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Medical School with Seven Children

OMS I Alexandra Friedman says her family 'energizes' her

January 24, 2017
Alexanda Friedman balances her medical school studies with a bustling family life.
Alexanda Friedman balances her medical school studies with a bustling family life.

Meet TouroCOM Middletown OMS I student Alexandra Friedman.

Friedman was pre-med at Virginia College of William and Mary. After graduating, she was set up with her husband Yosef through a matchmaker. The two settled in Monsey, NY, and Friedman decided she wanted to start a family before embarking on a career.

Fast-forward fifteen years and seven children later, Friedman decided to enter the workforce.

“I thought about more family-friendly jobs,” explained Friedman, noting the long hours required of doctors. “But I didn’t have a passion for them.”

Friedman reached out to a rabbi that was close to the family for counsel. The rabbi said that becoming a doctor was helping people, a mitzvah, or good deed, and that she should follow her dream, despite the sacrifices it might entail.

“After we got the go-ahead, we felt everything would be fine,” stated Friedman.

The next step was holding a family discussion with the couple’s seven children, aged between one and 17.

“We spoke about the fact that in med school I would be gone more,” she said. “Everyone would have more responsibilities, but when I was home over my breaks I would spend more time with the children. All the kids that were old enough to understand were on board with the plan. I also told them if they felt I was hurting the family, I would quit.”

Friedman enrolled in the TouroCOM Middletown Master of Science Program in Interdisciplinary Studies in Biological and Physical Sciences. She said that she thought about quitting during the orientation. During her first exam, she hoped she would pass. She got an A. 

“That gave me a lot of inspiration,” she said.

Friedman finished the program at the top of her class and enrolled as an OMS student in TouroCOM Middletown the following year.

Her favorite class is physiology. “I enjoy seeing how the whole body works together,” said Friedman. “I love learning about the beauty that God created.”

Having a large family has also turned out to be an unexpected benefit for medical school.

“I find my family to be energizing,” said Friedman. “When I get home, everyone runs up and gives me a hug. It’s a good break from medical school. I have eight people supporting me, not draining me.”

Friedman’s husband Yosef said the entire medical school experience has been “fantastic.”

“I want my kids to see their mother inspired,” he said. Despite the long hours of studying and classes his wife has, Yosef says that it seems like they have more quality time together.

Medical school has also provided other benefits for the family.

“We have wonderful kids that are learning to pitch in,” said Yosef. “It’s a great education for them.”

In December, Alexandra was awarded the $10,000 as the recipient of the 2017 Judith Wible, M.D., Scholarship for Visionary Women in Medicine. She said that she hopes to open an integrative family medicine clinic and help develop culturally sensitive programs for victims of sexual abuse.

On the announcement page of the award, a fellow TouroCOM Middletown student wrote:

“I am a student at the same school and have experienced the tremendous challenge of being mother and student,” wrote the commenter. “It is because of students like Alexandra that I am able to see the light at the end of tunnel. I know that if she can do it than I can too!”