Physical Therapist by Day, High School Biology Teacher by (Almost) Night

Lander College of Arts and Sciences and School of Health Sciences Alumna Sara Feigenbaum Found Her Calling in Two Careers

May 19, 2022
Sara Feigenbaum posing outside medical practice building
Touro alum Dr. Feigenbaum

“Sometimes I have to pinch myself,” laughed Dr. Feigenbaum, a graduate of Touro’s Lander College of Arts and Sciences (LAS) and Touro’s School of Health Sciences Doctorate of Physical Therapy program (DPT). “I’m teaching biology and I have my own practice. I’m doing two things I love.”

Dr. Feigenbaum’s journey to successful PT and bio teacher began as she graduated from Reenas Bais Yaakov in Highland Park. It wasn’t a question which college she would attend.

“I knew I was going to Touro,” said Dr. Feigenbaum who has nothing but praise for the experience. “The decision was a no-brainer. Touro was the only place that would uphold my religious standards while providing a high-level education. And I was right! It was a wonderful experience. I made so many friends that I’m still in touch with, and I loved my professors. They were an amazing bunch of educators.”

Nursing a love of the hard sciences that she had since she was a child, Dr. Feigenbaum majored in biology. “I always loved bio.” she said. “The biology classes in Touro were fascinating, especially genetics. I also loved chemistry and organic chemistry—it was quite challenging, but we had a great professor, Dr. Evan Mintzer.”

While she considered medical school, Dr. Feigenbaum realized that a doctor’s life wouldn’t give her the time she wanted with her family. She chose instead to become a physical therapist since she felt it was the therapy with the strongest connection to the biological sciences. While she applied to several physical therapy graduate programs, she decided that Touro’s SHS DPT program was the best fit.

Sara Feigenbaum next to bed in her exam room

“I realize that if I attended Touro I wouldn’t have to miss classes because of Shabbos or the holidays,” said Dr. Feigenbaum. “I wouldn’t have to make up classes or run out to make it home in time on Friday afternoon.” Plus, she added, the close coterie of friends she made at LAS were also going.

“We were inseparable in graduate school,” Dr. Feigenbaum related. “We studied together and supported each other through the challenges and joys of building families while in school full time. We worked hard-and had a lot of fun while we were at it. I can’t imagine having gone anywhere else.”

Dr. Feigenbaum is still in touch with some of her professors like Dr. Yocheved Bensinger-Brody and Dr. Jill Horbacewicz.

Dr. Feigenbaum had four internships, one with the Hospital of Staten Island, one with Richmond University Medical Center, and two at orthopedic clinics—the second of which offered her a job as soon as she graduated. “I learned so much,” she said.

Dr. Feigenbaum recalled her graduation in 2017 with mixed emotions. “It was bittersweet,” she said. “I still miss my classmates and my professors and the support we gave each other, but I was excited about getting into the field.”

In 2019, Dr. Feigenbaum took an extended maternity leave for her third child and decided she needed her “biology fix.”

“I’ve always enjoyed teaching.” she explained. “I took off a year to teach biology in Reenas Bais Yaakov, and I loved it. Replicating the positive experience I had in high school biology for my students is a privilege for me. I showed my students what I love about biology in the hopes that it inspires them as well.”

The following year, while continuing to teach biology in the afternoon, Dr. Feigenbaum opened her own physical therapy practice, Orchid Physical Therapy, specializing in women’s health.

“I see women of all ages,” said Dr. Feigenbaum. “Physical therapy catering solely to women is a relatively new field; we deal with issues like incontinence and pelvic pain, which are incredibly important but not talked about as much as other physical therapy issues. When you’re able to help your patients with these issues, it gives them a new lease on life.”

She relies on the training she received at SHS as well as extensive continuing education courses as she treats her patients.

“Listen to your patients,” advised Dr. Feigenbaum. “Weave their story together with your objective findings to create an individualized plan of care. Make the biopsychosocial approach your own by seeing the patient as a whole and making them whole again.”