Asafu Owosu ’91 said, “The support of General Studies Learning Community was helpful. Any one-on-one is great for personal growth.”

By Kedene McLeod

easing-pain-xrayLooking back on his General Studies Learning Community (GS) experience, Asafu Owosu ’91 said, “The support of General Studies Learning Community was helpful. Any one-on-one is great for personal growth.”

Now, Mr. Owosu—as senior physical therapist at New York Methodist Hospital in Park Slope, Brooklyn, as well as at its Metro SportsMed unit—is helping others with one-on-one care.

The most common cases that flow through his office at the Metro SportsMed physical and occupational therapy unit involve sports-related injuries, lower back pain and knee issues, usually caused by arthritis. Mr. Owosu also serves as pediatric physical therapist at Metro SportsMed—where his website bio includes this: “Often heard saying, ‘The therapist offers his hands not just to the child but to the family.’”

Well before his career of helping young people cope with various conditions, however, Mr. Owosu had to overcome some obstacles of his own along the way.

Prior to graduating from Adelphi in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in African American studies, he was known as Patrick Malcolm. A young man born and raised in Connecticut, with visions of personal excellence and growth, he realized that to reach his academic goals, he needed to take his studies into his own hands and set realistic goals that he could meet over time.

Keeping in mind that high school was a place of anxiety because of his workload and the inflexibility of his academic schedule, Mr. Owosu entered Adelphi’s GS program, which he saw as a tool to help set the pace for his goal of graduating with a bachelor’s degree.

“I knew what kind of student I was. I couldn’t take chemistry and biology in a short amount of time,” he said, adding that it took him six years to get a four-year degree. He then went on to earn a B.S./M.S. in Physical Therapy in 2000 from Long Island University, Brooklyn, and then became a physical therapist with the New York City Department of Education—the start of his 20-plus years in the healthcare field.

After Mr. Owosu completed the GS program and decided to become a physical therapist, he recalled being told by the adults around him, regardless of race, that the odds were against him because, as a black man, he could never become a physical therapist. That led him to want to know more of himself in hopes of attaining more, so he took courses on African, Black and Caribbean studies at Adelphi.

“The more I know about my past, the more I know about myself,” Mr. Owosu explained. That experience inspired him to change his moniker to a more Afrocentric name, one that solidified his interest in being culturally aware and centered.

This piece appeared in the Spring 2013 Issue of the General Studies Learning Community Newsletter.

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