The Best Comes to Those Who Wait(list)

After Finally Making it to Touro's School of Health Science, Dan Rootenberg Never Looked Back

July 15, 2015

Dan Rootenberg would like to extend his heartfelt thanks to that anonymous student who didn’t make it to class to begin Touro’s Master of Science in Physical Therapy program. “I had been waitlisted and got a phone call at 10 am, after the first anatomy class when someone failed to show up for school,” says Rootenberg, who graduated in 1997. “That was how I got in, missing the first class.”

He never looked back. “I loved the school and professors and I made lifelong friends, in the process of getting my degree,” says Rootenberg. “Though I always felt—incorrectly—if I hadn’t missed the first anatomy lecture that tough class would have been a cinch.”

Rootenberg makes it all look so easy. In 1999, he co-founded SPEAR Physical Therapy Centers with a fellow Touro grad, David Endres, which this year will grow to seven locations throughout Manhattan. “It’s a dream come true to go to work every day doing something that I love,” he says. “I equally enjoy developing the leadership and management skills of therapists. I didn’t expect to enjoy the business side of things as much as treating patients, but I do.”

SPEAR has received countless honors and awards, including, being named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies three out of the last four years, and the recipient of Columbia University’s Award for Leadership in Clinical Education, one of only three private practices ever to have been chosen. 

Rootenberg remains indebted to Touro and to the no-show student. “I hope he or she never needs physical therapy,” he says. “But if he does, SPEAR is here.”