CHS Welcomes New Faculty – Meet Dr. Kosaku Aoyagi
Published August 25, 2022
By Darlene Muguiro
UTEP College of Health Sciences
This fall, the College of Health Sciences (CHS) is welcoming several new faculty members in Public Health Sciences, Physical Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology.
We are pleased to present the second profile, featuring Dr. Kosaku Aoyagi, assistant professor of Physical Therapy. Dr. Aoyagi comes to UTEP with a professional background in rehabilitation, including as a practicing PT in a Japanese hospital, where he led the inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation division and saw patients with chronic conditions, post-acute surgical conditions, and sports/acute injuries. He is a certified manual therapist of the German Society for Musculoskeletal Medicine and also held a certification in Japan as a respiratory therapist. He received a master’s degree in rehabilitation science from the University of Illinois-Chicago and a PhD in physical therapy and rehabilitation science from the University of Kansas Medical Center.
The first thing that struck Dr. Kosaku Aoyagi upon arriving at UTEP was the beauty of the campus. While he was initially drawn to UTEP by the opportunity to teach at a research institution focused on health disparities, he immediately noticed the distinct Bhutanese architecture – one of the hallmarks of an institution that celebrates and welcomes diverse cultures. Aoyagi believes this mindset, which permeates the campus, ultimately contributes to student success.
“UTEP is a diverse academic community. The sociocultural richness is a strong and unique aspect of the campus,” he said. “UTEP students are fortunate to have diverse classmates and friends because understanding and embracing diversity makes us better people, researchers, and health professionals contributing to better health care.”
During his interview, Aoyagi had the opportunity to visit with PT students and was impressed by their motivation and interest, as well as their diverse backgrounds. He says he is excited by the opportunity to work with each of them.
“Some students are local, while others are from out of state, or even from other countries such as Australia and Korea,” he said. “I have never taught such a diverse student cohort, and I am excited about it because I strongly support academic environments that enhance academic excellence, cultivate high-quality science and advance equitable health care.”
In his role as an assistant professor, Aoyagi will teach a tests and measures class this fall. He also brings a rich research portfolio focused on central pain mechanisms in patients with chronic pain conditions such as knee osteoarthritis and chronic low back pain and hopes to have the opportunity to meet students who are interested in pain research.
“My research aims to enhance treatment outcomes for pain and function by developing an innovative set of clinical assessment tools to identify the subgroup of people presenting with central pain mechanisms to guide mechanism-based decision making rather than a “one-size-fits-all’ approach,” he said. “I also hope to develop innovative physical therapy pain management strategies targeting central pain mechanisms.”
To learn more about Dr. Aoyagi’s research, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.