In this Issue
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TUC has begun the process of increasing campus security with the development of 24/7 door locks at the entrance of every building on campus. The campus community will have access to buildings with the swipe of their TUC ID badges.
So be like the bull! All students, faculty, and staff should wear their ID badges at all times.
Lock system begins on March 11!
Tami Hendriksz, DO, Associate Dean of Clinical Education in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, was named one of nineInspiring Faculty of 2018 in the Touro College and University System (TCUS). Dr. Hendriksz, herself a 2006 alumna of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, was recognized from among the over 2,300 faculty members throughout TCUS due to the passion of the students who nominated her, stressing that she not only made them better future clinicians, but better and more capable individuals.
“Dr. Hendriksz is a shining example of what a medical educator should be," wrote one of Dr. Hendriksz's students for her nomination. "She advocates for her patients and students alike. She is well respected by all who meet her. She does not settle for the way that things have always been done, but strives to improve medical education as a whole."
Read about Dr. Hendriksz and the other Inspiring Faculty of 2018 here.
Congratulations to Dr. Hendriksz!
At the start of the academic year, a position was created in response to student advocacy at Touro. The Diversity and Inclusion Office, led by Director Devon Lee, provides professional development in diversity education, recruits more diverse students, and works directly with students to promote inclusion on campus and in TUC’s community outreach.
The work to do this stretches in many directions. Mr. Lee presents workshops on diverse issues and advises the newly founded Black Interprofessional Student Organization; Latino Medical Student Association; and the Rainbow Health Coalition. He and others are also building partnerships with Morehouse, Spellman, and Clark Atlanta Universities—institutions created specifically to produce agents of transformation—so that our healthcare profession represents the communities they serve. It is Mr. Lee’s hope that building these opportunities will carry that legacy to Touro’s mission.
“We need to create inclusive practices that situate actors to transform the spaces around them to be more inclusive,” he said.
His work also extends into the community by working with organizations to promote conversations around diversity and equity in Solano County, such as establishing Race Equity training that is eligible for Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits.
“There is a passion that drives the people who come to this campus that I think centers around the value of social justice,” reflects Mr. Lee.
Over 200 area high school students will arrive at TUC on Monday, January 28th for the 2019 Teen Life Conference! This year’s theme is “Beyond All Limits: Mind, Body, Energy”. For those of you who don’t know, Teen Life Conference is a campus-wide forum to empower local teens about healthy living, positive lifestyle choices, and careers in health care.
With participation from a wide range of campus organizations including the Emergency Medicine Interest Group, Industry Pharmacists Organization, and the PA Club, we strive to enrich local high school students’ health education and inspire them to explore their dreams within the health care field. Our campus organizations will introduce high school students of different aspects of health care and the many paths available to successfully become a health care professional. Clubs can register for a table for the opportunity to teach students how to maintain their health and the health of others.
We’ll challenge the students to channel their energy in workshops demonstrating Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment and an interactive discussion regarding overcoming disparities that high school students may face. And last but not least, we’ll challenge their physical abilities with a yoga session led by Integrative Medicine Club, a rock climbing wall, and an outdoor obstacle course.
Kimberly Bohnert, College of Pharmacy Class of 2019
From coordinating medication with physicians and nurses to discovering what pills a patient is taking on their own, Kimberly Bohnert, student doctor of pharmacy class of 2019, is experiencing firsthand what it means to be pharmacist. Having grown up in a family of mom and pop pharmacists, Ms. Bohnert says that she always felt that she had a place in pharmacy, and after ten years of teaching high school biology in San Mateo, she decided that it was time to change careers and answer the lingering question of “what if?”
As she completes her second year of clinical rotations, Ms. Bohnert is beginning to see who she is in the role of the pharmacist. She has gained experience that ranges from neighborhood pharmacies to hospitals and emergency medicine.
“It helped me to really understand how the role of the pharmacist is right there on the front lines,” said Ms. Bohnert of her emergency room rotation in east Oakland, “being part of the action with the doctors, surgeons, and nurses, anticipating what drugs will be needed and discussing the next course of action.”
But for Ms. Bohnert, those front lines are not just about facing trauma and the ability to make the quick, correct decision. Ensuring that a patient in recovery pays zero dollars for their medication is just as important—a skill that she’s honed at another rotation at the Walgreens pharmacy at University of California San Francisco
Ms. Bohnert starts by running a test claim on a patient’s medication to see what gets rejected by insurance. She then calls the physician for an explanation as to why the patient requires that specific medication and cannot take a replacement. By filling in the necessary paperwork between the patient’s recovery and discharge, Ms. Bohnert is able to alleviate much if not all of the financial burden of medication.
“It takes a lot of work to make sure that patients are fully covered for their medication,” explains Ms. Bohnert. “But it’s well worth it.”
Now on her final year of the College of Pharmacy’s uniquely designed 2+2 program, which entails two years of didactic study and two years of clinical rotations, she feels prepared, and it shows.
“In the first year, you’re so nervous and unsure of yourself,” said Ms. Bohnert. “But as that second year unravels, you realize that you’ve grown into something that is more confident. You make decisions quicker and begin to engage with your preceptors as people. The additional year of experience really makes the difference.”
As a young girl in Iran, Monir Tofangsazan, MPH, remembers being her family’s “healthcare helper”. She would help take her father’s blood pressure at 12 years old, and blood panels were something that she loved to go through and understand. One of her other jobs was to speak with her father’s healthcare providers and help see that their advice was followed at home.
“That part of my childhood has been an integral part of me,” Ms. Tofangsazan reflects fondly. “I knew I never wanted to be in something like engineering. I always look at public health as preventative medicine. Through its practice, we can prevent things at their root cause.”
Encouraged by her mother to pursue health services, Ms. Tofangsazan came to the United States for college, later enrolling in TUC’s Public Health Program. At Touro, she seized the opportunity to research iron deficiency anemia among women of reproductive age in Jimma, Ethiopia. On her field study, she conducted health education workshops that covered HIV and STD prevention, nutrition, and preventing the spread of infectious diseases.
“I have been life-long friends with the people I worked with in Africa,” she said. “My Touro education helped me recognize my leadership potential. In addition, it prepared me in my job to interact with people from different cultures, and it increased my capacity to understand the needs of effective healthcare.”
As Program Coordinator of Employee Health Services at Kaiser East Bay, Ms. Tofangsazan creates opportunities to promote health on a larger scale, seeking out the gaps in daily operations in Occupational Medicine and Pain Management to ensure that patients receive the education they need to catch diseases early.
Meeting one-on-one with the Medical Assistants and Licensed Dietician/Nutritionists who see patients, Ms. Tofangsazan finds ways to improve work flow and promote screenings. She also ensures that patients hear about the free services for which they may be eligible, at times translating program materials into Farsi for immigrant communities.
“It’s about helping people realize the emotional and financial burden they can avoid for their families if these things are caught faster,” said Ms. Tofangsazan. “That really helps them to visualize the importance of what you are saying.”
At the start of the academic year, TUC offered fellowships thanks to the donors and sponsors of the Mosaic Diversity Fundraiser. We asked the recipients to describe their previous work in social justice and what brought them to TUC.
Brian Xieu, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine/MPH Class of 2022
“After graduation, I taught and tutored middle school and high school students in south Chicago for a couple months. Working and living in disadvantaged areas has shown me that it is a lack of reasonable opportunity and not personal shortcomings that hold many people back. And I believe that education must be improved in underserved areas.”
“Service, leadership, and education are top core values at Touro, and these are values I want to bring to underserved communities.”
Sammy Cheuk, Joint MSPAS/MPH Program Class of 2021
Desiree Miranda, MPH, Class of 2020
“As Vallejo City Unified School District’s (VCUSD) Nutrition Education Obesity Prevention Program Coordinator, I am actively involved in addressing and reducing childhood obesity through a social justice lens by empowering and educating others about the meaning of healthy eating and active living.
“Being born and raised in Vallejo, I witness first-hand how food politics, social, and economic factors can greatly impact the health of students and their families, contributing to the rise of obesity and chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
Janis Ho, MPH, Class of 2020
“Before coming to Touro, I helped examine cognitive impairment among Vietnamese female nail workers in Northern California. Nail workers are constantly exposed to harmful chemicals in nail products known to cause cancer, reproductive problems, and cognitive impairment, but they continue to work in these adverse environments for financial security.”
“I like that Touro is committed to reducing health disparities and inequities and values its diverse student body. I wanted to be part of a diverse student body where multiple perspectives can be heard and I can learn from my peers.”
In Celebration of Chanukah, Richard Riemer, DO, Senior Associate Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, lights the menorah with Rabbi Elchonon Tenenbaum.
“At Chanukah, we remember how through pure conviction and with the will to preserve
their religion a small, ill-equipped group of people were able to overcome a much
larger and better equipped army. Today, the spirit of Chanukah reminds us how we are
not held back by the standards that the world puts on us and that there’s no limit
to what we can do.” – Rabbi Elchonon Tenenbaum
As we celebrate a new year, many hopes and aspirations abound for what can be in 2019. In order to plan for 2019, it is important to understand and reflect on what has occurred previously to set the foundation for our future endeavors.
Since the inception of the osteopathic profession, there has been a continued internal dialogue within its ranks and to a lesser extent an external dialogue with the public in general, as to its unique, distinctive and distinguishing role within the healthcare system.
G = Global Health
R = Research
O = Osteopathic manipulative medicine and Obesity
U = hand-held Ultrasound
P = Public Health
I = Inter-professionalism
E = Empathy
Given the lack of hard evidence-based outcomes demonstrating the osteopathic difference, the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in California (TUCOM -CA) initiated a prospective outcome based program in 2010 whose objective is to show what may distinguish TUCOM graduates. The acronym GROUPIE represents seven distinct and measureable outcomes that can help define the unique and distinctive skills of our graduates that will distinguish them as healthcare providers. Although none of these individually are unique to TUCOM-CA, when combined we hope they will continue to demonstrate an osteopathic difference that will ultimately enhance patient adherence to medical advice, improving quality outcomes, boosting practice efficiency while reducing cost by enriching communication throughout the entire health care system.
The first outcomes from our GROUPIE efforts were published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA) in August 2017. This was followed by a second round of manuscripts recently published in the November 2018 JAOA. Combined these articles highlight outcomes in each of the GROUPIE categories that are helping shape our students and graduates into osteopathically distinctive physicians who are better prepared to address the issues confronting societal health care needs within the house of medicine as we move into the future. So looking forward to 2019 we have much to look forward to as we continue to move toward a collective campus-wide goal of making a difference in our world through constant, persistent and collaborative improvements in all our programs.
Roshni Kakaiya, College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) Doctoral Candidate for the Class of 2019, was named COM’s 2018 Student DO of the Year. Ms. Kakaiya stood out to the selection committee because of her active work in the community at the Student-Run Free Clinic, Diabetes Prevention Program, and Elsa Widenmann Elementary School Pediatric Clinic. She has also been inducted by her peers into the Gold Humanism Award Society as an exemplar of empathy, compassion, respect, altruism, and integrity.
Can you tell us about who you are?
My family is Indian by ancestry, but both of my parents were born and raised in Kenya. My mother moved to San Diego to finish her undergraduate and graduate degree, and lucky for me, my parents never left. I majored in Gender & Women’s Studies and Hispanic Studies at Scripps College while taking all of the premedical requirements necessary to apply to medical school. In my free time, I love dancing salsa and bachata. I am an avid reader and a serial book-recommender. In fact, my best friend and I co-run an Instagram (@literary.lovers) where we post recommendations of what we are currently reading! I am a huge podcast nerd, and love anything storytelling, comedy, or Harry Potter related.
What was your reaction on being named SDOY?
I was honestly shocked and so excited! It is such an honor to be nominated by my peers, and then chosen from a group of such talented individuals. Overall this has been such an incredibly affirming experience. Thank you to all those who nominated me!
What does empowering a patient mean to you?
An underlying thread throughout my interests before and during medical school is the concept of patient autonomy. I know this isn’t the “flashiest” of terms, and as medical students, we are taught this within the context of ethics in medicine. I believe that especially as a family physician, my role is not only to advocate for my patients and their autonomy, but also to educate and empower them to fully understand what they are being autonomous about. I do not consider a successful encounter to be a patient who is “compliant” with their medications without understanding why they are taking their pills. My success stories will be my patients who take ownership over their own health, and are self-motivated for reasons made abundantly clear to them during our visits.
What’s next for you?
I am currently applying and interviewing at Family Medicine residency programs, and I am looking forward to seeing what my future will hold!
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