During the summer of 2014, utilizing previously collected data on obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) and sleep disordered breathing (SDB) in Japan and in the United States by my preceptors at Juntendo University School of Medicine Department of Public Health in Tokyo, Japan; I prepared two research papers pushing for policy development regarding OSAS, SDB, and driving among commercial drivers at the occupational setting. The development of those two papers comes at a time where vehicular accidents are being attributed to sleep related issues more and more. With very lax or non-existent laws and regulations in place regarding SDB and commercial driving, the push for stronger policy in an effort to decrease sleep related vehicular accidents is gaining more traction in Japan and in the US.
This three-month experience was the first interaction between Juntendo University and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Working in Juntendo University’s Department of Public Health, allowed me to learn about the Japanese public health system and the similarities and differences that exist between the system in Japan and in the United States, particularly from a health policy standpoint. Furthermore, the department treated me as one of their own and really made it a positive and supportive working environment. Under the tutelage of my preceptors, Dr. Tanigawa and Dr. Noda, my mark in the public health world has only gotten deeper with their support for my publications. This was a great experience that validated my decision to become a public health professional and to return home for my masters.