February 13, 2017 - The Record

20/20 Series - Our Osteopathic Foundation: An Understanding of the Osteopathic Mission

A look back at TUC’s 20 year history shows that one thing has stayed the same at the College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM): its mission. The school was founded on the commitment to produce doctors who are fully trained in the osteopathic approach to medicine and who address the need for primary care. These are words that people live and breathe at TUC, and they bear a deeper moment of reflection as we look both in the mirror and towards our future in the 20/20 Series.

The growing need for primary care is twofold. The successes of healthcare in the US mean that there will be a larger aging population. But longer living entails illness alongside aging. The issues that will tax our elderly will be small and constant, leading more patients to go in for basic care needs than they do surgeries. Compound these advancements with the fact that the baby boomer generation is growing older, and it becomes apparent that the current number of primary care doctors simply cannot meet the needs of these people alone without more young doctors to come in and help.

omtOsteopathic medicine is uniquely suited for primary care. Both look for a long-term approach to health. Osteopathic medicine trains doctors to see the entire picture of a person’s health. And it takes an investment from both parties to achieve that. Any number of factors can stand in the way of success in a patient’s primary care. As a patient, making lasting change in your life is not as easy as is writing off what the doctor asks you to do. Patients need to trust their physician and listen to take something to heart, and making sure that they are listened to is the best way to ensure that. We need doctors whom patients want to come back to see for their next appointments, and those who feel inspired to make lasting changes in the lives of others are usually those who are best equipped to do it.

Osteopathic medicine stresses the achievement of health. It considers how disease affects the entire body and then works to assist the body in its own efforts to fight disease. One of the characteristic tools at its disposal is osteopathic manipulative treatment, which restores the body by readjusting it. Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) builds trust between doctor and patient and non-invasively pushes patients towards health.  

At its core OMT appreciates diversity within and across patient populations.  In 1892, the first school of osteopathic medicine was the first of any medical school to have an anti-discrimination policy. Principles of inclusiveness and finding strength in diversity constitute the spirit of the osteopathic profession to this day, and the benefits of that are felt especially in underserved populations.

The field of osteopathic medical education has seen a great amount of growth due to its high output of primary care and patient-based physicians. TUC COM was the 2nd osteopathic medical school founded on the west coast and the 18th in the country. Now at 44, the number of schools has more than doubled in 20 years.

To continue to address the need for more patient-based physicians, TUC COM has built its training program on leading at a state and national level. Its students are also committed. In fact, they currently compose 25% of the 2017 graduate training positions in osteopathic manipulative treatment (formally called neuromusculoskeletal medicine). And it is the same spirit of leadership that enables TUC’s doctors of osteopathic medicine to make a real impact in the communities that they go out to serve.

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

 Giving Them a Reason to Make Sure Their Grammar Is Correct: Lisa Gottfried, CEHS ‘16

GottfriedLisa Gottfried, CEHS ‘16, teaches 3D Design and Game Design Principles at New Tech High School in Napa. Before that, she owned and operated a video production company and homeschooled her children. Her recent capstone project for the Innovative Learning program in TUC’s Graduate School of Education engaged her students to begin blogging. She is now pushing them to create a series of board games that teach others about various mental health issues with the goal to spread awareness and de-stigmatize mental health.

Could you describe your capstone project in the GSOE Innovative Learning program?

My capstone project involved helping students to understand how to use blogging as a means for reflecting, documenting and teaching others about the learning they do at school.  The theory I have always had is that we can elevate student thinking by providing authentic writing experiences that will help them as they move into the world of college and career.  Blogs can help students to connect with experts out in the field, allow them to showcase learning to other teachers and learners in order to provide a portfolio of work, as well as to provide a platform for teaching others what they have learned.  

One student who shared her thoughts on collaboration on her blog allowed me to promote her post on social media.  After over 300 hits to her article, her response to me was perfect, "I guess I better get my resume up there as soon as possible and clean up my About Me page! And it's time to put up my gallery of photographs!"  

This is exactly what I hoped would happen.  Now she has a reason to look and sound professional online.  She now sees value on putting her best foot forward to an authentic audience of potential employers instead of just to please her teacher.  Now she has a reason to make sure her grammar is correct, her site is visually pleasing and she has something of substance to write about.  

How is teaching new media different from conventional classroom topics?

Teaching Digital Media is a bit different than teaching the core curriculum.  My subject matter falls under Career Tech Education and I'm equivalent to a shop teacher, or other subject matter such as Nursing, Culinary, and Auto body. My focus tends more toward career readiness than college readiness, (although many would argue that one needs to have skills in the Digital field whether the next step is college or career.)  Many of the things I teach in Digital Media include the direct application of reading, writing and math skills.  I teach storytelling, persuasive writing, documentation, algebraic solutions to digital computing, geometry and 3 Dimensional thinking, procedural writing and so much more. 

Students who struggle in other academic areas can often thrive in one of my classes. I try to find a way to engage every learner in something that interests them directly, as long as they are learning the technical skills to become proficient with the many digital design applications that we use.  It is compelling to be able to make your own motion graphic, or trace your favorite cartoon character with the pen tool and then animate it, or turn your original painting into a 3 dimensional movie.  For me, there has to be a coolness factor about each one of my projects.  I want people to come in, see finished work and say "That's so cool! How did you do that?"  And all the while, I know that I've also snuck reading, writing and math into the creative process.

How do you feel that homeschooling has helped you at New Tech High School?

Interestingly enough, coming from a homeschooling background has offered me great insight into the concept of personalized learning, a direction that education seems to be headed.  I homeschooled my first kid because traditional school was just not going to work for him, and then had so much fun that my second kid came along for the ride.  I have seen effective learning happen in ALL forms in my house and really had to understand the needs of a kinesthetic, auditory, and visual learner.

Read more about Mrs. Gottfried’s time in the Innovative Learning Program here: 


College of Osteopathic Medicine Faculty MemberReceives National Science Foundation Grant to Study Human Origins and Evolution

Researchers have long sought to understand the origins and evolution of the human lineage. The fossil evidence tells us that our ancestors were an anatomically diverse group and nowhere is this diversity more apparent than in the parts of the skull and face involved in feeding. To better understand the selective pressures that led to evolutionary changes in skull form during early human evolution, Dr. Andrea Taylor is studying the biomechanical link between feeding behavior, diet and skull form in two fossil species of early humans that likely represent our earliest ancestors.  

TaylorDr. Taylor, who recently joined the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Touro University, is collaborating with a team of international experts from Arizona State University, the University of Chicago, the University of Missouri and the American Museum of Natural History. The research team, funded by the National Science Foundation, brings together their expertise in paleontology, paleoecology, comparative anatomy and experimental biology to ask fundamental questions about how extinct populations of early humans behaved in their natural landscapes.  Because it is never possible to observe how extinct species behaved in their natural habitat, the researchers will use an engineering approach called finite element analysis to model and test form-function relationships in the musculoskeletal system of extinct species and in their closest living relatives, the apes.

They hope to yield new insights into how changes in feeding behavior and diet transformed our anatomy across time. Part of their funding will go towards working with primary and secondary teachers to develop educational tools designed to help students learn about their own evolutionary history.  Armed with a unique collection of 3D models of rare fossil specimens, they hope to attract the next generation of students to a career in the science of human evolution!   

Our Staff: Rachel Ybanez

ybanezRachel Ybanez is the lead medical assistant administrative coordinator for the Student Health Center. This April marks her 4th year with Touro University California. She assists the Director of Student Health, Dr. Lisa Messina, in providing health care to students, ordering supplies for the center, and answering emails for the general box. She also is instrumental in partnering with clinical education departments to help get TUC students out on clinical rotations. With the class of 2017 about to graduate, she is ready to see her first group of COM students through from start to finish. Ms. Ybanez sees every student who enrolls in TUC at least once to provide them care and exemplary service. 

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

I especially enjoy creating relationships with students and watching them flourish as professionals.  The most rewarding part of my position is being able to take part in a student’s successful outcome.  When I first joined the team I thought it would be like working in any other medical office but, it has really developed into much more for me.   Yes, it is also rewarding to provide care to someone who is ill! It’s my professional mission to lead by example.  My greatest reward is watching classes of students walk across the stage at graduation happy, HEALTHY, and ready to take on their roles as health professionals.

 How are TUC students different from your average patient?

TUCA students are in great health.  They are genuinely motivated to stay fit and maintain healthy lifestyles.  This makes it much easier on us!  TUCA is a learning environment and that plays out at the Student Health Center also.  They are eager to ask questions and absorb information we give them about their health. 

 Have you had any bizarre patient interactions with screenings or needles? 

I have to pass on this one… HIPPA Violation.  Lol :-).

 How has moving to the new Student Health Center made your life easier?

We are so grateful to have a new spacious facility where we can provide the confidentiality and care our students deserve.

 Can you tell us a bit about your family and how they shape who you are?

I am a working fulltime mother of 4, one of who is a teenager.  So with that said I think I deserve an award.  Often I believe being a mother gives me a more nurturing approach to my job.

 Where would we find you on the weekend?

My weekends I spend mostly at softball tournaments with my daughter who plays competitive travel ball and spending time with my family, friends and my two dogs.