April 24, 2017 - The Record
In a richly decorated Farragut Inn, community members gathered on April 5th to celebrate and support TUC’s Mosaic Celebration: Diversity Scholarship. The scholarship was founded to help build a diverse learning community here at TUC, recognizing that doing so strengthens all aspects of our campus, enriches the lives of the people we serve, and better prepares our students to live in a global world. The scholarship is also designed to help encourage students to use their degrees to improve the health and education of poor and disenfranchised communities both locally and abroad.
The 2017 scholarship recipients expressed their thanks and shared what the scholarship means to them. They were each selected for being beacons of leadership in their schools, and their stories of overcoming personal hardship to get to where they are today are an inspiration to us all.
In the words of one of the recipients, Evelyn Martinez-Salazar, COM 2018 , “Growing up I never knew any Hispanic physicians, and with an increasing Hispanic population the need for Spanish-speaking physicians is more of a necessity than ever. My goal is to be one more Spanish-speaking, Hispanic primary care physician who understands the complexities of treating a Hispanic population. Receiving this scholarship demonstrates that my program supports people like me, minority students who above all adversity, never give up.”
Over 150 people were in attendance at the fundraiser. Emcee Megan Telles of ABC Sacramento’s “Morning Blend” guided the evening’s events, which had a wide range of silent auction items as well as an exciting live auction and raffle. Baseball Hall of Fame's Orlando Cepeda of the San Francisco Giants could not arrive due to illness. The money raised by the event will go towards next year’s scholarship recipients.
Also sold in the silent auction was a specially made local artist series to commemorate this year’s Mosaic Celebration, titled Serving the Underserved. Six area artists re-purposed serving trays into canvases on which they created their own visions of diversity. To view the series, visit: https://advancement.tu.edu/diversity2017/artists
For upholding TUC’s spirit and mission in the state and area communities, the 2017 Mosaic Achievement Award was given to William Jahmal Miller, MPH and Deputy Director of the Office of Health Equity, California Department of Public Health. In his speech, Mr. Miller grounded the event in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King and in a touching moment, he thanked his parents who were there to laugh and smile with him. The award was presented by Shelley Berkley, CEO and Senior Provost, and Marilyn Hopkins, Provost and COO.
Also recognized that evening was Jim O’Connor, Dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences (CEHS). In honor of initiating the first set of diversity scholarships at TUC, CEHS will dedicate a 5th scholarship next year in his honor.
Just like a mosaic, the work of these scholarships is built up piece by heavy piece. When the pieces come together, each tile turns into something greater. We start to bring out the best in each other.
Thank you to all of our sponsors and everyone who made A Mosaic Celebration: Diversity Scholarship Fundraiser such a success! You make this vibrant mosaic possible.
The Mosaic 2017 Diversity Scholarship Recipients:
College of Education and Health Sciences:
Taurean Gibson, Graduate School of Education
Luz Hernandez, School of Nursing
Sagar Rana, MSPAS/MPH Program
Steven Sha, Public Health Program
College of Osteopathic Medicine:
College of Pharmacy:
The Public Health Program held its 10th Annual Public Health Hero Awards on April 20th, honoring students, alumni, and members of the community for their outstanding leadership on public health issues, community service, and public health research. Each hero was recognized for their intense desire to reduce health disparities and fight for social justice. Shelley Berkley, Senior Provost and CEO, Gayle Cummings, CEHS Assistant Dean and Public Health Program Director, and Elena Lingas, Assistant Program Director of the Public Health Program, all spoke to personally thank the honorees for their extraordinary work.
Superior Court Judge Craig Mitchell addressed the crowd as the keynote speaker. Judge Mitchell presides over felony trial court in Los Angeles where he primarily handles cases that carry a life sentence. He grounded the significance of the honorees’ work in an unflinching perspective.
“If you subscribe to the notion that human weakness and frailty is going to direct our lives, you end up resigning to cynicism and pessimism. Ralph Ellison wrote in Invisible Man that ‘humanity is won by continuing to play in the face of certain defeat’. The people in this room embody that posture. All the honorees here tonight reject cynicism. This evening we are honoring people for their unwavering commitment to achieve,” he said.
Judge Mitchell himself commits to the embetterment of others by guiding the recovery of former addicts through The Midnight Mission Running Club on Skid Row. Three days each week he runs with the participants at 5:30 in the morning. He has taken runners to participate in marathons in Ghana, Rome, and Vietnam. The program is designed to instill discipline and a sense of achievement for those who are trying to recover, and it provides a support network for all of its members.
The 2017 Student Public Health Heroes are Diana DeVore, COP/MPH 2018, and Matthew Mussleman, COM/MPH 2020. The first of her family to go to college, Ms. DeVore is active in the Hispanic Community where she has worked in clinics like Clinica Tepati in Sacramento and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. Mr. Mussleman is fully engaged in many of the organizations here at TUC and will soon engage in a Global Health field study in Chiapas, Mexico. His Global Health Capstone Project focuses on access to potable water.
Lien Le, MPH 2014, and Felicia Ma, MSPAS/MPH 2014, are the Alumni Public Health Heroes selected for their work at LifeLong Medical Care in Emeryville. Together they opened the 29th school-based health center in Alameda County where Ms. Le is now Clinic Supervisor. The clinic provides medical and dental services as well as preventative care through school-wide screenings and health education to students TK-12 in Emery Unified School District. Ms. Ma now precepts TUC students for their public health field study where they develop and implement health education programs for high school students with a focus on prevention, nutrition counseling, and sexual health education.
Obie Anthony and Ignacio Hernández Esq. are also recognized as Public Health Heroes for their tireless work to pass Obie’s Law, which ensures that exonerees from prison receive up to one year of transitional services, including job training, housing assistance, and mental health services. After serving 17 years in jail for a murder that he did not commit, Mr. Anthony became the founder and president of Exonerated Nation, which offers support services to help exonerees transition back into society. Mr. Hernández is the founder of the Hernández Strategy Group and has served as a Chief of Staff in both the California State Assembly and California State Senate. As an attorney, he represents clients in employment discrimination, wage theft, and criminal cases.
“I really needed this tonight,” said Mr. Hernández, “because in that building, there aren’t too many of us fighting for social justice. But here in this room tonight, people are.”
The award ceremony took place on the anniversary of the day that Mr. Anthony was wrongfully arrested. Today Mr. Anthony says that he is a man fully committed to service.
“I want to give that over someone else,” he said passionately.
My name is Zachary Shapiro, and I’m the Compliance Officer and Attorney for Touro University California and Touro University Nevada. I was born and raised in New Jersey and went to College and Law School in New York. I worked for Touro College in New York for three years before coming out to California to support this campus. I’ve been married for 8 years and have a mouthy 7-year old Beagle to show for it. I’m responsible for everything compliance related on campus, from contracts and employment/student matters, to financial aid and real estate. You name it, I do it.
What’s the most rewarding part about working in TUC’s Compliance?
Working in TUC’s Compliance Office has been a rewarding experience for several reasons, chief of which is that I get to make sure that our students, our campus, and our mission remains unthreatened from outside hindrances. It’s a great feeling knowing that your work directly impacts the continuing successes of our students and our campus.
What’s one of the biggest challenges that you face in Compliance? How do you deal with it?
One of the biggest challenges in Compliance is making sure that the work gets done in a timely and orderly fashion. Since Compliance supports each and every single department on campus and in the Touro University System as a whole, the workload can be overwhelming at times. I’ve learned to prioritize and triage matters as they come in to my office, and I rely on the various stakeholders to send me gentle reminders if something falls through the cracks.
Who would be the best superhero to do compliance?
Probably Professor X. He seems like he would have the brainpower to get the job done, and done well. Also, considering I spend a lot of time sitting at my desk, he wouldn’t be fazed by the sedentary nature of the position.
How has adjusting to West Coast culture been?
Oh man. The West Coast is so different from the East Coast. Aside from having to familiarize myself with an entirely new set of laws and regulations, I’ve had to adjust to the different personalities and ways of thinking out here. In New York, people tend to wear their emotions on their sleeves and be more “in your face” with their attitudes. Out here, I’ve found that the people are a lot more laid back, and are not as forthcoming with their emotions. I tend to think that I’m a straight shooter who tells it like it is, and that type of approach doesn’t really mesh out here. However, that’s not to say that I don’t enjoy it out here. It’s definitely been nice not to have to own a shovel or a winter coat!
Can you tell us a bit about your family? How do they shape who you are?
My family has always been close. My parents instilled on me and my two brothers a sense of loyalty and family when we were growing up. I try to keep in touch with them as often as I can, whether through calls, texts, or IMs. My parents also made sure that my education extended outside of the classroom. My brothers and I each played several musical instruments, and were introduced to classic movies, television, and music to help us become more well-rounded. I think that helped make me a more dynamic individual.
Where would we find you on the weekend? What are your interests outside of work?
This is a tough one. During the week, it’s tough to have outside interests because I don’t get home until late, and when I do, I just like to melt into my couch with my dog and watch some sports. On the weekend, my wife and I like to explore different bars, restaurants, and other social spots with our budding group of friends in the area. I also enjoy just hanging out and playing board games, card games, and video games. No one ever taught me how to be an adult, and I don’t plan on starting anytime soon!
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