August 2, 2017 - The Record
It gives me extraordinarily great pleasure to welcome every one of you as you become a member of the Touro family by being a part of this incoming class. We are very proud of you already because we know how challenging it is to get into Touro University California. This is an outstanding institution of higher learning. We’re going to challenge you. We’re going to give you opportunities that you may never have thought that you’d be presented with. But by the time you’re done with your time here at Touro, you’re going to be consummate professionals ready to take on the world.
We’re going to work with you to ensure your success. So roll up your sleeves. It’s not like when I went to law school a hundred years ago where the dean on the very first day who said look to your left, look to your right, next year, one of you won’t be here. That is not the Touro philosophy. You’re here now, and we’re going to do everything we can to ensure your success. So reach out to us. Tell us if you have challenges or problems. We’re here to help you solve them.
So at the end of your time here at Touro, when you’re walking across that stage, I’m going to be at the end of that stage to hand you that diploma. You’re going to know, I’m going to know, and everyone else is going to know that you are a consummate professional ready to make a significant difference in your profession. We’re proud of you know, and we’re going to be proud of you then.
Dr. Faisal Qazi is amazed when he looks at Touro University California now. As a student in the first class of the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, his memories of Touro involve none of the other programs that define the Mare Island school today—only the faculty and students who had come together to start the new school.
“Everybody was invested in making it work,” Dr. Qazi remembers. “We had very qualified colleagues. It was all very collegial because it was so small.”
Dr. Qazi recalls how when the cafeteria was not ready to serve kosher food, Dr. Bernard Zelliger, Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, would pay out of pocket for a deli to deliver lunch to the students who stayed kosher. And Dr. Qazi was able to enjoy eating the kosher food too because of its similarities to halal.
“Every Friday it was a special delivery for us,” he says fondly. “We ate with the Dean. It was a nice touch.”
After graduating and completing his residency, Dr. Qazi founded a neurology practice in Inland Empire. Starting his own practice brought new challenges like doing billing, coding the flow of patient processing, and contracting with insurance companies. There was no supervisor to guide the way. He says that it took about three years before he could start to feel settled.
Each day Dr. Qazi helps those with chronic headaches and spinal muscular issues. But about six years ago, a patient with rapidly declining multiple sclerosis came into his care, and something changed for Dr. Qazi.
“She was suffering so miserably by the time that she came to me. I administered the most intense steroid treatment available for days, but still, I couldn’t save her,” he reflects. “She was someone who just got missed by the system. She wasn’t on any sustained treatments at all. I watched her die from something that was fairly preventable. She could be alive today.”
Bothered by the low accessibility of care among the majority of specialists, Dr. Qazi founded the non-profit social service group MiNDS. A network of over 50 specialists, MiNDS provides free care to underinsured families. Since its inception in 2010, the organization has provided over 300 families more than a $1 million in direct care services.
Dr. Qazi is also a healer of his community. When the San Bernardino shootings happened in 2015, he raised over $200,000 in support for the victims’ families. The solidarity that he saw as people from diverse backgrounds united against the trauma was astounding. Today, Dr. Qazi is working to strengthen local migrant communities through classes on economic empowerment, job training, and financial literacy training.
“We run events for anti-harassment and bullying awareness, primarily for migrant Latino community, but it benefits everyone, especially people of color,” Dr. Qazi explains.
Dr. Qazi, originally from Pakistan, grew up in Torrance, CA. He is an Assistant Professor at Western University in Pomona and an advocate for improving healthcare policy. His wife is an attorney who works for social justice. Together they adopted two children from Los Angeles, ages 5 and 7, whom he calls the joy of their hearts.
For more information about MiNDS network, visit
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Empowering Students through Clinical Distinction: Dr. Jennifer Weiss Recognized by AACOM for Innovation in Medical Education
This year, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) Society of Osteopathic Medical Educators (SOME) recognized Jennifer Weiss, DO, Associate Dean and Professor at TUC’s College of Osteopathic Medicine at their annual Innovation in Medical Education Awards for her innovation: Clinical Distinction: Advancing EPAs through a Required Year 3 Course. The program’s pilot year just completed for the class of 2018, and the 2nd year is ready to launch. The Program is directed by Dr. Jennifer Weiss, Mr. Glenn Davis, and Dr. Walter Hartwig, and it is supported by many other COM faculty advisors and sponsors.
What does EPA stand for?
Weiss: EPA stands for entrustable professional activity, and it describes 14 essential physician tasks that a medical student must be able to perform at the end of their training. “Clinical Distinction” is a self-directed learning experience that takes place over two 4-week periods in third year. Students determine which competencies and EPAs they want to develop in themselves through a project.
Students have used the program to develop an app on pediatric rashes, increase their osteopathic training with an advanced osteopathic track, and create a medical Spanish curriculum. Each project puts aspects of the 14 EPAs into practice and is evaluated with a qualitative approach to review the entrustability that is achieved.
What is new to your approach?
Weiss: There is a lot of new aspects to this program. First students create a learning contract which puts the responsibility to define and pursue learning goals back in their hands. They decide what they need to work on or what they want to learn about.
Another new aspect is that I'm asking the students to take a look at what we as educators
are thinking about - what do they need to know to be a physician, what are the expectations
of what they will learn and be able to do?
The program has a huge amount of flexibility - students can do board review, a clinical selective activity, work on their MPH project, get military training, or create a completely new learning opportunity—these are just some of the options. They all have the skills for self-assessment and this gives them a chance to really take a look at themselves and their training and ask "who do I want to be?"
Where did you get the idea or see the need?
Weiss: I have been writing the curriculum for the clinical courses for many years, and am always looking for ways to allow students an opportunity for independent learning while maintaining the quality and integrity of the curricular program. Medical students are fully capable of knowing what they want to learn, and they are creative and engaged. The problem is that there is so much they HAVE to learn—there’s no abundance of time for them to explore their own particular passions. Just getting the basics is a monumental task and can drain their drive and engagement. I see this course as an opportunity to guide the students with a framework grounded in basic skills they will need as a physician, while allowing them to be creative and independent.
The College of Osteopathic Medicine received the STAR award from the American Osteopathic Association on July 22nd. The Strategic Team Award and Recognition, known as “STAR,” recognizes contributions made by state and specialty affiliates, osteopathic medical schools, and non-practice affiliates in enhancing the osteopathic medicine culture.
Dr. Michael Clearfield, Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, received the award on behalf of the college, which commemorates its outstanding efforts in implementing innovative activities to advance the osteopathic profession.
“What a tremendous honor it was to accept this award from the AOA on behalf of Touro,” said Clearfield, DO. “The efforts that the faculty and staff make to not only advance the profession on a whole but also to ensure that each and every student on our campus receives the highest level of education is something that we take great pride in."
Pictured as well, right to left, are Dr. Richard Reimer, Dr. Alesia Wagner, Mr. Mortimer Adams (OMS 2), Mr. Roman Roque (OMS 2), and Mr. Rachit Anand (OMS 2).
The College of Pharmacy has honored three incoming students from the Pharm.D Class
of 2021 with the Walgreens Diversity Pipeline Award. The recipients whose previous
achievements speak to their incredible potential in the program are Ms. Catherine
Nang, Mr. Shervin Abtahi, and Ms. Sharon Ashong. Each will receive $1,000 with the
The Walgreens Diversity Pipeline Award recognizes underrepresented minorities who have been accepted into the Pharm.D. program at TUC and exhibit strong scholastic achievement, leadership potential, and the desire to serve diverse or underserved populations.
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