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Todd is one in 61,000

By Julie Shapiro, Writer

In his crisp button-down shirt and sparkling white lab coat, Todd Goldstein, PhD, looks every bit the medical researcher employed by the largest healthcare system in New York. But when vacation time rolls around, Todd trades in his oxfords for hiking boots and a helmet to let loose in some intense ways.

“I started traveling after college. I had graduated and didn’t know what the next step should be, so I took a year off to figure it out.”

And what a monumental year it was.

Todd spent several months traveling throughout Europe and the Middle East - Israel, Budapest, Prague, Berlin, Dublin, Amsterdam, Brussels, Italy and Latvia - with two friends. He found the different cultures interesting, but rather than focusing on tasting the local cuisines and buying kitschy gifts for his mom, Todd found extreme tourism to be more his speed - machine gun training in the West Bank, cliff diving in the Golan Heights, spelunking in the Mátyáshegyi Caves of Budapest - Todd and his friends didn’t miss a beat. And these were not well-known, well-vetted establishments that hosted their expeditions. “We weren’t doing Yelp searches or anything. We would just look at each other and say, ‘Yeah, let’s do this.’ Looking back, it was probably a little reckless. All part of the adventure, I guess.”

One time in Israel, Todd and his friends were off-roading in the desert and took a wrong turn somewhere that brought them very close to the Syrian border. So close, in fact, that his GPS showed him as actually being in Syria…a screen shot of which he immediately sent to his poor mother back home. “Yeah, I got a phone call pretty quickly after that one.”

Todd’s taste for the extreme remains to this day, though his destinations tend to be closer to home. And he makes a point of finding reputable companies to lead his adventures, which makes his parents happy. He and his friends recently went to drive NASCAR race cars at 170 miles per hour in Vegas. “Our next trip will probably be rock climbing in Colorado or Utah. We’re still figuring out the details.” He and his friends are not just idling, though. They recently threw themselves out of a plane so we could record the experience for this story (see video below).

To keep his adrenaline pumping between destinations, Todd works as a firefighter and EMT with his local fire department, where he has been a volunteer since he was 17. “It’s exciting, it’s hands on, and I get to do some good in the world.”

Todd’s time spent pushing limits on vacations and saving lives with the Roslyn Highlands Fire Department is limited these days, due to his new celebrity status as the face of Northwell Health’s most recent 3D printing venture – an amphibious prosthetic leg for a veteran amputee. Todd’s design has already changed one man’s life, and is poised to change many more. “It feels pretty good to have been a part of something that can help so many people,” he says with a smile.

Interested in joining the 61,000? Learn more about careers at Northwell Health.