Bath Beach Resident Dr. Steve Vouyiouklis is Lauded for Achievement in Healthcare
From Patient to Care Giver - A Life-Changing Event Leads Touro Grad to a Doctorate in Physical Therapy and the Prestigious Maimonides Award
New York, N.Y. – After three years of hard work, Touro College graduate Steve Vouyiouklis earned his degree as a Doctor of Physical Therapy.
At commencement this fall, he received the prestigious Maimonides Award from Touro College School of Health Sciences for demonstrating the highest professional ideals of a health sciences practitioner. But his journey to the physical therapy profession had in fact begun years earlier− as a patient who experienced firsthand the kind of quality health care he now delivers to others.
When Vouyiouklis was a teenager, he was in a serious bicycle accident that set him back physically and emotionally. “Being a teenager is challenging,” he said. “Being a teenager with scars on his face and body, physical impairments, and pain, well, let’s just say that's a bit more challenging.”
After several weeks in the hospital, he started physical therapy which proved a positive experience, one that would profoundly affect his future. “I learned then that PT was blending medicine with exercises and helping individuals feel and move better. I never felt like I was just a ‘patient.’ My therapist got to know who I was as a person, not just why I was there to see him,” he said.
He began helping out at the clinic, and was eventually offered a job there. “After meeting several physical therapists from different backgrounds and training, the ones from Touro College really stood out to me. And it wasn't just one therapist, but all of those from Touro seemed to have that ‘x-factor.’ They knew what they were doing, were good at it, and were all very easy going. That's what honestly drove my desire to enroll there.”
Before coming to Touro, Vouyiouklis received an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Hunter College, worked at New York Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy, and was a personal trainer for 15 years. As a physical therapist today, he feels he successfully combines all his areas of experience, to help patients with their ailments and get them to a better overall physical and mental state. “If you move better and are pain free,” he said, “you feel more confident and that helps with the overall morale of the individual.”
At Touro, Vouyiouklis completed rounds at Coney Island Medical Center, Staten Island Physical Therapy, and Aspire Center for Health and Wellness, where he was trained in treating orthopedic and neurological conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and spinal cord injuries. He also worked in Greece, where his parents were born, as a teaching assistant for a course in neurological assessment and evaluation. In January, he will begin working with Touro College Professor, Dr. Chad Woodard, at his new clinic, Symbio Physiotherapy, which he also worked at during rounds.
Steve’s advisor at Touro, Dr. Shira Schecter Weiner, Associate Professor of Physical Therapy at Touro College, said he is a deserving recipient of the Maimonides Award.
“In addition to being bright and inquisitive, Steve demonstrated the kindness, empathy, and compassion necessary to succeed as a health care provider. He recognizes and validates the uniqueness of each person with whom he interacts, including his teachers, classmates, patients and other health care providers. It was an honor and a privilege to interact with Steve, both in and out of the classroom,” said Prof. Weiner.
Steve said the single most important piece of advice he would give incoming PT students would be to take every class seriously. “Don't study for the sake of passing an exam and getting a good grade,” he said. “Study to know and own the material. This is the stuff you’ll need for the rest of your professional career. It'll make you a better clinician. Who knows whose life you'll be able to effect?”
For more information about Touro College School of Health Sciences visit: shs.touro.edu
About the Touro College and University System
Touro is a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American and global community. Approximately 18,000 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro College has 29 branch campuses, locations and instructional sites in the New York area, as well as branch campuses and programs in Berlin, Jerusalem and Moscow. New York Medical College; Touro University California and its Nevada branch campus; Touro University Worldwide and its Touro College Los Angeles division; as well as Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Ill. are separately accredited institutions within the Touro College and University System. For further information on Touro College, please go to: http://www.touro.edu/news/