January 5, 2017 Edition

20/20 – Touro University California’s San Francisco and Mare Island Beginnings

As we step into 2017, Touro University California draws closer to its 20th anniversary in July. While TUC’s spirit of independence and intimate care has only grown, the school is the product of its first four years of very hard work. Every ounce of what the original faculty and students did was dedicated towards graduating the first class of 65 osteopathic students. Their commitment guaranteed the school’s first accreditation, and thus a future that we can celebrate today.

It was a tactical team of four or five professors, led by Dean and Provost Dr. Bernard Zeliger, that started that first class. The program began on August 18, 1997 in San Francisco. The Touro system had found space at the California College of Podiatric Medicine to start the new school. Classes were shared with the podiatric students, and professors would often have to highlight what material was just intended for the young osteopathic students.

But as another year of students enrolled into TUC, it became clear that the school would have to expand. The city of Alameda and the French Hospital in San Francisco were also considered before Dr. Zeliger, announced that the school would be moving Mare Island.

This was no simple task. Mare Island had been vacated by the Navy in 1996, and the location’s status as a historical landmark meant that renovations would take longer to complete. When faculty arrived on May 27, 1999, only the first floor of their offices had been remodeled. Doors were yet to be installed, even for the bathrooms. Permits weren’t secured yet to use the water, and porta potties were the only option.

As remembered by Dr. James Binkerd, one of TUC’s first professors and now Associate Dean of Student Affairs, “Each day would bring its own emergency. At one point, there was a shortage on toilet paper, and employees had to bring in their own from home. They would keep rolls locked inside their desks for fear of finding the items missing when they were needed the most.”

“But the essentials were ready for the students when they arrived,” he assures.

Dr. Zeliger had an open door policy with students, and each time that something was needed, students were ready to let him know.

Still, everyone there was willing to make due. A dining room and a ballroom were repurposed as classrooms. Lander Hall had only theater lighting, which was too dim for teaching. And that first winter, heat came from generators that would blow hot air from tubes into the classroom.

It was the frontier of Osteopathic Education. After dubbing themselves the Touro Pioneers, those first students really lived up to their names by eagerly bundling up to survive the elements indoors, all in the name of Biochemistry.

Dr. Alejandro Gugliucci, founding professor and now Associate Dean of Research, reflects on those bold early years fondly.

“We were pioneers on both sides. The students were pioneers, and the members of the faculty were pioneers,” he says. “The first class was very particular and dynamic. They had to endure a lot of things because you were just starting a program from scratch.”

The school was an attraction to educators who longed to take a different path from the mammoth institutions. And each member of the small but growing faculty was charged to build the world around them.

“Not too often do you get those opportunities,” Dr. Gugliucci confides.

Today in San Francisco, you’ll find nothing but construction and a big hole in the ground where the original TUC classes were held, right at the corner of Scott and Eddy. The podiatry school sold the building shortly after TUC left.

So too is Lander Hall a far different sight from the boarded up building with a flooded basement that TUC inherited. The military originally used parts of the building for cryptography, and much of the windows were covered to hide what was going on inside from lurking Russian Satellites. But now the building is the bustling heart of TUC’s campus.

“No one knew in Vallejo that anything was on Mare Island,” recalls Dr. Binkerd. “It’s now night and day—the impact and opportunities that have been built between us and the community.”

Touro's 2016 Student Doctor of the Year: Jeremy Mosher

Jeremy Mosher - Student Doctor of the YearFor TUC Student Doctor of the Year Jeremy Mosher, COM '18, personal recognition is really a tool to highlight the underserved whom he has set out to help. Now on rotations, Jeremy's focus is on what he has always set out to do, making a difference to those who need it the most.

"Growing up in urban poverty has motivated me to dedicate my career to alleviating the health disparities and suffering within underserved urban populations," Jeremy reveals.

"While in training, I have been deeply moved by the difficult stories of patients, as well as the extraordinary efforts by physicians to compassionately form trusting relationships and work tirelessly to address the many ailments presented to them," he explains.

But as Jeremy presses on, those who know him at TUC celebrate who he is and what he stands for.

"Jeremy has demonstrated himself as an exceptionally compassionate and proactive medical student with outstanding leadership skills. His vision and passion for bettering the community as well as his resourcefulness has helped to improve the community and has inspired many people who look up to him as a role model," said Dr. Athena Lin, Associate Professor and Basic Science Department Representative to the Student Doctor of they Year (SDOY) Committee. "I am extremely proud to have witnessed his contribution to the society."

The Student Doctor of the Year Award is an award presented annually by the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP), a council of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), to students who go above and beyond their roles as osteopathic medical students. Winners will go on to compete for the National SDOY Award. The National SDOY will be announced at the AACOM Annual Meeting in April 2017 and will be the recipient of a $1,000 monetary award.

"Jeremy truly embodies what it means to be the Student DO of the Year. He brings the osteopathic philosophy beyond just medicine—this can be seen in his participation through various clubs, committees, and organizations," said Student Doctor Paras Savla, COM Student Executive Council (COMSEC) VP of Academic Affairs and SDOY Committee Chair. "Jeremy also goes out of his way to foster the Touro community, a community which we pride ourselves on."

It was a combination of Jeremy's outstanding academic achievements, professionalism, leadership, contribution to community service, and commitment to osteopathic medicine that brought both peers and faculty together to nominate him.

But as a student doctor, this award is only the beginning.

"I have been invigorated to see the difference I can make as a physician," Jeremy continues. "I have also seen sobering reminders of the importance and urgency of this work, having treated homeless and low-income patients who lack vital services required for a healthy life."

A Deeper Look into the Student-Run Free Clinic from its Medical Director, Dr. Melissa Pearce.

Melissa PearceDr. Pearce, COM '05, is an Assistant Professor and Vice Chair of TUC’s Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine Department. She came back to teach and also specializes in Family Medicine.

When do you recommend osteopathic manipulative medicine? How do patients react to it?

Patients react very well to Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM). They appreciate the hands-on approach and benefits of treatment. The Student-Run Free Clinic (SRFC) has many patients who come for screening services specifically to obtain a referral for OMT. There is a high demand for OMT services, and we try to keep the rest of the clinic functioning robust to maintain good opportunities for all of our students.

At the Solano County Clinic I have both an Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) specialty practice and a Family Medicine practice, covering patient appointments for my colleagues. Of course, the specialty practice is geared towards providing OMT. In my Family Medicine practice, it depends upon the patient's presentation. While addressing health needs and disease management, I may employ OMT anywhere from 25-75% of the time. The ability of OMT to help support health goes far beyond the musculoskeletal complaints for which is it commonly thought of and employed. If a patient presents with a respiratory infection, in addition to deciding on supportive therapy versus antibiotics, OMT can also play a role in optimizing the lymphatic and immune systems, improving respiratory and diaphragmatic function, and helping to relieve symptoms.

How is the Student-Run Free Clinic involved in the community?

The SRFC is invited to participate in community health events by many different partners in the community. Some events are recurring, such as having a health-related booth at the Napa-Solano County fairgrounds, where we typically screen, demonstrate, and educate more than 100 participants. Others are stand-alone events, such as the Solano Food Oasis, which had excellent representation from many Touro University California organizations, including the SRFC.

The SRFC serves as a rotation site for Kaiser Family Medicine residents on their Community Medicine rotation. The residents work with students and patients and share their experience. Since they rotate through a number of clinics, they help keep us connected with the broader community.

The students have such a variety of interests; they are constantly seeking resources for promoting their projects. A collaboration with local community college students is underway as they are mentored in their path towards health professional degrees.

We periodically partner with Covered California to avail patients and community members of insurance enrollment. We will be vigilant for opportunities that may present themselves with the upcoming change in administration.

What inspired your return to Touro to Teach?

I did an extra year of residency training at St. Barnabas in the Bronx in order to both work with Dr. Hugh Ettlinger and other talented osteopathic physicians and to be Board-certified in Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine/Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (NMM/OMM) and be best qualified to teach osteopathic medicine. While engaged in an integrative practice after residency, I attended our profession's annual conference, the American Academy of Osteopathy Convocation, and was reunited with some of my professors and met other faculty. I was eager to move up my timetable for transition to academic practice and joined the faculty in 2011.

Husband and Wife Alumni and their Journey in Nursing

Modrich CoupleHusband and wife team Michael Modrich, CEHS '16, and Janet Morris-Modrich, CEHS '16, support each other in unique ways. They completed their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) together as part of the first graduating class in Touro University California's School of Nursing.

"We worked, we went to school, we studied, and did little else," they explain. "We informed family ahead of time that we would be in seclusion for the duration of the program. We did, however, make it a point to spend additional time together doing fun stuff. Wednesday was date night (after class), and we had season tickets to shows in Sacramento."

Their days as nurses look very different. Mr. Modrich sees newborns as the Solano County Family Health Services Clinics Senior Quality Improvement Nurse, and Mrs. Morris-Modrich helps others at the end of their lives as Kaiser Home Health/Hospice Nurse II for the Napa-Solano Area.

"We both approach our professions and our personal lives with compassion, dignity, and humor—a lot of humor," the couple says.

The program helped to expand their careers within the Nursing realm, providing a broader perspective and sharpened professional skills that ultimately, benefit the patients.

For example, Mr. Modrich sees EMS issues from a macro perspective. His writing skills expanded, and he gained a firmer understanding of managing finances to assure a higher quality of care.

Mrs. Morris-Modrich employs the same strategies from a hospice perspective, and she has seen her colleagues rally behind some of the ideas that she has brought forth from the program. Together they now use business planning to show the need for specific items to change hospice practice.Modrich White Coat

Inspired by their success at with the MSN, Mr. Modrich plans to continue his education in Nursing. He will be returning to TUC in January to begin the School of Nursing’s Doctorate of Nursing Practice Program (DNP).

“It’s interesting and a challenge,” says Mr. Modrich. “The doctorate program will open up a practical application of research knowledge that will help me to change my practice in a different way.”

The new DNP program starts January, 2017. For more information, please go to http://cehs.tu.edu/nursing/dnp-fnp/

Our Staff: Chris Mello, Food Services

Chris Mello is a Bay Area native. He was a purchaser for Just Desserts before coming to TUC six years ago. You can spot him serving lunch up at Farragut. He has a Thoreauvian spirit and a passion for travel and photography.

Now that you’re done serving coffee, what was the most bizarre drink that someone has ordered at the cart?

I made a six shot espresso for a tired soul. I don’t drink coffee, but I’ve liked the other things that we serve here at the coffee cart.

What do you usually photograph when you’re out taking pictures?

I love my dog and always try to get him in my pictures, somehow. His name is Clarence, and he’s an unusual breed — a Blue Lacy, which is a Texas boar hunting dog. He didn’t like to hunt, though, so he’s a rescue. I didn’t want him to be alone all day, so I got a cat to keep him company.

What do you do to get away?                                                                                        

I like to go car camping, especially when it’s warmer. The last place I went to was Toiyabe National Forest in Nevada. It has a bleak mountain range and a canyon you can drive a four-wheel drive through where there’s a beautiful stream. I have a quiet, simple life, really.

Announcing Coffee Service Day and Night

Dining and Catering Services is excited to announce that beginning January 5th the campus will replace the Seattle's Best coffee machines and coffee cart with Peet's Fresh Ground Coffee via Quick Dispense coffee systems.  This freshly ground gourmet coffee is one of the top selling blends for Northern California and will offer a variety of beverages tailored to your taste including espresso, hot chocolate, cafe mocha, cappuccino, latte, regular and decaf coffee.  Coffee condiments will also be provided such as creamer, sugar, and paper cups.

*Payment accepted via credit card.  Coffee stations are located in the previous Seattle's Best locations at Lander Hall, Wilderman Hall, the Library, and Farragut Inn with availability day or night during campus hours.  Please contact Dining and Catering Services at (707) 638-5506 with any questions.