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Howard Lee
Student Name:
Howard Lee
School attending:
Touro College
Why did you decide to become a PT/PTA?
Many people are surprised to find out that I did not know physical therapy existed until I was in my mid-twenties. I played a lot of sports and was frequently injured. A series of events in my life required me to take some time off from my old profession. At the time I was taking care of my mother who was battling cancer, but she encouraged me to spend time doing something for myself and suggested going back to school. I learned about physical therapy when a friend, an OT, asked me why I never became a physical therapist. She thought physical therapy was a perfect fit for me. After doing research I realized she was right and I decided to pursue physical therapy.

How do you think your background helps you as:
a.) A current student? Like many first generation children of any immigrant descent, my parents worked hard for low wages and never complained. I have them to thank for instilling a good work ethic and strong values in me that have helped me both as a person, a student, and hopefully as a future clinician.

b.) A future clinician? My parents and grandparents did not speak English, so like many first generation “ABCs” (American Born Chinese), I was bilingual in Chinese (Cantonese, Toisanese, and Mandarin) and English. Being bilingual will allow me to be more effective in treating patients that can only speak Chinese. This was the case during my first affiliation. I am culturally competent with those from my own ethnic background as well as those from many other cultures. I believe I owe this to my experience of being a minority who moved out of Chinatown at the age of 9, and then growing up in a predominantly Caucasian town. I was given the opportunity of adapting and immersing myself into so many different subcultures and having close friends from vastly different backgrounds. These experiences have helped mold me into a person that appreciates and understands the differences between cultures and individuals.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I would like to have my own practice. When I first entered my DPT program, I had my sights targeted on becoming a great physical therapist that specialized in sports, orthopedics, and performance. However, having been given the opportunity to work with so many different age populations with a variety of conditions, I truly would like to work with all populations in an outpatient setting. I see myself taking a more active role promoting the field of physical therapy in different organizations and through my website at I would also take a more active role in volunteering as I do now for the Spinal Mobility program through the Wheeling Forward Organization. I’d love to teach as well.
What is your ultimate goal as a PT/PTA?
This may sound cliché, but my ultimate goal would be to help as many people as I can live pain free and healthy lives.
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