and curriculum in the college of medicine.

"The experience has the potential to be life-changing because of the exposure to another culture and way of delivering care," he said. "Different diseases will be seen, and he will experience being a minority. When he returns home and works with patients or colleagues who are not in the majority, this will undoubtedly help to enhance his efficacy as a physician."

To be selected, Johnston submitted an application and was interviewed. No experience with Japanese language was required, but Johnston has a long-standing interest in Japanese language and culture, beginning when his father was stationed in the Philippines for the U.S. Air Force. His family traveled throughout the Far Eastern countries, and he studied Japanese in high school in Waterloo and at the University of Notre Dame.

Johnston plans to work in orthopaedic surgery. He is interested in learning new techniques and surgical practices in orthopaedics while he is