January 19, 2017 - The Record

The Secret Ingredient is Passion: Introducing TUC Executive Chef, Raymond Nottie

Chef Nottie and Rabbi Tenenbaum in the Kitchen

Order something from the all kosher menu at TUC, and Executive Chef Raymond Nottie will take you around the world. For the past four years under his leadership, the kitchen at TUC has given students and employees the opportunity to jet set at lunch across five continents. Just hearing the names of dishes like Tuscan Kale Bean Soup, Vegetable Jambalya, Spinach Dal, Cape Malay Curry Chicken, and Peruvian Rice with Chicken can bring out different feelings in people. As it does with Chef Nottie.

Just a moment with Chef Nottie is enough to find that he is one of those rare individuals who lives in a world that is exploding with possibility. He puts his life, his history, and his family into these carefully prepared dishes. Say the word passion, and his eyes sparkle.

And the menu that changes every week is only growing bolder. With the beginning of 2017, Chef Nottie introduced a cold menu to TUC. The first few dishes include Smoked Salmon on a Hoagie Roll, Blueberry Quinoa Salad,Bánh Mí, Norwegian Orzo Pasta Salad, and Rainbow Beet Salad. Things keep moving so frequently that it’s difficult for the kitchen to bring back fan favorites.

“I haven’t found any other place that serves all of these kinds of kosher foods,” Chef Nottie says. “No one ever did this here. This is a legacy to me.”

But Chef Nottie, who was also Sous Chef at Google for almost six years, is motivated by more than the possibilities of kosher cooking alone. He is a man who feels deeply for the community that comes about with every shared meal.

“Food connects all of us,” Chef Nottie reflects. “We have a very diverse student body here at Touro, and I want to make dishes that speak to everyone and remind them of home.”

Home is what started Chef Nottie on his culinary path. Warm smells of fried chicken cooked in cast iron and homemade sweet potato pie take him on a journey to his childhood home in Mississippi.

“Growing up, we didn’t have a lot,” Chef Nottie reveals in a tender moment. “Sitting down at the table and having a chance to eat was a sign of happiness.”

When Chef Nottie was supposed to be out playing football, he would run off to watch his mother as she prepared lunch or dinner.

The first meal that Chef Nottie ever prepared was when he was 8 and a half years old. He discovered how to make grilled cheese on his own. At first, she was upset that he had turned on the oven himself. But once she saw that her child’s grilled cheese wasn’t burnt, that it was good, she was nothing but proud of her son.

Now that he has won his mother over with his versions of gumbo and greens, this award winning veteran chef has finally garnered the honor of preparing family Thanksgiving dinners himself.

“Creating dishes like these is all about challenging yourself and not just treating it like it’s work,” Chef Nottie says. “To hear people talking about my dishes and show them what food can be is why I do what I do.”

20/20 Heart of the Anatomy Lab: Interview with David Eliot and Bruce Silverman

Since arriving on Mare Island in 1999, the TUC anatomy lab has been the foundation of every College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) and Physician Assistant (PA) student’s education. In the lab, students learn what tissues are like up close, opening up the path to a hands-on approach to healing. Mr. Bruce Silverman has been the Laboratory Manager and Instructor throughout the life of the lab. For him, the space is rich with the energy of attentive and caring students.

Bruce Silverman“Before coming here, I did animal research at Marine World Africa USA for eight years,” reveals Mr. Silverman. “I did stuff people dream about doing. I got to play with all of the animals. Afterwards, I never thought that I would get a job as cool as that.”

“It’s very rewarding for students to come back and say thank you for your hard work,” he continues. “They want to be here.”

Dr. David Eliot, Associate Professor of Basic Sciences and lead instructor for the PA and COM-Masters of Science in Medical Health Sciences (MSMHS) anatomy courses, was there with Mr. Silverman at the founding of the lab. With Dr. Walter Hartwig and Dr. Barbara Kriz, they saw to its establishment, step by step. Now looking back, Dr. Eliot can see not only what has enriched his 18 years of teaching at TUC, but how all their work made it happen.

“You can’t say it was all luck because that’s what we wanted,” offers Dr. Eliot. “We found a place that fits us. They chose to make TUC a student-centered university for those who want to deliver patient-centered care.”

Dr. David Eliot

The air in the lab cycles 22 times an hour. The circulation enters in from the ceiling and exits through the floor, helping remove the foul-smelling formaldehyde and phenol, which are heavier than air.

Endorsing the lab, Dr. James Binkerd, Associate Dean of Student Affairs says, “It’s by far the least toxic anatomy lab that I’ve ever been in.”

Almost TUC 250 students take anatomy each year. The cadavers are from volunteers who donated their remains through University of California San Francisco’s Willed Body program. The remains are cremated locally and then scattered at sea. Although the cadavers come to TUC without names or family history, a few Touro students or faculty volunteer to go on the boat each time to pay their final respects.

What comes from the sacrifices of these donors is not lost on Dr. Eliot.

He emphasizes, “It’s valuable to have a cadaveric anatomy experience, to know what tissues are like. It’s very important to a hands-on osteopathic education.”

Follow the rest of the 20/20 Anniversary Series at tu.edu/2020

GSOE & NapaLearns: Changing the Face of Education in Napa County

Education is constantly evolving and, along with the Touro University Graduate School of Education, NapaLearns supports Napa County teachers to become leaders of change. In six years of partnership, 116 teachers received over a half million dollars in funding to pursue their Master’s degree in Innovative Learning. Dr. Pamela Redmond, Chair of Graduate Studies at TUC, created the program to address the needs of 21st century learning. In return, NapaLearns Fellows are required to research local school challenges and explore how digital media and technology create new ways for students to engage with curricula.

Dr. Peg Maddocks, Executive Director of NapaLearns, is quick to share how Calistoga kindergarten teachers Pam Rubel and Martha McCoy (now retired) used iPads to enhance the acquisition of English for first-time English language learners.

“Pam and Martha were among the first teachers in Napa County to use iPads and the interactive reading program Footsteps2Brilliance in their classrooms. Their research demonstrated that English Learners were able to acquire a richer vocabulary in Spanish and English through the reinforcing games,” she says.

Dr. Redmond adds, “Were it not for the way our GSOE Master’s program immerses candidates in inquiry and project based learning through a culture of collaboration, communication and creativity, many teachers would not make the leap to new practices in their classroom. The program purposely creates a safe low-risk playground where teachers can experiment with new technologies and build connections to both their own teaching and their students’ learning before they bring those new ideas to their classrooms.”

Teachers are challenged to prepare their students for the world that will greet them after graduation, and knowing how to employ technology is a fundamental workforce skill. The goal isn’t to use technology for technology’s sake, but to choose the right tools to support students to practice 21st century workforce skills.

“The program is successful because the faculty at Touro is in touch with the latest strategies for teaching with technology in the 21st century. The curriculum is innovative but also practical—teachers are learning tools and practices that they can use immediately in their classrooms,” Dr. Maddocks explains.

NapaLearns’s goal to enhance the use of technology in the classroom is as much benefit to veteran teachers as it is new practitioners. For alumna Brenda Collins, a veteran science teacher in Napa, her time in the program was revitalizing.

“I was a 20-year veteran teacher ready to wind down and think about retirement,” she says. “Because of my master’s program, I am so totally energized about my teaching again – I can’t wait to explore new opportunities for learning with my kids.”

Beyond TUC's PA Program, Lauren Williams, CEHS ’14

After graduating from TUC’s Joint Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies and Master of Public Health program (MSPAS/MPH) in 2014 , Ms. Williams began work as a physician assistant (PA) at Petaluma Health Center. There she services a bilingual population and focuses on pediatric care and diabetes management. At TUC, she was the second Executive Director of the Student-Run Free Clinic, and spent much of her focus on HIV/AIDS treatment.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I grew up mostly in Seattle, went to college outside of Los Angeles, and ended up settling half way in between. Water played a big part in my life - I swam and played water polo through college and was a beach lifeguard for L.A. County in my 20's. I had little to no medical exposure as a child, but always knew I wanted to work in medicine.

What drove you to go to TUC’s PA Program?

My work experience before PA school was split 50/50 between public health and primary care, so I was sure that I wanted the dual degree. I was also really impressed with the thoroughness of the interview day - I could tell that Touro was doing their best to find the right fit for the program and not just picking people by the numbers. What I didn't realize before I joined TUC was how many amazing opportunities I'd have beyond the classroom, such as working with the student run free clinic, interacting with students from other disciplines, and going abroad for my public health field study.

Before graduating TUC, you put a lot of effort into addressing HIV/AIDS issues. What are some of the ways that you most help the Petaluma community now?

The HIV/AIDS and LGBTQI communities are small in the Petaluma area, so I chose to focus on something more relevant to my patient population, which is largely migrant, Spanish speaking, and pediatric. Obesity is a big issue in Sonoma County, and managing diabetes is a substantial part of my practice, so one of the things I'm most proud of is facilitating PHC's diabetes group in both English and Spanish. I educate patients about the disease and help them achieve better health through nutrition and other healthy habits - we even have cooking demonstrations and go for walks when the weather is nice.

After being in the field for a year I also developed an interest in improving medical practice through technology, so I became a clinical informatics specialist in addition to seeing patients. I love being able to help my provider community by creating tools to standardize our care according to the most up to date guidelines and by customizing our electronic record system to make our jobs easier.

One last question: What is something memorable about your experience at TUC?

I think it's the little things that I remember most - the camaraderie of long days and late nights studying, sharing in successes and failures. The intensity of the Touro PA program is something I will never forget, but despite how tough it was, I know that it made me a much stronger and better person.

Dining and Catering Updates for 2017

Dining and Catering Updates for 2017

Say goodbye to long lines!

We are upgrading to a new, faster connection to reduce wait times during lunch service. A new POS (Point of Sale) system will soon be implemented on campus.

DCS will be launching a reloadable TUC gift card later this year. Budget your lunches or give the gift of TUC lunch to someone. The ease of paying instantly means more time for your break or that you won’t be late for class.


Starting this week, California & Sweet Potato Rolls will be served every day in the grab and go section, be sure to get there early before they go!

Freshly Ground Coffee All Day Long

TUC is proud to present fair coffee access to all of our students. Late night study sessions and night classes now have a little (or big) pick me up available. Our campus continues to offer access to fresh coffee across campus.  Located in the Library, Lander Hall, Wilderman Hall, and Farragut Inn, the machines are available all hours the campus is open. They serve the best-selling roast of Pete’s Coffee in the Solano and Napa county area. Beans are ground the moment you place your order.

But these machines, serviced daily by our dining and catering staff, do more than just make a mean brew. Need a real jolt? You can make up to a triple espresso. Want hot water? Use the machine for a free pour. Something sweet? The machines offer a whole variety of chocolate and vanilla flavorings, even chocolate milk. Just can’t make a decision? Try out the triple decaf espresso.

So go over and give it a try!

But what exactly does kosher mean?

There is a lot more to running a kosher kitchen than not serving shellfish. The kitchens at TUC have three rooms: a red room for meat, a green room for vegetables, and a blue room for dairy. All of the utensils and cookware in each have corresponding color coded handles. There are specific rules in place that address moving food into different areas of the kitchen. To make sure that these boundaries remain intact, a Mashgiach (overseer) ensures the kashrut (dietary lawfulness) status of the kosher kitchen. A Mashgiach is always present in the kitchen on campus when food is being prepared. Maschgiachs are also the only people in the kitchen allowed to turn on or off a fire or burner. They are the ones who wash and check vegetables, ensure that meat and other ingredients are Kosher certified, and that our fish show kosher defined signs of fins and scales. But in addition to their duties, the TUC Mashgiachs also connect to our campus community by serving meals at lunch.

Dr. Nathalie Bergeron on her Research of Gut Microbiomes and Chronic Diseases

Nathalie BergeronA growing number of studies, both in animals and humans, have convincingly shown that alterations in the composition of the gut microbiome are associated with increased susceptibility to chronic diseases, namely obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The gut microbiome appears to be affected by what we eat, but our knowledge of the effect of dietary composition on gut microbial communities and ensuing metabolites is still emerging. Our 2-week dietary intervention showing changes in proportions of certain taxa with diets high in RS suggest that modifications to microbial community structure occur rapidly.

Compared with commonly consumed starches, resistant starches have limited digestion by alpha-amylases in the small intestine. As such these starches are often categorized as dietary fibers and have been viewed as favorable to health. Resistant starches are naturally present in foods such as whole or partly milled grains, seeds and legumes, raw potatoes and unripe bananas.

Our findings that resistant starches are associated with an increase in a novel gut-derived metabolite (TMAO) associated with risk of cardiovascular disease are contrary to what was expected.  Given the short term nature of our intervention, and the fact that RS were also associated with an improvement in acute glycemic control, we cannot conclude that the dietary effects on TMAO observed in our study would translate into changes in risk for CVD. We conclude that diets high in RS do not improve biomarkers of cardiometabolic health. Additional longer-term studies are needed to determine whether their place in our diets should be discouraged.

It is hoped that as we gain a broader understanding of the effect of diet on the gut micromiome, such knowledge can then guide dietary recommendations for achievement of optimal health. We are in the process of completing a longer term NIH funded trial comparing the effects of red meat vs. poultry vs. non-meat diets on biomarkers of cardiometabolic health. An ancillary aim of this study is to evaluate changes in gut microbial structure and related metabolites.               

Dr. Nathalie Bergeron is a Professor of Biological Sciences and Interim Associate Dean for Assessment and Curricular Innovation. Her paper, "Diets high in resistant starch increase plasma levels of trimethylamine N-oxide, a gut microbiome metabolite associated with cardiovascular disease risk", was recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Our Staff: Naisha Bible, Admissions Counselor

If you’re a student, then one of your first impressions of TUC might be meeting Naisha Bible. Naisha is the admissions counselor for incoming Physician Assistant (PA), independent Master of Public Health (MPH), and the College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Master of Science in Medical Health Sciences (COM MSMHS) students. She has a natural friendliness and energy that spreads to those around her. But more than that, she instills confidence and earnestness in others, just as her parents did with her.

What stands out to you about the PA, independent MPH, and COM’s MSMHS applicants? Is there a way that you can pick them out from a crowd?

This is a funny question, my PA students are generally very social and upbeat, MPH students are very inquisitive and ask a lot of questions, and the MSMHS students tend to be more serious. They are all great, but I can definitely pick the PA students out of a crowd as they tend to make themselves known a bit more. 

What’s the most rewarding or exciting part about working in admissions?

The most rewarding part to me would have to be working closely with students throughout their application process and finding out that they were accepted into our Program(s). I am always so excited for them and love seeing them achieve their goals. 

What are some of the biggest challenges that you face in the admissions process? How do you deal with them?

My biggest challenge is trying to prevent applicants from getting discouraged if they are not accepted. I try my hardest to uplift them and assure them that all of their hard work will eventually pay off and not to give up.

What do you like about the move to the new Walnut location?

I love the fact that the entire Student Services is located in one central area, making it so much easier for students to access all of us. It’s great being able to work so close with everyone in the different departments and our office space is so open and spacious.

Can you tell us a bit about family? In what ways do they shape who you are?

I have a large family and we are all very close. I’m the oldest and only girl of four siblings, and I’ve always felt that it was my job to be productive and successful in order to be a good role model for my brothers. My parents always told us to give 100% into everything we do, keep a positive and thankful attitude, and never give up until you reach your goals. This advice has always stuck with me and has helped shape my upbeat and fearless personality.

Where would we find you on the weekend? What are your interests outside of work?

Both of my kids are active in sports, so I am usually at their games cheering for them on the weekends. I also love to hike at Pena Adobe Park, the view is amazing and it’s a nice break from a busy week.