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About Kumi

Kumi’s area of focus and expertise is in dementia care, specifically person-centered and culturally humble care for people living with dementia. She completed her doctoral degree at California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco, CA and her PhD dissertation utilized narrative research as a methodology to explore the complex issues mentioned above.  

 

Here’s her story: Kumi was born and raised in Japan.  She had already had a bachelor’s degree in theatre from a prestigious private university in Japan, Waseda Universty, and worked for some years as an editor and an English instructor in Tokyo.  However, when the Great Hanshin Earthquake hit in Japan in 1995, she was determined to go back to school to be able to support people who were in need. It was and still is rare in Japan for people to go back to college after having graduated and worked.  She studied occupational therapy at Kanazawa University, and after becoming a licensed occupational therapist, she worked at a geriatric hospital and senior day care facilities, where she grew her interest and found her passion in working with the elderly living with dementia--one of the most vulnerable populations.

She moved to the U.S. to pursue her master’s degree in counseling psychology with a concentration in Drama Therapy at CIIS in San Francisco in 2002.  This training/education has strengthened her ability to interactively work with both groups and individuals.  Since then, she has had many years of experience working as a therapist, using creative arts modalities (drama, improvisation, dance/movement, expressive arts) with a diverse community of clients in a skilled nursing facility and residents and their family members in an Alzheimer’s residential facility in San Francisco, as part of interdisciplinary team.  

 

She has also facilitated workshops focusing on issues of DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), conflict resolution, and community building together with her husband, John, who has been a master trainer/facilitator internationally and nationally in this field for many years.  Kumi started her independent consultation work for people living with dementia and their family members when they moved to Hawaii in 2013.  In addition, she has her own experience as a caregiver to her late father with dementia in Japan, who passed away at the age of 91. While currently living in Tacoma, WA, Kumi continues to travel back to Japan a few times a year in order to see her mother, who is 93 years young (!), living actively by herself.  She has been providing her presentation and keynote at events and conferences. She also serves as an advisory board member for the Aging and Disability Resources in Pierce County, WA.  Her first book regarding dementia prevention and caregiving has been published in February, 2023 in Japan.  She is going to present her work at the 36th Global Conference of Alzheimer's Disease International in this spring.

 

With these rich experiences mentioned above, it is Kumi’s passion and aspiration to support family caregivers and their loved ones living with dementia, as well as healthcare professionals working in this particular field of dementia care.  

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