Touro University California Opens Different Path Into Healthcare Profession, With A Passion to Make a Difference

In a time when the U.S. is expected to face a shortage of doctors, students like UCLA graduate Sibyl Knight are helping to make a difference. 

The 2009 graduate, who is also a former Bruin mascot, quickly discovered a passion for Osteopathic Medicine when she learned of its whole body approach to assessment and treatment. 

Her search for schools offering a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine immediately led her to Touro University California on Mare Island in Vallejo, a campus with 1,400 students and a place where they strongly emphasize Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM). 

“Touro University California is really strong in OMM and they’re nationally known for the OMM program,” Knight said. “They also have a high ratio of professors to students. I just knew this is where I wanted to be.” 

Set to graduate in June 2013 from Touro University with a doctoral degree in Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Knight is currently fulfilling her rotation requirements and is interviewing for a residency in Family Medicine/Neuro-Muscular Medicine/OMM. 

“I’m excited to become a physician who looks at people’s ailments through mind, body, and spirit,” she said, and added, “I’m looking forward to doing research on Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment and to informing others on how it can be used in practices by physicians all over the country.” 

Knight is part of the University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, which was ranked 10th nationally in the 2012 Edition of U.S. News & World Report for placing approximately 55 percent of its graduates into primary care residencies. 

Its robust program successfully initiated an inter-professional student-run health center for community residents in need of health care and has distinguished itself with federally funded research related to metabolism and obesity, aging and HIV/AIDS. 

Expanding on its mission to serve, to lead and to teach, Touro University California partnered with Solano County Public Health in April 2012 to identify and address community issues and to provide adult and pediatric primary care services in Solano County. Students benefit from this partnership as it provides a teaching environment that prepares Touro medical and physician assistant students to meet the healthcare and education demands of the future.

Touro University California also offers an array of professional programs in the College of Pharmacy, which has a unique curricular approach that is student centered, technologically advanced and interactive.

Along with its Pharm D Program, which offers two years of didactic coursework followed by two years of full-time practice experience, this year the College of Pharmacy introduced the Masters of Science Medical Health Sciences dgree with emphasis on the Pharmaceutical Sciences. This one-year program prepares its graduates by enhancing their knowledge in pharmaceutical sciences and providing an opportunity to engage in exciting research on and off the campus.

Besides offering doctoral degrees in Osteopathic Medicine and Pharmacy, Touro University California also offers a master’s degree in Medical Health Sciences and a joint master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies and Public Health. This joint degree is the only Physician Assistant (PA) program in the country where all students receive both PA and public health training. 

Students interested in public health can attain a Master of Public Health at Touro in two specialty tracks: Community Health, which gives students an opportunity for field study in one of 60 sites in the U.S.; and Global Health, where students gain meaningful field work in Ethiopia, Bolivia, and Cambodia. Both tracks can be completed within approximately two years of full-time study. 

Touro’s Graduate School of Education offers Master's degrees in seven emphasis areas and California Teaching Credentials in 10 areas, including Special Education, Innovative Learning, Educational Technology, Urban Education, and Math Education. 

Overall, Touro University California, established in 1997, prides itself on providing quality, accredited professional programs in health care and education, which emphasize the value of interdisciplinary work in the community. 

Touro graduates gain solid experience which can lead to professional placements after earning a degree. Although a young University, the campus investment in disciplinary excellence, community service, and student-centered learning is leading to recognized success.  

Touro’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, while attracting national attention for its research and emphasis on primary care and family practice, is also increasing public awareness of Osteopathic Medicine itself. 

Just this year, Touro was named “2012 Hero” and recognized by the California Primary Care Association for producing the most primary care clinicians in California. 

Similar to M.D. (allopathic) students, DOs are fully licensed physicians who are entitled and qualified to pursue any specialty, including surgery. DOs are provided with additional training in OMM, a hands-on approach which emphasizes the musculoskeletal system and its effect on the patient’s health. Osteopathic Medicine emphasizes a holistic approach to health maintenance and the use of Osteopathic manipulation as a treatment modality.  

“The national dialogue about expanded, affordable health care and the factors driving health care reform legislation ensure that there is a continuing demand for physicians and allied health professionals. Our graduates are well prepared for these responsibilities,” said Touro University California Provost and Chief Operating Officer Marilyn Hopkins, DNSc. 

Touro University California is a part of the Touro College and University System, a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. 

Touro College, located in New York, was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American community. All Touro campuses were founded on three Judaic values: social justice, the pursuit of knowledge and service to humanity. 

As part of this Judaic legacy of care for others, Touro University California volunteers clinical health care services to indigent people in this country, and to impoverished people in several other parts of the world. 

“The university mission of educating caring professional to serve, to lead, and to teach is more than words to us,” Hopkins said. “It’s a real, visible and interactive experience.”