Eitan Glucksman often wakes up at 4:30 am, putting in 15-hour days as a first-year urology resident at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla. The father of two has a grueling schedule but says he feels lucky: He’s one of only two urology residents admitted per year to the hospital, which is affiliated with New York Medical College, part of the Touro College and University System.
“This is a field where you can really make a difference,” said Glucksman, 27, an Orthodox native of Clifton, NJ, who spends his days treating everything from prostate cancer and bladder problems to kidney stones and urinary tract infections.
Aaron Kattan, 26, of Great Neck, enrolled in Touro’s Lander College for Men after studying for a time at a yeshiva in Israel. It was at Touro that he decided he wanted to work in physical therapy. Touro connected Kattan, then a science major, to two alumni who were physical therapists.
“I started working with them, loved the work they were doing and knew it was for me,” he said.
Staying within the Touro system, Kattan fast-tracked his career.
“I just took all my prerequisites while at Lander, and went directly to PT school without having to first receive an undergraduate degree,” he said. “That saved me two years.”
After graduating last year with two degrees — a bachelor of science and a doctor of physical therapy — Kattan now works at the Hebrew Academy for Special Children in Borough Park helping kids with cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome and other genetic disorders. He also works at Forward PT, an outpatient clinic in Flatbush.
Glucksman and Kattan are among current and former Touro students who have taken advantage of the educational ecosystem Touro offers to fast-track their path from high school to a degree in medicine or other health sciences. In many cases, students are able to fulfill their bachelor’s degree requirements while simultaneously doing graduate programs, saving years and thousands of dollars.
More than 7,000 of the 18,000 students in 34 schools in Touro’s worldwide network are pursuing careers in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and other health fields, and many of them reached their careers as physician assistants, doctors, nurses, speech pathologists or physical and occupational therapists faster than possible through traditional routes at other schools.
“We offer our undergraduates a liberal arts core, but we also make sure people are prepared for the job market,” said Dr. Alan Kadish, president of Touro and a cardiologist by training. “That heavy emphasis on health sciences was part of Touro’s strategy when they hired me. You can start your undergraduate studies with us and end up with an exciting professional career.”
Sarah Laks, 24, a first-year dental student from North Miami Beach, stayed with Touro from college through her professional training.
Laks has a special connection to Touro: Her father, Arthur, was part of Touro College’s first graduating class 46 years ago. All four of her older siblings went there, too.
At Lander College for Women, Laks began shadowing dentists in various specialties. She graduated with an honors biology degree, worked for her alma mater’s dean for a year and then started at Touro College of Dental Medicine, which just graduated its inaugural class. It’s the first new dental school in New York to open in 40 years.
Amid the pandemic this spring, the dentistry program, along with all of Touro’s other programs, went online.
“Since the advent of COVID-19, we have not missed one class,” Kadish said. “We have successfully transitioned nearly 3,000 classes, including labs, to an online environment.”
Despite the economic downturn that has accompanied the pandemic, health care remains one of the nation’s fastest-growing and most employable professions.
“Our med school graduates are receiving outstanding residencies, and our health science students are experiencing 100 percent employment,” Kadish said. “Providers look for Touro grads because they are highly trained and represent quality and integrity.”