Q&A With Avi Golden, Paramedic and Speech Language Pathologist

In early June 2007, at 33 years of age, Avi Golden was admitted to Columbia Hospital in New York for surgery on an mitral valve prolapse (MVP) repair that was discovered near the aortic valve in his heart. During the surgery, Avi experienced a stroke on the left side of his brain, leaving him with right-sided paralysis, and profound aphasia, which proceeded to wreak havoc with his life. Since 2009, Avi has volunteered his time at the Adler Aphasia Center, where he participates in the educational training of medical residents, medical students and other health care professionals who are preparing for a career in a medical field. He is eager to help others in need and devoted to his job as a paramedic. Additionally, he would like to expand on his aphasia awareness efforts by becoming a “motivational speaker” to hospitalized patients in the North Shore – Long Island Jewish Hospital system.

How did you get started in accessibility?

I was going to go to medical school before I went into surgery, but in surgery I had a stroke resulting in aphasia. Now, I speak about EMS, or the hospital, or people who have a disability. I speak about aphasia or disability sports.

You started the NYC Outdoors Disability Group, a community where people with different disabilities come together to enjoy travel, sports, and outdoor adventures.  How do these activities benefit individuals with aphasia?

People with aphasia come and have a good time with different sports from around the world.

What is an accessibility barrier that you would like to see solved?

Aphasia.

I was going to go to medical school before I went into surgery, but in surgery I had a stroke resulting in aphasia.

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