Fixing the World Around Us
Dr. Risa Siegel (’11) Puts Her Beliefs into Action
Dr. Risa Siegel has a simple answer as to why she became a doctor: Tikkun Olam.
“Part of being Jewish is the idea of Tikkun Olam,” said Siegel, a member of TouroCOM’s first graduating class. “It means fixing the world. That value has always been instilled in me: we have to help those in our community who are struggling, whether it’s a health struggle, a mental health struggle, or whether it’s just helping them through a tough day.”
Siegel graduated Columbia and then attended the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Afterwards, she worked for three years in biomedical research, but said she felt a calling to become a medical practitioner. After living in Harlem for six years, Siegel concluded that her end-goal of serving the underserved coincided with a new osteopathic medical school in the neighborhood.
“All of our faculty members wanted us to succeed and we did,” she said. “I’m still in touch with members of the faculty.”
After doing her family medicine residency in Milwaukee, she moved to Minneapolis, MN, an area with a large urban and immigrant population. Each day, she puts her beliefs into practice.
“Part of having the clinic in this area is to serve the underserved and to serve the people who don’t have the best access to care,” Siegel explained. “I feel like I’m serving the community that Touro wanted me to serve.”
“I want to help prevent disease. That’s my passion,” she continued. “When I see a patient, my role is not to dictate what they must do; it’s to educate them and help them make informed decisions. TouroCOM gave me the foundation to be a compassionate doctor.”