Touro’s Lander College for Men
School of Health Sciences of Touro College
Growing up with a parent with a disability, Yaakov Friedman witnessed from a young age the transformative power of a good physical therapist. This had a profound effect on Yaakov and led to his initial interest in physical therapy (PT). A love of biology and anatomy and a passion for fitness confirmed PT was the professional path he would follow.
“The relationships you build with people while helping them along their journey of recovery is one of my favorite things about physical therapy. Particularly with older adults, I get to learn so much about people’s life experiences,” Yaakov says, explaining his appreciation of the field. “I’d like to have a practice one day that serves older adults with excellence as well as becomes involved in educating people and the community about how to mitigate and prevent some of the things we think of as inevitable when we get older. I’d also like to teach geriatrics in PT school.”
Yaakov began at Touro as an undergrad at Lander College for Men, initially choosing the school for its strong Jewish values. As a student, he valued the sense of community, small class sizes and affordability, in addition to the school calendar that followed the Jewish holiday schedule. “Touro offers an accelerated program that allowed me to begin PT school earlier. There were also extremely caring professors who instilled a sense of doing the right thing and going above and beyond the norm. I continue to have relationships with some to this day. It prepared me well,” he said.
Having recently completed a year-long residency program specializing in geriatrics, Yaakov has a greater understanding of the needs of this special population. “This is a group that can really benefit from PT and is often poorly served. There are so many health issues that patients are told are just natural parts of aging when we have good evidence for helpful interventions to mitigate future issues,” he said.
In addition to his interest in geriatrics, Yaakov also wants to help people struggling with chronic pain. “Pain is another area I have a strong clinical interest in. So many people do not need to suffer if they can find the right treatment options,” he explains of his future goals as a physical therapist.