May 22, 2017 - The Record

MOBEC: The First Month on the Road

MOBEC Anne Lee Deanna DickeyMaybe you’ve seen it? The Mobile Diabetes Education Center (MOBEC) has been on the go across Solano County since its launch in March. To date, 175 visitors from the age of 22 to 92 have come to experience the MOBEC’s services thus far. But more than half are not aware of whether or not they have diabetes.

In 2014, 36% of Solano County hospitalized patients had diabetes. Solano County has had the second highest rate of diabetes in hospitalized patients in California with an estimated 110,000 obese adults and at least 22,000 people with diabetes.

The MOBEC provides direct diabetes prevention programs and diabetes education services for people in Solano County by traveling into the community and providing a safe and reliable space for visitors to participate in the Diabetes Prevention Program.

Anne Lee, MEd, RD, CDE, is Diabetes Program Coordinator. Deanna Dickey is MOBEC Driver and Coordinator. Together they’re the face of TUC’s latest in diabetes prevention.

Where have you gone out to the community so far?

Deanna Dickey:

We have gone out to various locations in Solano County.

The City of Rio Vista Senior Center  –  Rio Vista
The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Community Center  –  Suisun City
Solano Public Health, Circle of Friends Mental Health Fair  –  Fairfield
Sutter Hospital Nurses Week  –  Vallejo
Lander Hall Research Days  –  Touro University California – Vallejo

Since the MOBEC went public, what kind of reaction are you getting?

Deanna Dickey:

The reaction from the community and county has been ecstatic and full of excitement. Everyone has been in amazement that so many would come together to have free community service like this for all to utilize. They have loved the educational materials and answers we can provide them when we visit. As we have just started to scratch the surface, by July we will have a running schedule of locations that MOBEC will be at.

The facilities that want us to come and provide screenings and education material have been so elated that this exists, and the overwhelming acceptance and desire for the MOBEC to return has been tremendous.

We are so excited to provide be a part of this education and service to the community. It fills the heart knowing more can be checked and helped. Normally many are not able to afford diabetes care or know where they can go to receive this type of service.

Anne Lee:

MOBEC has been very popular in the community! Visitors have been telling us how much they appreciate Touro University in making an effort to bring Diabetes education and screening services to the community where the services are most needed. Students are enjoying the experience of performing blood glucose checks for Solano County residents while chatting about Diabetes self-care management. The most common question being asked by our visitors is, "When are you coming back?"

How do you see the future of MOBEC?

Anne Lee:

MOBEC will be the go-to education center for anyone interested in learning more about diabetes. We are looking forward to bringing Diabetes Prevention Program, Diabetes Empowerment and Education Program, Dia-BEAT-it (exercise class), research projects, and cooking demos onboard with us to take to the communities that we serve. We are adding more locations by the week and hope to reach Solano County populations that have the most need.

Captain Kamal Kalsi, COM ‘05

The Fight to Become the First Sikh to Receive Religious Accommodation in the Army

Kamal KalsiKamal Kalsi’s grandmother, Maya, was about six years old when India's partition created the largest mass migration of people in history. Political rhetoric had inflamed the masses and divided neighbors, friends, and communities. Maya saw her own family murdered by an angry mob. She wandered hungry, alone, and scared for days before a passing family mercifully took her in as their own. Kalsi’s family has faced political upheaval and hardship for generations.

Kalsi was only two years old when his family immigrated to the United States. He was the only Sikh child in his elementary school. At a young age, he learned how to become an ambassador for his faith. He graduated high school with the ambition of becoming a doctor someday, but he also wanted to serve in the military as three generations of his family had done before him.

"My girlfriend ran into a recruiter that handed her a flyer for a little known medical school, and she brought it to me. It was the only medical school I applied to, and I was frankly shocked when I got an acceptance letter."

The day in medical school that Kalsi remembers the most fondly is the day that he took an oath to be an Officer in the U.S. Army. But he was given an ultimatum after graduating as a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine in 2005. The Army told him to remove his religiously mandated turban, shave his beard, and comply with uniform guidelines; otherwise he would have to leave.

Kalsi says he fights best when he's the underdog. It took him nearly a year and a half of paperwork and going up the chain of command. He lobbied Congress and with the help of the Sikh Coalition, he garnered nearly 50 Congressional signatures on a letter to the Secretary of Defense asking him to allow Kalsi to serve with his articles of faith. During that time, nearly 15,000 petitioners signed a similar letter demanding that the Department of Defense allow Kalsi to serve.

In 2009, Captain Kalsi became the first Sikh to be granted a religious accommodation that allowed him to wear his religiously mandated turban and beard while in uniform. The precedent opened the doors to similar accommodations for Jews, Muslims, and other faith groups. Kalsi is proud that he was able to enact change not just for himself, but for all service-members who value faith.

"I saw no reason why I had to choose between my faith and service to my nation,” he explains. “I showed that I could wear a gas mask and get a good seal. I could wear a helmet and do my job with my articles of faith. When I took care of casualties of war in Afghanistan, nobody cared what I looked like. The soldiers just wanted the best medical care possible, and we provided that."

For his efforts on the front lines, Kalsi was awarded a Bronze Star Medal.

"The military has taught me about leadership, problem-solving, and organization. It's also shown me things I wish I could forget, but I'm grateful for all of it,” reflects Kalsi.

Kalsi has saved lives in the most dire of situations.

"I've treated soldiers with terrible blast injuries, tried resuscitating victims once their limbs have been blown off or severed. We gave each patient 150 percent of our efforts and then some. On two occasions, we were able to revive patients who were clinically dead on arrival,” Kalsi tells.

But Kalsi didn’t do all this is alone.

"Life has taken me through many twists and unexpected turns. It certainly wasn't planned, but when look back on it,” he says, “it certainly feels like I had some help."

Our Staff: Dr. Drew Scott

Dr. Drew ScottAndrew W. Scott, Ph.D., (Dr. Drew) is the Director of Counseling Services housed in Student Health/Building H89. He started mental health service work in 2001 at the University of Maryland, College Park on a telephone counseling and crisis intervention hotline and center. Dr. Drew earned a masters in Counseling Psychology and doctorate in Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology from UC Santa Barbara. He completed his predoctoral internship at Stanford University and first worked at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. focusing on underrepresented groups, relationships & couples counseling, intersections of identity, and also teaching psychology courses. Dr. Drew served at the director level at the Pacific Pride Foundation in Santa Barbara and as National Chapter Director Active Minds, Inc. in Washington, DC. before coming to TUC. 

How do you see your role on campus?

My role is to promote student mental health on campus at Mare Island. My aim is to provide a balance of direct counseling service with outreach and educational activities. The counseling center staff of two booked well over 1000 appointments in the last year, so one-on-one counseling is in demand given the rigor of the programs at TUC. We also host events and come to speak to classes, for example, How to Help a Friend, Assertive Communication, and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction have been presented.

How can students better support their own mental health needs?

Students hear the word "balance" frequently but may not have always the skills or motivation to balance the many demands faced in graduate/medical school. Balance to me includes balancing the emotional (e.g., through meditation and journaling), cognitive (e.g., identifying and combating negative self-talk), and behavioral (e.g., practicing assertive communication) aspects of staying healthy. Students must identify strengths and areas of growth in both professional and personal lives and make choices about what changes (e.g., limit social media use) and resources (e.g., social support) would help. 

Favorite psychological drama?

I love Silence of the Lambs. It's terrifying with so many memorable lines.

Can you tell us a bit about your family? How do they shape who you are?

I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and raised primarily in Williamsburg, Virginia. I was the introvert in a family of highly successful extroverts and sometimes struggled to find my place. My mother was a college professor turned university dean, my father a construction CEO, and my older sister was class president every year from fourth grade until college graduation (minus one painful year in high school).  Growing up in the not-so-deep south I was exposed to a rich mix of culture, history, and politics that pushed me toward better understanding the differences and similarities in the human condition. I'm also married to a now fourth year medical student, which provides an inside understanding of the hurdles faced by medical students and their families. 

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

I am a fan of the natural world and hiking is my exploration mode of choice. I own a french bulldog, Grace, and a rescue mutt, Max, who join as able. I've been a fan of dog-friendly Pena Adobe in Vacaville as it holds a flat walk around the lake and a steep hike up the hillside. We were in Yosemite in May and will visit Alaska this summer (and the dogs are not invited). I also enjoy wii fitness, painting, gardening, my chickens Helga and Olga, and bad reality TV (e.g., Survivors and several of the Housewives).