Martha Martin Perez,MAEd, CEHS 2015
In the bilingual 4th grade classroom of Martha Martin Perez, MAEd, native Spanish and English speaking students learn side-by-side in an environment where they’re encouraged to take risks and make mistakes in speaking another language.
“It really improves the students’ sense of identity and self-worth to realize that their global bilingual perspective is valued,” says Ms. Martin Perez. “We don’t operate on a deficit model. Instead, we’re honoring the whole child.”
Like many of those in her classroom, Ms. Martin Perez is herself a 1st generation Latina who grew up in St. Helena after her parents emigrated from Mexico. At a young age, she was inspired by her family to follow education as a pathway to opportunity—a heritage that she sees carried on today in her students.
Having taught at Napa Valley Language Academy for 17 years, Ms. Martin Perez strives to strengthen that cultural bond, just like the mentors along her path in education did for her. And it was the support of programs like Graduate School of Education’s partnership with Napa Learns that made it possible for her to pursue her MA.Ed. in Innovative Learning, a program designed to cultivate provocative methods to close achievement gaps as well as promote social justice and equity.
But building a healthy learning environment takes work, both in and out of the classroom.
“If you look at the data, it shows that systems in place hinder English language learners equitable access to academic language, rigorous curriculum, and advancement opportunities." she said. “They’re our kids, and it’s up to us to advocate and change their trajectory along with empowerment, leadership, and capacity building among our teachers, parents, and the community.”
Some of her students come in need of support, carrying with them grade level issues or personal trauma. Raising them to parity with their peers involves embracing them, but pushing them forward, giving them something towards which to aspire.
“I believe in my kids and hold them to the highest regard. There’s no need to water things down,” Ms. Martin Perez stressed. “They have to trust that you have their best intent in mind. And to take risks, they have to be in a safe place where they know their peers. Otherwise they’ll prove the data correct and not continue academic discourse.”
This Fall, the alumna from the Graduate School of Education moved to New York City to serve as the Director of Special Projects in NYC Department of Education. There, as she also pursues her doctorate, Ms. Martin Perez’s scope will span to supporting 700,000 English language learners.
“When I hear teachers say, ‘Oh, my English learner students can’t do that,’ I say, ‘Well, I was an EL. I’m living proof,’” she reflected.
In the week following the devastation of the Camp Fire, Christina Skaggs, PA-C, MPH, and Class of 2012 returned to Feather River Hospital in Paradise to see what remained of her now former place of work. Although the hospital still stood, burn damage had left it in need of year-long repair. She recovered stethoscopes and photos from her coworkers’ lockers as her fellow search and rescue captain decommissioned the hospital’s MRI magnet.
“The emergency room was a mess,” recalled Ms. Skaggs, an ER PA. “Gurneys were everywhere, chairs and bassinets piled up in the hallways, making them impassable. And everything was left covered in ash.”
During the emergency, Feather River Hospital was able to fully evacuate in 19 minutes, getting out caregivers and patients, including a woman who had just received a caesarian section. But now it was eerily still, according to Ms. Skaggs, with only firefighters and cleanup crews outside to bring life to the scene.
A Butte County Search and Rescue volunteer, Ms. Skaggs and her husband volunteered to go house by house to check for human remains. Their task was to sift through the specific parts of homes where remains were most likely to be found.
“The goal is to clear as many houses as we can so that people aren’t finding their loved ones themselves,” stressed Ms. Skaggs.
They wore respirators and full body, sterile “bunny” suits. Each time they returned, they would have to go through decontamination, showering and scrubbing off their boots. They risked exposure to dangerous chemicals alongside the hazards of stepping on nails and jagged debris or falling into burnt through septic tanks.
Along the way, they found animals in need of rescue—goats, donkeys, horses, chickens, and cats—some in urgent need of medical attention.
“It’s been a really heavy time, and the days have run together,” said Ms. Skaggs. “Paradise was a major retirement community. Our average patient in the hospital is over 70, and we’d see people up to 102. Many of those who didn’t survive just weren’t able to physically get out. It’s really sad.”
Joy Dugan, PA-C, MPH, faculty member at TUC and Army National Guard member deployed to Neighborhood Church Shelter in Chico to provide around the clock patient care to the 170 victims who had lost their homes. Many who had prior lung problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) suffered from the smoke inhalation, and due to the crowded shelters, about 15 patients had to be hospitalized for pneumonia.
Many victims living at the shelter contracted norovirus, an illness conditioned by poor handwashing and living in close quarters. Others had no idea what medication they had been taking. Ms. Dugan and her team worked to coordinate with pharmacies in the area, but some of those facilities were now gone.
“The work has really just begun,” stressed Ms. Dugan, Class of 2012. “Early in the disaster, they need financial support for things like food and blankets. But as the timeline extends, that’s when they are really in need of help to get back on their feet, and it’s often not there.”
Still, both of the TUC Alumni volunteers were able to pause and celebrate Thanksgiving, getting a chance to decompress, hug, and be thankful for each other.
Ms. Skaggs reflected, “I’m so happy with the people on my team. I only joined in May, and it’s the best decision I’ve made in my life.”
Receiving the maximum amount of years that can be accredited to a new program, TUC’s Doctorate of Nursing Practice program has been officially accredited through 2023 by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The Doctorate Program designed for working nurses is delivered in an accelerated format—half online, half in person—that allows students to graduate in about a third of the time it takes to complete a traditional program.
“We’re thrilled at the five-year accreditation news,” said Dr. Ann Stoltz, Director of the School of Nursing, “Our hybrid program is specifically designed so a working nurse can complete the program in only 18 months. With the accreditation, CCNE lets future doctorate students know our nursing program meets quality standards recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.”
With the full accreditation of the program, the first DNP graduates can now sit for licensure, which will enable them to work as Family Nurse Practitioners who treat their patients one-on-one in the fields of primary care.
TUC began the accreditation process in December 2016 with a scheduled CCNE site visit in March 2018. CCNE visitors spent time visiting with faculty, students, alumni, administrators and TUC support services and determined the program meets all standards with no areas of non-compliance.
Each year, the School of Nursing also awards six $5,000 scholarships that are made possible by Travis Credit Union and NorthBay Healthcare to students who are members and employees of both respectively.
“This is a tremendous validation of the value of our program and follows on the graduation of our first DNP graduates last spring,” said Provost and CAO Dr. Sarah Sweitzer. “I’d like to congratulate our nursing leadership and faculty as well as our pioneering class of DNP students for all their hard work!”
Touro Student Organizations are preparing to conclude another successful year! Students have continued to put Touro on the map with community events such as the Teen Life Conference, the Bay Area Emergency Medicine Symposium, the upcoming, first-ever, Integrative Medicine Symposium, and many more. As we approach the end of 2018, our student leaders begin the search for their successors. The SGA would like to encourage any first-year students interested in becoming involved in leading a student organization to reach out to the current leadership. Names and contact information can be found on the TUStudentLife.com website under each club’s page.
Once a week at Oak Hill School in San Anselmo, Kim Wolf, DO, Assistant Professor of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM), provides Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment to students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). What began in July as a small pilot has expanded with the hope of determining whether OMM leads to early signs of improvement for those with ASD. So far, what they’ve seen has been encouraging.
For participants like Matthew, activities like crossing the street or maintaining eye contact demand extra effort for the young teen due to the bent curvature of his spine and his diagnosis of ASD.
“For the past two years, Matthew was regressing and losing skills, and we couldn’t figure out why,” stressed his mother, Denise. “He was becoming more and more locked into his own world, talking to himself and it was getting progressively worse.”
With the loud noises that Matthew would make, his family had stopped going out to dinner or taking neighborhood walks.
“When I met Matthew, he was performing a lot of what is called stimming, which is the repetition of physical movements, sounds, or words often to help the person feel at ease,” recalled Dr. Wolf, a pediatrician by training. “His comfort activity was to quickly flip through DVDs. But it’s been several months since I’ve seen him bring them out.”
Each session, Matthew would bring Dr. Wolf to a spot on the school grounds where he felt comfortable enough to lie down for OMM. The treatment he receives involves using manual manipulation on various regions of the body, working to improve things like his poor posture, which obstructs Matthew’s vision and impedes his ability to engage with the world. Other regions targeted were chosen to improve neurologic and immune function. Today, Matthew is reading and answering questions, and his gait has improved. He is much more interactive.
“He regained who he was,” said his mother. “He’s not talking to himself anymore, and he’s able to do basic academics again. We have our life back.”
The project has been an ongoing collaboration between doctors from the College of Osteopathic Medicine, Oak Hill School, and the participants’ parents and is headed by Robert Hendren, DO, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at UCSF.
For Dr. Wolf, who has applied a standard protocol of eight different OMM techniques plus a few minutes to treat the unique dysfunctions or needs of each patient in this pilot, she’s noticed improvement in each patients’ somatic dysfunction as well as changes in social behavior, posture, and anxiety levels.
Months in, the positive response of the participants has encouraged the group to expand treatment from two to six children. Dr. Hendren, who is also Chairman of the Board at Oak Hill, intends to leave no stone unturned when it comes to how ASD can be treated.
“One student at the school recently asked if he could be in the study too,” said Dr. Hendren. “It’s interesting to see that the students are talking to each other about it.”
With a program mission to prepare Physician Assistants (PAs) to increase access to care for underserved populations, the Joint MSPAS/MPH Program is proud to have two of its students as this year’s Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) Student Health Policy Fellows.
“I was very excited to learn that both Veronica and Jazmine were selected,” said Grace Landel, PA-C, MAEd, Director of the Joint MSPAS/MPH Program. “They are our second PAEA cohort, and I see both of them as future leaders of the profession who are going to make a big difference in their communities.”
The only two of 14 fellows nationwide to hail from California, Veronica Padilla, Class of 2019, and Jazmine Mayfield, Class of 2020, were chosen to advocate for PA legislation on Capitol Hill at the offices of Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.
“I only heard about PAs after college, and I would have pursued it from the beginning if I knew about it earlier,” said Ms. Mayfield. “I love that it addresses the shortage of primary care provider and that we work collaboratively in a team to make sure that patients get the best care.”
Padilla and Mayfield advocated for a bill that would bring the Stafford loan limit for PA students to parity with physician and nursing students, adjusting limits that were set before the PA profession began over 50 years ago.
“We were not included when those bills were passed because the PA field is so new,” stressed Mayfield.
HR 1603 and 1605 (bills introduced by Karen Bass of California, who is the first PA to serve in the House of Representatives) are also designed to support the PA profession and its impact in the community by increasing incentives for preceptors to train PA students and proposing grants to historically black and Hispanic serving institutions.
Padilla and Mayfield met with staffers who showed keen interest in bringing the bill to the senators’ attention.
“Research shows that the biggest predictor of a student working in an underserved community is their level of exposure to it during clinical rotations,” said Ms. Padilla. “It is vital that we get students to rotate to these communities so they can experience it firsthand.”
The historic Farragut Inn Ballroom was bustling with dignitaries and company leaders on the evening of November 15th in celebration of Touro University California’s inaugural Community Lamplighter Awards. The university, which was founded under Jewish Auspices in 1997, sought to recognize those in the community who have been steadfast in showing the way for others, honoring them with the epithet lamplighter.
THE 2018 LAMPLIGHTER AWARD RECIPIENTS
SOCIAL JUSTICE ADVOCACY
BERNARD LANDER ALUMNI HONOREE
TOURO BULL AWARD
“In Jewish tradition, lamplighters are pillars of the community,” said CEO and Senior Provost, Shelley Berkley. “Each recipient has been nominated by their peers and reviewed with careful deliberation by our selection committee. We are incredibly proud to be able to honor them.”
Proceeds from the evening went to support diversity student scholarships.
Keynote Speaker for the evening, Xavier Becerra, California Attorney General, congratulated the awardees and praised the event’s attendees for supporting the students of Touro University California and their efforts to strengthen and improve California.
The Lamplighter Awards were founded to honor those in the community who have carried the torch in the areas of health, education, community mobilization, and social justice. The awards were presented by Ms. Berkley and Provost and CAO, Dr. Sarah Sweitzer.
The evening’s supporters included Lamplighter Tier donors California Bank & Trust, Kaiser Permanente, and PG&E; Gold Tier donors NorthBay Healthcare, Sutter Health, Medic Ambulance, Dignity Health, and Skyview Memorial Lawn; Silver Tier donors APAPA, Mazel Foods Inc., Jelly Belly Candy Company, MuriGenics, and Robby Poblete Foundation; and Bronze Tier donors Allied Universal, Republic Services, Monarch Engineers, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, COM, and CEHS.
View the album on Facebook!
January 6th, 2019
Touro University California will be hosting an Integrative Medicine Symposium on Sunday, January 6th, 2019. This event offers an educational experience for anyone interested in learning about multidisciplinary approaches in integrative practices and self-healing tools driving the future of medicine.
Lectures on the microbiome and metabolic syndrome, integrative medicine for the underserved, and psychedelic use in mental health care are available for all attendees.
There are three learning tracks to choose from, depending on your desired focus. Two tracks focus on modalities that can be incorporated immediately into the practice of current and future healthcare practitioners. The other track offers techniques for anyone wanting to feel more energized, engaged, and balanced in their everyday lives or empower themselves in their healing process.
- Integrative Care Track: diagnosing complex chronic disease, holistic pain management therapies, wellness coaching
- OMM Track: Intro to osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) and OMT for stress (for MDs, DOs, and MD and DO students)
- Everyday Wellness Track: integrative nutrition for the body, mind and soul; mindfulness & optimal well-being; tips for thriving in everyday life
For clinicians, we are offering 6 Continuing Medical Education credits (AOA 1-A and AMA PRA) for the OMM and Integrative Care tracks. Tickets are $25 and $80 for CME credit. Details on specific keynote speeches and tracks and tickets can be found on our webpage. Please e-mail email@example.com for any questions.
TUC is located in Solano County, which is medically underserved with prevalent health disparities. The mission of TUC is to educate caring professionals to serve, to lead, and to teach, which is embodied by our partnerships within the Vallejo community, Solano County, and neighboring NorthBay communities. Our students mentor high school students and help them pursue careers in health and education professions. TUC is affiliated with the three Solano County Federally Qualified Health Centers, which provide continuity of health care services. Using CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program, TUC has trained over 300 certified lifestyle coaches and has been recognized by state and federal authorities as an ideal model to replicate. Our Mobile Diabetes Education Center, a 65-foot mobile clinic that travels throughout Solano County to provide free diabetes screenings, glucose and hemoglobin A1c testing has served over 3,500 community members. Annually, our TUC student-run free clinic sees over 400 patients with over 3,100 student volunteer hours. Each fall we hold a community Social Justice series. Together the students, faculty, and staff of TUC are working to reduce health disparities in our community.
Director of Student Counseling
A Bay Area native, Ryan Guetersloh, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, came to TUC this summer with 15 years of experience in both college counseling and private practice. As a generalist, he helps those who are suffering to navigate through the rough patches in their lives to find their way back to being the best versions of themselves.
Ryan and his wife of 19 years spend much of their time on the beach or hiking with their three dogs, scouting out the thrift stores and garage sales along the way. A lover of the art of restoration, he is often on the hunt for vintage treasures into which he can breathe a new life. Growing up in the Jewish tradition that every life matters and every act of kindness makes the world a better place, Ryan says that he has always been driven by the desire to make a difference.
What is your most cherished vintage treasure that you have restored?
That would be my 1963 travel trailer, which is an ongoing restoration that has taken my wife, dogs, and me on about 70 trips in the past four years. As I learn more about trailer repair and restoration, I am able to do more to make it more like it was when it was bought new in ‘63. I also collect, repair, and restore vintage Coleman camping lanterns, and I have given workshops on the subject. I also search high and low for vintage ukuleles, which I love bringing back to life so they can make music for the first time in what is often sixty years or more.
What do you recommend for students to support their own mental health needs?
There are a lot of tools students can use to support their mental health, and different approaches work better for different people. However, there are some things that are common to most of us that are helpful. For our students, an academic/personal life balance is essential. Touro students are dedicated and deeply invested in their academic path, oftentimes at the cost of their personal life. This imbalance often shows up in their emotional world as anxiety, depression, apathy, and sadness. Our emotions are with us for good reason, they are here to protect us and tell us when something is wrong. I help those who are struggling emotionally to create a balance between academic demands and our human needs for connection, love, and joy.
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