REHAB Hospital of the Pacific, Hawaii’s only premier, acute-care rehabilitation hospital, and the University of Hawai‘i Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science Department are collaborating in a study to show how exercise diminishes the toxic effects associated with cancer therapies.

The purpose of this Cancer Exercise Rehabilitation internship is to give students an opportunity to gain practical experience in developing exercise prescriptions and leading one-on-one exercise training for cancer patients.

  • Experience in exercise testing, exercise prescription, and delivery of exercise training.
  • A new skillset which will prepare them to work with clients with special considerations.
  • The opportunity to put classroom knowledge into practice, bridging the gap between textbook education and practical application.

Cancer survivors face treatment-related toxicities which potentially develop into lifelong, chronic illnesses. These toxicities cause dysfunction to all the major systems in the body such as cardiovascular dysfunction, cachexia, reduced immunity, pulmonary fibrosis, lymphedema, peripheral neuropathy, and perhaps the most debilitating – cancer-related fatigue. These toxicities compounded with a lack of physical activity and poor health behaviors during the transition from cancer treatment to survivorship may predispose survivors to recurrent or secondary cancers. Exercise may help to reverse these toxicities to improve health, fitness, and quality of life in cancer patients.
As an intern in this program, you will design exercise prescriptions and train exercise patients in a one-on-one setting.

  • Students will lead a maximum of 4 patients through one-on-one exercise training 3 times a week (1.5 hour/session) over a 3-month intervention period
  • Each cancer patient has their own unique limitations to training and the student will learn to develop appropriately tailored exercise programs that will result in significant improvements in fitness while ensuring the safety of the patients.

For example, students may have to develop a program for a patient suffering from peripheral neuropathy and impaired balance. The student will learn to plan exercises that are safe (i.e., recumbent cycle vs. treadmill, or use of a harness on the treadmill) and plan exercises that will alleviate peripheral neuropathy symptoms (i.e., walking on inflatable balance and stability discs or spikey half balance rubber balls to stimulate plantar nerve endings while developing patient’s balance and proprioception). Students will be supervised to ensure they develop exercises that are not contraindicated for the patients (i.e., do not interfere with surgical clips or chemotherapy ports) and exercises that target musculoskeletal deficiencies (i.e., incorporating core strengthening exercises for patients who had surgical resection in the lower abdomen).

Students will also learn to identify potential side effects of prescribed medication that would affect exercise. For example, the heart rate of patients on beta-blockers will not increase with exercise intensity and therefore exercise intensity should be monitored with the Rate of Perceived Exertion Scale. Additionally, students will remain cognizant of the needs of the patients as they may suffer from psychological factors such as depression, low-esteem and poor body image.

  • Be prompt to each exercise session.

Sessions are held at REHAB Hospital of the Pacific
226 N Kuakini Street
Honolulu, HI 96817

  • Be respectful towards REHAB staff, patients, and visitors
  • Maintain professional appearance

Wear REHAB volunteer badge and ensure it is visible

  • Maintain accurate training records in client’s logbook
  • Abide by the policies and procedures outlined by REHAB and the UH Department of KRS

Intern Requirement

  • Enroll in KRS 488 (Practicum in Health and Exercise Science, 4 credits)
  • Completion of the prerequisite classes with a B- or higher (Exercise Physiology, Structural Kinesiology, and Weight Training, KRS 152, 353, 354).
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Recommendation by Da Houl, KRS undergraduate academic advisor.
  • Must complete background checks, immunizations and drug testing in accordance with REHAB procedures.

How to Apply for the Cancer Exercise Rehabilitation Internship

  1. Enroll in KRS 488 (Practicum in Health and Exercise Science)
  2. Complete and submit an internship application and your resume to Program Director, Dr. Paulette Yamada.
  3. Conduct in-person interview with Dr. Paulette Yamada.

Paulette Yamada, PhD
Assistant Professor
Kinesiology & Rehabilitation Science,
UH Manoa

Cheri Teranishi-Hashimoto, DPT, MSPT, MS
Assistant Manager Specialty Clinic at Nuuanu
Women’s Health & Cancer Rehabilitation Program Director
REHAB Hospital of the Pacific