In this Issue
Fresh on Facebook
Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents Student Researcher of the Year Honorable Mention: Yasmin Bains, OMS III
|Lenny Williams performing "So Very Hard to Go" in the Mosaic Celebration: Diversity Scholarship Fundraiser|
On April 17, nearly 200 came to Farragut Inn to celebrate and support Touro University California (TUC) students and their impact on the community at the Mosaic Celebration: Diversity Scholarship Fundraiser. The fourth annual Diversity Scholarship Fundraiser saw a record 21 students receiving scholarships from across all six of TUC’s academic programs.
The Mosaic fulfills TUC’s vision for Diversity and Inclusion: the collective responsibility in the obstruction of injustice through the intentional cultivation of a culture of inclusion beyond compositional diversity.
CEO and Senior Provost Shelley Berkley told the evening’s donors, “By helping to increase the diversity of our healthcare and educational workforces, you are ensuring that not only will these remarkable individuals achieve their dreams which are an inspiration to us all, but that every person whom they eventually treat lives healthier, more fulfilling and productive lives.”
Also honored for their efforts to support the community and embrace diversity and inclusion in their work and lives were two exceptional community leaders who are also families of immigrants: CC and Regina Yin, founders of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs and owners of Yin McDonald’s, and Medic Ambulance Service, the exclusive 911 ambulance provider for all of Solano County with the exception of Vacaville.
Helen Pierson, CEO of Medic Ambulance, accepted the award on behalf of her family, stressing the meaning of their journey and the value that Touro graduates bring to the community.
The evening’s events included live and silent auction, live music, and cocktail reception. Attendees were also treated to a special performance by Lenny Williams, former lead singer of Tower of Power, and were wowed by a pop-up exhibition and live painting by Jermaine Dante’ Burse whose artwork was then donated in the evening’s live auction.
“The Mosaic Celebration is about creating opportunities for students of diverse backgrounds to be transformational leaders when they graduate from TUC and follow their passions to build healthy communities and reduce disparities in life expectancy, health outcomes, and education,” said Dr. Sarah Sweitzer, Provost and CAO.
Members of the campus and Vallejo community were brought together on April 3rd to celebrate the 12th Annual Public Health Hero Awards, recognizing five recipients for their outstanding commitment to reducing health disparities and promoting social justice through their community leadership and service.
“We were so pleased that we could celebrate National Public Health Week by honoring those who are actively working to build safe, healthy communities, both here in Vallejo and around the globe,” said Dr. Elena Lingas, Interim Director of the Public Health Program. “The honorees’ commitment to their work inspires us to continue the struggle for social justice and health for all.”
|Photo Caption: 2019 Public Health Heroes (L to R): Garrett Hall, Kwiana Algere, and Isabel Reyes. (Not pictured: Daniyal Ahmed and Nicolas Amarante)|
Isabel Reyes, Founder of the Eric Reyes Foundation, was honored with the 2019 Community Service Hero award. Since establishing her Foundation after the untimely death of her son in 2016, Ms. Reyes has worked with the Vallejo Police Department to remove guns from the streets by reinstating the Gun Buy Back program and, through her Foundation, has provided supplies to local schools and scholarships for high school students.
Class of 2017 graduate Kwiana Algere, MPH, was honored as the 2019 Alumni Hero for maximizing community health and wellness through educational programs and health initiatives. Since graduating, Ms. Algere has worked with Black Infant Health and the Contra Costa County Health Disparities Department to improve African-American infant and maternal health. She is currently coordinating the community Adverse Childhood Experience Summit as part of the Resilient Solano Strategic Plan.
TUC Joint MSPAS/MPH students Daniyal Ahmed and Nicolas Amarante were honored as the 2019 Global Student Health Heroes for their work in Greece where they assisted Syrian refugees with a safe transition into refugee camps by watching over the rocky coast and notifying rescue services when they spot an incoming dingy.
“We are doing everything we can to stay up all night. We do 30 min shifts where we constantly spot for these incoming boats,” Mr. Amarante told the ceremony attendees from Greece. “I am enjoying my work here; it is extremely rewarding and humbling, and both Dani and I are extremely humbled to have received this award.”
And the 2019 Community Health Student Hero awardee Garrett Hall, MPHc, was honored for his capstone project assessing the potential impact of Medicaid work requirements on African-Americans and for striving to improve the public health of immigrants and the underserved by organizing rallies and actions around Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and gun violence.
Congratulations Grace Landel, PA-C, M.Ed., Program Director of the Joint MSPAS/MPH Program, for receiving the 2019 MEDEX Northwest Lifetime Achievement Award! A physician assistant since 1984, Professor Landel is an impassioned advocate for the Joint MSPAS/MPH program’s mission to increase care to underserved populations. Visit the MEDEX NW YouTube page to see her on-campus interview and personal insights from her peers.
One of the main reasons I decided to attend Touro was the DO/MPH dual degree program. Medical care cannot exist without Public Health. Health policy, insurance, access to resources, systemic disparities, and competent providers are just a few of the many aspects that Public Health works to address.
For me, I hope to use my MPH to allow me to further dive into population health and work with sexual/gender minorities. Public Health work provides a landscape for attacking inequities that exist across all aspects of day-to-day life, and to do so in a way that ensures people will have the chance to keep fighting for their lives in other ways.
The role of health professionals is not only to treat patients and illnesses, but it is also to advocate for health equity and to build sustainable systems to create and maintain it. As a future healthcare professional, I look forward to serving as a voice for my patients and rallying for health equity. Public Health is a powerful social justice tool and can lead to improved health outcomes and societal equality.
The Graduate School of Education (GSOE) was assigned the highest accreditation status by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). The Committee on Accreditation, on behalf of the CTC, assigned the status of “Accreditation” for a full seven years with no stipulations for all six of Touro’s teacher and school administrator credential programs.
“Based on interviews, key stakeholders greatly appreciate TUC and acknowledge the university’s positive impact on the community and organizations they serve and GSOE’s ability to quickly adapt to meet partner needs. Candidates, mentors, and administrators who were interviewed demonstrated a passion for student learning, a positive attitude, and a growth mindset. These attributes are valued and modeled by the program leadership’s commitment to educator excellence and social justice,” wrote the CTC visiting team.
Alumni Support Students at the Alumni Mixer
Awarded at the annual Alumni Mixer on April 4th, the TUC Alumni Association Scholarship was founded in 2012 to provide an opportunity for all TUC alumni to give back to the students who are looking to make a difference in their community. Selecting from a strong pool of 23 applicants, the Alumni Association Scholarship Committee honored Marcus Chen, Joint MSPAS/MPH Class of 2020, and Helen Berhane, College of Pharmacy Class of 2019, with the scholarship for their admirable leadership, commendable community service, and exemplary academic performance.
“I sincerely appreciate having my social-justice-oriented work recognized because much of it has been motivated by having faced and overcome adversity,” said Mr. Chen.
Mr. Chen is the Diversity Chair of the TUC PA Club, the CEHS Director of the Student-Run Free Clinic, and the Vice Chair of the SGA Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Ms. Berhane is on the Dean’s list for her academic performance, a coordinator for the Student-Run Free Clinic, and organized residency-focused events as the Vice President of American College of Clinical Pharmacy.
"I am grateful to have received the TUC Alumni Scholarship,” said Ms. Berhane. “Touro University California and the College of Pharmacy have helped me tremendously in preparation for my future as a pharmacy resident and a pharmacist.”
The 2019 Commencement Ceremony will see the milestone celebration return to our beautiful Mare Island campus on May 19th and 20th. While on the grove behind the historic Farragut Inn, a new cadre of TUC alumni will join their distinguished peers as doctors of osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physician assistants, educators, nurses, and public health professionals.
The ceremony for the College of Pharmacy will begin on Sunday, May 19th at 10:00 a.m. The College of Education and Health Science’s ceremony will be held also on Sunday, May 19th at 5:00 p.m. And the College of Osteopathic Medicine will hold its ceremony on Monday, May 20th at 10:30 a.m.
Reflecting on their time at TUC, the six peer-chosen student speakers for commencement reflect on what advice they would give to themselves at the first day of orientation.
“Looking back, I would tell my past self that there are both physical and mentally difficult challenges that lie ahead. Despite these challenges, you should continue to enjoy the journey with the people you meet along the way. Furthermore, keep an open mind, ask questions, and continuously be curious.”
Kristoffer Chin, MPH, MS
“I would remind myself to remember Proverbs 19:20: ‘Listen to advice and accept correction, and in the end you will be wise.’”
“The next 4 years are going to be tough, but you will get through it. Study hard, but don't forget to take some time for yourself and relax. It is not possible to get through school by yourself, so make relationships and connections with peers for help and support. Finally, make sure to reciprocate the help and support because these relationships may last beyond school.”
"Honestly, thinking back on my experience throughout school, I cannot think of one thing that I would tell myself to do differently. I definitely made my handful of mistakes during the past two and a half years that I’ve been at Touro; however, it is those mistakes that have helped to define my experience at this university."
"Firstly, the mosquitoes here bite through jeans. Secondly, and most importantly, you belong here. Upon arrival, I felt out of my element in a new city and in a new program after having been out of the classroom for a couple of years. However, my Independent MPH cohort was a group that thrived on each other’s' successes. I will forever be grateful for them and their support.”
Nursing affords many prospects. But the healthcare system is desperate for nurse leaders. The best leaders are well educated. Being doctorally prepared is essential to fixing the myriad problems facing the healthcare system today. Don’t hesitate- keeping going because with the doctorate you will be given precious tools that will result in more opportunities. It is by being a doctoral candidate that I am now involved in healthcare policy.
Sharon Goldfarb, MSN
The College of Pharmacy is looking forward to Commencement 2019 and the 10th anniversary of the graduation of our inaugural PharmD class. Graduation will be returning to campus this Spring for an inclusive celebration with our pharmily – new graduates, alumni, faculty, family, and friends. Our founding dean, founding faculty, and alumni will be leading the current faculty and graduates in the Class of 2019 into the Grove for the Commencement Ceremony, symbolizing the legacy that they have created for our new graduates.
The College of Pharmacy continues to build on a tradition of excellence, with our program, faculty, and students distinguishing themselves with state and national awards, publications, grants, elections and appointments to prestigious positions. Our commitment to underserved populations continues with over 125 community outreach and recruitment events each year. Our NAPLEX pass rates are among the highest in the country – the Class of 2018 achieved the 12th highest pass rate nationally, and the second highest in California, less than 1% behind the highest scoring California school. As the Class of 2019 launches their careers, they have already achieved a 71% residency match rate (vs 64% national average) and a record high number of matches in the history of the school.
As we reflect on our past, we look to the future with optimism because we are Touro – trained and motivated to become transformative leaders who will be the difference in the lives of the individuals and communities we serve.
Over 50 TUC and Solano County community members were in attendance for the first ever World Autism Awareness Lunch on Tuesday, April 2nd. The community open mic also included insight from expert speakers Ron Rowlett, Mayor of Vacaville; Wanda Williams, Suisun City Council Member; Linda Haymes, PhD, Chair of Special Education in the Graduate School of Education; and Kimberly Wolf, DO, Assistant Professor at the College of Osteopathic Medicine. Attendees learned and shared from the various perspectives and experiences with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
College of Pharmacy
Dr. Shona Mookerjee says that going to college in Minnesota and graduate school in upstate New York gave her the winter survival skills that she definitely doesn’t need in Vallejo. But it was in the cold north where she also received the training and mentorship that guided her to a career in teaching. In the lab, Dr. Mookerjee stresses that a problem she has always had with research questions is that each one leads backwards to another question that needs an answer before the first one can be addressed, which she thinks may be why her current research focuses on energetics, one of the earliest topics covered in undergraduate biology. When she is not teaching, Dr. Mookerjee and her husband spend time with their son, who is nearly old enough to join them on weekend rock climbing trips.
What don't people realize about the role energetics has in their daily lives?
The need to acquire energy drives all life on the planet—it’s what most organisms spend most of their time doing. It’s only recently in human evolution that the opposite problem of excess energy availability has become relatively common. But whether we have too much or too little, energy capture is something that we all still spend a lot of each day thinking about. When cells or tissues reconfigure how they convert incoming nutrients to chemical energy, it usually means they are changing in other ways as well; think about normal cell differentiation, transformation to cancer, or remodeling in response to pathology.
How did you get into rock climbing?
We learned how to rock climb in and around the Adirondacks, between my PhD and first post-doc. One of the perks of a university environment is a lot of people with different skills willing to teach you things! Moving out here was a real treat, and we have done a lot of outdoor climbing locally as well as some longer trips in California, like Joshua Tree and Pinnacles. Some local favorites are the Sunset Boulders and Mt. St. Helena.
Copyright 2005 - 2019, Touro University, All Rights Reserved.