For Immediate Release

Contact: Andrea E. Garcia, Touro University California
Associate Vice President, University Advancement

W: (707) 638-5272
C: (707) 280-8771

Touro University California Honors Public Health Heroes

at 10th Annual Awards Ceremony


Vallejo, CA (May 3, 2017) – Touro University California hosted its 10th Annual Public Health Hero awards ceremony on the evening of Thursday, April 20 to recognize students, alumni, and members of the community for their strides in continued leadership, community service, and public health research. Each hero was further celebrated for their efforts to reduce health disparities and continuous quest for social justice.

The evening began with opening remarks and words of appreciation from Touro University California CEO and Senior Provost, Shelley Berkley, joined by Gayle Cummings, Director of the Public Health Program and Assistant Dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences at Touro University California.

“We are thrilled that we can honor the selfless work of heroes here on our campus as well as in the community surrounding us,” said Berkley. “The dedication and commitment that all of our honorees have is admirable and should be acknowledged and celebrated. Not only are they making great strides for their communities right here in the Bay Area, but they are also providing great leadership and are an example for progress on a larger level.”

Touro students Diana De Vore and Matthew Musselman were honored during the evening as the 2017 Student Public Health Heroes. De Vore is currently pursuing her Doctor of Pharmacy and Masters in Public Health and is very active in the local Hispanic community. Growing up, she witnessed injured and malnourished children in El Salvador who had no medical care or assistance. She then made it her personal goal to support the underserved in the community. Musselman, who is pursuing his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and Master of Public Health, has collaborated with peers on a number of community oriented projects, including the Teen Life Conference, the California Health Professional Student Alliance, the Rainbow Health Coalition, the Black & Latino Health Outreach Coalition, and many more. Growing up in San Francisco, Musselman has an appreciation for community diversity and giving back. His future plans are to conduct Global Health field studies in Chiapas, Mexico, as well as to complete a Global Health Capstone Project regarding access to portable drinking water.

Touro Alumni Pubic Health Hero awards were presented to 2014 College of Education and Health Sciences graduates Lein Le and Felicia Ma because of their dedicated work at Emeryville Health Center. Together, they opened the 29th school-based health center in Alameda County where Le is currently a Clinic Supervisor. These remarkable women work side-by-side, providing medical, dental, and preventative care through school-wide screenings and health education to K-12 students attending the Emery Unified School District. Le has hopes to one day teach at Touro, while Ma is interested in adolescent behavioral healthcare and identifying at-risk adolescents to provide services to that population. 

In addition to honoring the remarkable accomplishments made by Touro students and alumni, notable local community heroes Obie Anthony and Ignacio Hernández Esq. were also recognized 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. Spurred by his own 17-year jail term, Anthony became the founder and president of Exonerated Nation, which offers support services to help exonerees transition back into society.

Attendees were also treated to keynote speaker Superior Court Judge of Los Angeles County, Craig Mitchell. Throughout his legal career, Judge Mitchell has remained active in his community. In 2001, he founded the Midnight Mission Running Club on Skid Row. This program involves training those who are recovering from drug or alcohol dependencies to run marathons. The objective is to instill discipline and a sense of achievement for those who are trying to recover. Judge Mitchell and his program have provided a support network for the members over the years and traveled to marathons far and wide including Ghana, Rome, and Vietnam. 

About the Touro College and University System:

Touro is a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American and global community. Approximately 18,000 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro has 35 campuses and locations in New York, California, Nevada, Illinois, Berlin, Jerusalem and Moscow. New York Medical College; Touro University California and Touro University Nevada; Touro University Worldwide and its Touro College Los Angeles division; as well as Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Ill. are separately accredited institutions within the Touro College and University System. For further information on Touro College, please go to: