Excitement filled the air at the campus-wide New Student Orientation as 534 new students embarked on their first step in becoming health care, public health, and educational professionals. Beginning early on Monday, August 6th in Lander Hall Gymnasium, students took a crash course on essentials to Touro University California (TUC) student life, from what it means to eat kosher food to where to go for help in balancing your study schedule. The newcomers played fun icebreakers, took pictures with the Touro Bull, and engaged in their first Interprofessional Education experience, which uses team-based learning to prepare students for full participation in the American healthcare system.
And to no surprise, the 2018-19 academic year has come charging in with a plethora
of events to start things off at TUC. Off campus, school spirit welled over during
Touro Day at the Park as friends and family from the university came out to cheer
for the Vallejo Admirals while they faced off the Pittsburg Diamonds on Sunday, August
12th. The event raised money for the Touro University California Alumni Association.
Although the home team didn’t win on the hot summer day, the Touro Bull emerged victorious
in the mid-game dance competition.
“The game was our first community event like this with alumni, staff, and students all coming out to show their support,” said Brigit Perez, Director of Alumni Relations, “and there will be many more events like this to come.”
On Wednesday, August 15th, the first Town Hall to be hosted by Dr. Sarah Sweitzer, Provost and CAO, announced achievements and projects throughout the university, from having three simultaneous Fulbright Scholars across all three colleges to the new audio visual equipment in 14 teaching spaces starting in September.
The month also included the grand opening of the Outdoor Gym, Club Day, and Pastries with the Provost.
At the Vallejo Farmer’s Market, there is a table with students in white coats who offer visitors free immunization education and flu shots. The students distill the issues that affect entire communities—diabetes, stroke, and chronic kidney disease—into points that can be easily understood and acted upon by individuals. The issues that affect entire communities—diabetes, stroke, or chronic kidney disease—these students distill into points that can be easily understood and acted upon. And as members of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association Chapter of Touro University California (SNPhA TUC), each of these white coated students shares a commitment to serving underserved communities across Solano and Napa counties as well as the Bay Area.
“A lot of the students have a really big heart to serve patients who don’t have access to care or don’t regularly see somebody,” says Lauren Roller, PharmD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Sciences at the College of Pharmacy (COP) who has been faculty advisor for SNPhA the past three years. “For some, it’s the neighborhoods that they grew up in, and they identify with those patients and want to be of help.”
The SNPhA TUC is incredibly active, hosting over 140 outreach events in just the past year, serving a total of 11,060 patients. In fact, SNPhA TUC was ranked 1st in 2017-2018 in serving the underserved among the 92 SNPhA chapters nationwide. And it doesn’t stop there. SNPhA TUC expands their efforts on awareness and outreach over issues like HIV/AIDS and mental health, and the organization is an active advocate for pharmacy legislation as well.
And pushing this student-led organization or the past year has been outgoing SNPhA TUC President, Jonathan Nguyen Trinh.
“By breaking down this barrier and bridging the gap between different languages with our patients you could see the appreciation on their faces and the importance of building a relationship and connection with our patients,” said Mr. Nguyen Trinh, COP Class of 2020.
SNPhA TUC received a multitude of awards and nominations at this year’s national meeting, such as being one of three finalists to be nominated for Chapter of the Year: Medium Category. Other highlights include chapter president Mr. Nguyen Trinh’s nomination for president of the year and individual member scholarships received from Rite Aid, Walgreens, and more.
“SNPhA TUC has been a part of my life since I entered TUC as a first-year pharmacy student, and it still astounds me when I evaluate the scope and impact we have as an organization,” says Mr. Nguyen Trinh.
Around the room at Elsa Widenmann Elementary school in Vallejo, medical students from Touro handed out raisins to families and asked, “How do you eat a raisin?” Before anyone popped it down, the volunteers encouraged the children and their parents to touch, smell, feel, and really taste the flavors of a raisin. The families were then talked through simple rules they could put to use around the dinner table. It is with tangible lessons like this at Project HAPPY, which stands for “Healthy Attitudes Produces Positive Youth”, that families are brought closer together around new healthful habits, such as putting an end to distracted eating and sitting together as a family to eat.
“It’s a very family centered program,” said Katherine Yu, DO/MPH candidate for 2019, who was the student leader for the first Project HAPPY cohort that took place this spring. “Studies show that with kids, if you don’t engage their families, it can be a moot point.”
With the gripping visual of one egg that’s plumped in water and another that’s shriveled in soda, students like Ms. Yu who are paired to families as “family navigators” helped children and their parents to appreciate the benefits of drinking water. Using a goal tracker to color in the amount of water that each family member has consumed in the day, progress becomes goal-based and reaffirming.
“We also do a lot of cooking demos,” explained Ms. Yu, who is a primary care fellow at the College of Osteopathic Medicine. “People say, ‘I didn’t know it could be like this!’, and the kids put in the vegetables themselves. It also helps takes away the power struggle to teach children to take just two bites, say ‘no thank you’, and try the next meal.”
The first cohort of Project HAPPY started last spring with 10 families and 28 participants. With support from Sutter Health and the College of Osteopathic Medicine Office of the Dean, the six week program brought the families together twice a week to run through lesson plans that program creator Dr. Tami Hendriksz said helps people make the small changes that add up to larger changes.
“Ever since my pediatric residency, I wanted to address the obesity epidemic in this country,” said Dr. Hendriksz, Associate Dean of Clinical Education in the College of Osteopathic Medicine. “The percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s. Data from 2015-2016 show that nearly 1 in 5 school age children and young people (6 to 19 years) in the United States has obesity.”
After successfully completing the first cohort, plans are in place to begin again in spring of 2019, and two of the families who completed the class have expressed interest in returning again.
During a two-week trip this summer to Sega, Kenya, Drs. Ann Stoltz and Jacqueline Clavo-Hall from the School of Nursing returned to provide diabetes education to health care providers and an education project for mothers to help reduce infant mortality rates in the rural, African community. These programs build on previous neonatal resuscitation classes that they delivered in 2016.
The life-saving classes were implemented in this village of approximately 10,000 people. Bramwel Wesonga, a clinical officer, who attended the neonatal resuscitation course two years ago, has since started Pearl Medical Clinic in Sega, where he provides a clean, well-equipped clinic to the community. Drs. Stoltz and Clavo-Hall are in the process of working with Mr. Wesonga to investigate ways of transitioning from paper to an electronic record keeping system.
“Approximately 50 pregnant mothers enrolled in the Mother’s Education Program that we kicked off in July,” said Dr. Clavo-Hall, “and we will continue over the next eight months, using short videos delivered by peer educators. If the project demonstrates an increase in knowledge and positive health practices for mothers in taking care of their small children, it will be expanded to include more mothers and additional topics.”
The maternity project continues as the pair works with Goal4, a non profit organization,
to improve lab and maternity services at the Sega Dispensary. The aim is to create
a designated labor and delivery area in the dispensary with indoor plumbing to encourage
mothers to deliver their babies in a clean, safe, and well-equipped health care environment.
The dispensary currently delivers 4-8 babies a month, and the goal is to increase
deliveries to 30 per month.
Helping to continue Touro’s mission of serving communities across the world, Drs. Stoltz and Clavo-Hall also trained nursing researcher Sylvester Ogutu on neonatal resuscitation during their first trip. Mr. Ogutu came on campus to lecture nursing and public health students and later, toured NorthBay Hospital in Fairfield. He has now opened Nassi Hospital in a town near Sega, which has features that are unheard of for the region: a play area for children, at most two beds to a room, and meals prepared for inpatients. The new hospital has a promising start, reporting eight successful infant deliveries thus far, a number that they hope to grow.
The Student Government Association is excited to kick off the new semester and welcome in the new crowd. We plan to continue collaborating with students and administration to provide an interfaith space where students of faith can meet and contribute to the rich diversity of Touro University. We are also working on finding additional workout space so that more students can enjoy the exercise equipment on campus. Most excitingly, we will begin planning the 2018-2019 Winter Gala, where students from all programs are invited to enjoy a break from studying to dance and celebrate with classmates! It is going to be an exciting semester and we hope to work with students, faculty, and staff to enhance the Touro experience for everyone.
Depth jumps, lunges, and calisthenics of all kinds are now in vogue across campus with the grand opening of the new Outdoor Gym. Located on top of the hill across from the Student Health Center and the Medication Garden, the Outdoor Gym is open to the entire campus community and offers a new way to exercise on campus to encourage healthy, active lifestyles.
Built last spring, the project for the gym was initiated by WARM (Wellness, Academics, Resilience, Mindfulness) in the College of Osteopathic Medicine with the vision and leadership of Mohammad Khorsand OMSIII, Yasmin Bains OMSII, and Jasmine Massoumi OMSII, representing students from all programs with the goal of expanding the options for wellness across campus for the entire campus community.
Even for fitness enthusiasts like student doctor Loren Hart, COM Class of 2021 who is also president of TUC’s American Osteopathic Association Sports Medicine Club and the Vice President of the Integrative Medicine Club, finding the balance between an active life and student life doesn’t come easily.
“The sheer amount of knowledge that the medical field asks students to ingest is not only challenging of the mind, but the aggregate sum of lectures, reading, projects, and exams that it takes to get there is also itself physically demanding,” said Ms. Hart.
The Outdoor Gym is open to the campus community.
With the beginning of the new academic year, 543 new students joined the Touro University California family to embark on their journey to become healthcare professionals, educational leaders, and public health advocates. The California campus continues a 143 year healthcare history with our location at the historic Mare Island Hospital complex. This great tradition began in 1853 when Mare Island became the first naval shipyard established on the west coast. Eighteen years later, the Navy built a 30-bed facility, making it the first hospital on the Pacific.
Following an earthquake in 1898, the second naval hospital was rebuilt in 1901, which today stands on the Touro campus with the original brick foundation from 1869. The Mare Island Naval Hospital played a key role in the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic when makeshift tents were erected on the grass to treat all of the sick. Soon after, the hospital became renowned for the manufacturing of prosthetic limbs for patients. Today, Touro University California students join a long tradition of healthcare on the Island as they follow in the path of thousands of healthcare professionals stationed at the Mare Island Naval Hospital in serving Vallejo, Solano County, and our country.
A message from Rabbi Elchonon Tenenbaum, Campus Rabbi
As we approach the Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New year, we are happy to offer you a
variety of opportunities to celebrate and connect during the High Holidays. I would
like to personally invite you to a traditional, delicious Rosh-Hashanah Dinner and
to any of the holiday services.
Rosh Hashanah is celebrated as the head of the Jewish year. The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah actually means “Head of the Year.” Just as the head controls the body, our actions on Rosh Hashanah have a tremendous impact on the rest of the year.
It is a day of prayer, a time to ask the Almighty to grant us a year of peace, prosperity and blessing. But it is also a joyous day when we proclaim G-d King of the Universe.
Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, means “Day of Atonement,” as the verse states, “For on this day He will forgive you, to purify you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before G-d.”
Although Yom Kippur is a day of fasting and the most solemn day of the year, it is suffused with an undercurrent of joy; it is the joy of being immersed in the spirituality of the day and expresses confidence that G-d will forgive our sins and seal our verdict for a year of life, health, and happiness.
Welcome to high holiday services where you have a seat. Services are conducted in English and Hebrew with simultaneous insights and explanations into the prayers, practices, and rituals. The prayers are warm. The melodies are timeless. The people are friendly. All are encouraged to join. Advanced RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org is appreciated.
We join you in hope and prayer for peace, prosperity, and blessing for all of humankind over the new Jewish year of 5779. Wishing you a happy & sweet New Year!
Administrative Coordinator to the Senior Associate Dean at the College of Osteopathic Medicine
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Susan Harrington calls herself a fairly recent transplant to the West Coast. She moved to Southern California with her husband and three children eight years ago for her husband’s job, later relocating to Benicia, CA. Previously she worked as Assistant Manager at the traffic department at Channel 56 in Boston, MA, which she refers to as the “guts” of the station.
“Working in TV was pretty stressful,” remembers Susan. “It was all about the bottom line. If the traffic department messed up and scheduled a commercial at the wrong time, it was money lost.”
As the daughter of first generation Portuguese immigrants, Susan was always intrigued by languages and majored in French and Russian at Tufts University. When studying abroad in Soviet Russia, Susan remembers how people would stand in line to get oranges.
“Living abroad changes the way you think,” says Susan. “You can see it in people when they come back. You have to go away to really experience another culture. Otherwise, how would you know?”
Susan later went back to school to get her Master’s in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University and worked as the International Cooperative Education Counselor at Northeastern University where she helped facilitate international students’ experiences and arrange paid internships with companies at home and abroad.
Now at Touro, Susan says that she enjoys working here because she has a great boss, Dr. Richard Riemer, and really smart and hard-working co-workers. Her time outside of Touro is spent with her family on both coasts as well as with her two huskies and three cats.
Visit https://advancement.tu.edu/ViolencePreventionSymposium-Registration to register.
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