Meet Sirawar Matin, Sparkplug

Matin headshot.

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) student Sirawar Matin is a sparkplug. Born to Bangladeshi immigrants and a New Jersey native, he moved to Buffalo in 2019 and has a bubbling enthusiasm for building his physical therapy career here, especially in his community.

Why Buffalo?

Buffalo is cold, but the people are warm. I came to Buffalo because of its low cost of living. But the reason I hope to stay is because of the innovation happening all around us, especially the startup scene, which I’ve been very involved in since I got here.

My best friend and I took entrepreneurship as a minor and received $1,500 to start a business. We had a novel idea of kids’ slippers that had detachable soles as cleaning tools and phone-connected chips that helped kids learn while they moved. We won a bunch of pitch competitions, and the experience exposed us to actual entrepreneurship. This helped me transition to Buffalo, where I got the opportunity to serve as a senior venture coach at UB’s Blackstone LaunchPad, the center for entrepreneurship on campus.

Why did you decide to get a PT degree?

I had been pre-med and took all the required courses, but physical therapy was always in the back of my mind. I finally chose the DPT program because I saw a lack of representation in the field; about 80 to 85 percent of PTs are white or Caucasian. I’ve only met a handful of other brown PT students and professionals, so I know I can have an impact. I want to contribute to my community on an individual and physical level. I want to know, hear, and understand them.

Also, UB has so many resources as an R1 research institution. You can have academic, extracurricular and interprofessional experiences. It really is all here. 

What’s your novel idea?

I’m passionate about the East Side of Buffalo where I live; there is a big South Asian community there, and access to care is limited. I’ve always had a dream and want to validate the idea of building my own clinic and make physical therapy accessible. There’s only one clinic in the entire East Side, which motivated me to acquire a corner lot nestled between two mosques in the heart of the community where I hope to start making an impact.

I hope to develop a proof of concept and see how the numbers can work to better serve this demographic. I’m a Western New York Prosperity Fellow, and I’ve been fortunate to get advice from business leaders. For instance, getting guidance from developers and hearing about businesses using big storage-like units for space, so that could be a possibility. 

Why is physical therapy an important profession?

As a society, we’ve learned that movement is the key to living a healthy life, and PTs are movement specialists. We’re learning more holistic methods to address movement issues and common impairments, and PTs are the people to do that. South Asians are very stoic; they hear the word therapy and they run away. I want to break those barriers