The Record

In this Issue

GSOE to Revitalize Local Teacher Prep

SGA Passes the Torch

AAA Honors Dr. Mark Teaford

Knowing How to Help

Heal With Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment

The Golden Spike

Integrative Medicine Symposium

I Am Touro: Leslie Wu
College of Pharmacy Class of 2021

Fresh on Facebook

Touro Tuesday: Meet the New SGA President!

Touro Tuesday: Go Red for Women's Heart Health

Activists Who Grew Health of Communities:
Black History Month

PAWS from Studying!

Touro Tuesday: The 2020 Teen Life Conference


Maestra Gicela Hernandez

Maestra Gicela Hernandez, Kindergarten teacher at Elmer Cave Langauge Academy, graduate of the Graduate School of Education.

GSOE to Revitalize Local Teacher Prep

A transformation is coming to how new teachers are equipped to serve their students in Vallejo City Unified School District (VCUSD). K-12 educators who are pursuing their credentials will be able to receive support directly on-site in a new, community-based and district-integrated Teacher Preparation Program with the Graduate School of Education (GSOE).

In an effort to increase the number of community-focused, high-quality, and diverse teachers, the new move is made possible by a $300,000 grant from Gates-Foundation-funded University School Partnerships for the Renewal of Educator Preparation(US PREP) program. The GSOE program at Touro University California will be part of the third US PREP Program cohort, which has been implemented in 20 select schools of education from across the country, including the Touro Graduate School of Education in New York.

“We want to make sure that new teachers are highly prepared to meet the needs of all students, and our students have many different needs now,” said Interim Assistant Dean and Director of the Graduate School of Education and Principal Investigator for the grant, Louise Santiago, Ed.D. “US PREP provides the funding and support for our program to literally reinvent itself.”

“The work of the grant is to understand local needs and provide relevant, field-based training,” added Page Hersey, Ed.D., who will be part of the pilot as Interim Assistant Director of the Graduate School of Education and Co-Principal Investigator for the grant. Dr. Hersey is also the Program Chair of the Single Subject and Multiple Subject Teacher Preparation Programs.

She continued, “What can we do differently or better to really meet the local needs of students and communities to better prepare teacher candidates?”

Today’s teachers must be trained to meet the needs of all students in their classroom, stressed the grant investigators, from mainstream general education students to those with special needs or disabilities. What that means can look different in each context.

Beginning with a pilot program next fall, which will lay the foundation for the on-site expansion to other districts, the transformed Teacher Preparation Program will enable the experts who train the VCUSD educators to work with teacher candidates in the field and ask questions as much as provide them with answers.

The preparation program will also equip teachers with socio-educational and culturally responsive learning strategies to reach black, Latino, and low-income students in an effort to close achievement gaps. And with the aide of neuroscience, teachers understand that their students walk into the classroom with their own unique set of experiences, including trauma.

“To effectively teach, we have to attend to everything that comes in the classroom with students,” reflected Dr. Santiago. “We have to create the connection for them to feel ready to learn. Then learning can happen quickly and powerfully.”


 SGA Passes the Torch

The 2019-2020 SGA Board
Thank you to the outgoing 2019-2020 SGA Board. (Left to Right) Michael Walls, Bradley Steuble, Kathleen Mak, Rahil Hudda, Giselle Galang, Camilo Pardo, Neehar Gaddam, Sara Tom, Genevieve MacMillan, Daniel Wong, Suhryoung Chun, Sabrina Luong
















A Look Back

Rahil Hudda, COM 2022

By Rahil Hudda, Outgoing SGA President, COM 2022

It’s 2020, which means my time as SGA President is at its end. This past year has been full of exciting events, wonderful conversations with all members of the Touro community, and the ability to advocate for students to higher leadership. If this role has taught me anything, it is that we as students have the ability to create change and progress if we work together. These experiences are not only acquired in the classroom. We must remember that although we are here to create change in our professional lives, we must not forget about the experiences outside of the classroom that helps shape and further develop who we are.

It has been an honor and privilege to serve as your President. Thank you to all of my mentors who have supported and believed in me throughout this term. Huge shoutout to the rest of the SGA board for their hard work and wonderful presence on campus. To the incoming board, I wish you the best of luck and look forward to seeing all of your accomplishments.

AAA Honors Dr. Mark Teaford

An icon of excellence in the education of anatomy, Dr. Mark Teaford, Professor and Vice Chair of Basic Sciences in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, is this year’s recipient of the American Association for Anatomy (AAA) Henry Gray Distinguished Educator Award.

 Dr. Mark Teaford
 Dr. Mark Teaford, Professor and Vice Chair of Basic Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine

In his nomination, Dr. Teaford was recognized as the kind of experienced, open-minded, and dedicated anatomy educator who can serve as a model for the rest of us in the field.

“He has been a leader in anatomy education and curricular reform and design at three institutions,” it continued. “Each of these institutions sought his expertise because they recognize his knowledge, creativity, and skill in developing effective anatomy educational programs for students in the health professions.”

As this is AAA’s highest award for anatomy education, Dr. Teaford will be honored in April at the annual meeting of the American Association for Anatomy in San Diego.

“It was a wonderful surprise,” said Dr. Teaford. “When they called, I honestly thought they were going to ask me to serve on the nominations committee. It’s one of those awards that you never think about winning...If you were to try and plan to get it, you probably never could.”

An anthropologist and anatomist by training, Dr. Teaford is a specialist in what the wear on teeth can reveal about a creature’s diet.

With a career in higher education that spans for close to 40 years, Dr. Teaford said that a lot has changed in the teaching of anatomy since the 1980s. For instance, dramatic improvements in medical imaging and the easy access of digital storage allows for the creation of digital models of the body that can be viewed from any point of view.

“Ideally you want (students) to be able to think in 3D, and this is an immense help,” he said.

But there is no replacement for time in the anatomy lab, Dr. Teaford reflected. Where educational software still generally presents a single idealized version of anatomy, working with cadavers gives students an appreciation of what makes each of us so unique.

TUC APP“It is an incredible gift to be able to work with the human body, because you can’t anticipate whether someone has had two full knee replacements or major heart surgery, not to mention the normal individual differences in things like muscle attachments and branching pathways of vessels,” said Dr. Teaford.

When asked about his teaching approach, Dr. Teaford stressed the importance of using a hybrid curriculum to engage every kind of student.

“In a class this size, there are innumerable learning styles, and we need to provide as many opportunities as possible for each of them. That means having some traditional lectures and labs, but also online materials and active learning sessions,” said Dr. Teaford. “To help with this, we also frame everything in a team-based learning approach where students work with their peers, much as they will be doing throughout their careers. The goal is to help them develop the competencies, like professionalism, that will be so important for them in the future.” 


Knowing How to Help

By learning how to locate and address the needs of those with developmental disabilities, Marianita Vieira, GSOE 2021, has helped make lost dreams a reality. For her four years at the grassroots organization Arc-Solano, she has been able to empower others to find community, education, and independence, often by knowing how to provide the right kind of support.

Marianita Vieira, GSOE 2021
Marianita Vieira, GSOE 2021, Service Director at Arc-Solano

When a student who loved to read novels in the library had given up on attending college after failing his first class, she helped and encouraged him to go back.

“We didn’t allow him to give up because of the barriers that he faced,” she said. “Anybody starting out at college can have difficulty because it’s a new experience with new challenges.”

Her support ranged from selecting the right courses to creating a study plan to helping critique his essays. Ms. Vieira said that he received an A in an Excel course and found a way to express himself through poetry.

Outside the classroom, she has helped people gain personal independence in many of life’s milestones like learning how to cook your own food or becoming an active member in the community.

By getting her masters in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Ms. Vieira says that she has found new ways to pinpoint student needs and address negative behaviors. Through one project, she noticed that a student would often break suddenly away from the group or begin to hit herself when she was corrected. The solution, the teacher found, was to guide that student without saying the word “no”.

“If she wanted to go to Starbucks, I would say ‘Yes, after we go to the library, we’ll go to Starbucks,’” explained Ms. Vieira. “Simple little things like that will prevent her from having bad behavior.”

Showing a picture or an object related to common activities like crafting or music can help give students a voice. After performing a preference assessment between the images, Ms. Viera says she applies what is known as the Premack principle to use the desired activity to reinforce the undesired one, such as chores.

Thanks to the Graduate School of Education, Ms. Vieira was eligible to be promoted as Service Director at Arc-Solano. The skills she’s gained through the program can be shared with other teachers. And the passion that she has for her career shows.

“It’s really fun, and you’re going to feel really good with what you do,” she said. “We are free and loving, and we help them to live their full potential and achieve dreams that they didn’t imagine they could achieve.”


  The Golden Spike 2020

The Golden Spike Slams the Court

Crowds of students put down their books for the night to cheer on their proud Touro Bulls at the third annual Golden Spike volleyball game against Touro University Nevada (TUN).

The roaring evening began with an electric performance by TUC’s Dance Troupe followed by the dulcet harmony of the new student singing group, Touro Tunes.

Both teams played with prowess as match after match ended with the points close. At the final buzzer, TUN emerged victorious, winning the Golden Spike trophy for their campus in Henderson, Nevada. Congratulations to our friends in the Silver State. But TUC will soon get its chance for a rematch in basketball at the Big Game coming March 5th.

Heal with Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment

Being sick or in pain can bring everything to a grinding halt, leaving nothing feeling right. But by applying the hands-on techniques of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT), Doctors of

 Dr. Melissa Pearce
 Dr. Melissa Pearce, Class of 2005

Osteopathic Medicine (DO) can diagnose and treat illness or injury with a deep understanding of the interconnectivity of the body’s systems and how they affect each other.

While practicing locally in the Vallejo Family Health Services Clinic, Assistant Professor Melissa Pearce, DO, Class of 2005, says that she often includes OMT in her patient care to restore the body to its normal function.

“Sometimes, what looks like one type of problem is coming from somewhere else, she explained. “A knee problem may be the source of someone’s back pain, as it could be changing their gait and the joint mechanics of the knee.”

SRFCAfter addressing the concerns of a patient who has cold-like symptoms and determining the illness’s severity, Dr. Pearce might begin by feeling for restrictions in their thoracic inlet (the area between the neck and shoulders). By reducing the restrictions in the tissue that constrict during a cold, she says that OMT helps bring the body to its normal physiologic function, improving the immune system.

Even in extreme conditions of the body, OMT can play a role as well. After repairing traumatic injuries in critical care surgery, Gerard Baltazar, DO, Class of 2007, will at times assist his patients’ recovery by using OMT.

“It helps not just with their pain, but their ability to breathe well (which helps patients) have good blood return after their operation,” explained Dr. Baltazar, the Director of Surgical Critical Care at NYU Winthrop Hospital.

In critical care, when a body has undergone physical trauma from a fall, accident, or assault, the sympathetic nervous systemactivates a flight or fight response, explained Dr. Baltazar. “If your adrenaline is up to 1,000, you don’t have the energy to heal,” said Dr. Baltazar. “You’re spending time having a high heart rate, fever, high blood pressure... and you probably have more pain as well...In an acute care setting, we’re using OMT to take away some of that intensity.”

Dr. Baltazar says in the long run OMT can ease dependence on drugs and save on costs. Through papers and lectures, he hopes to encourage more DOs to try the same.

“I think it’s important to think about OMT in every setting,” he said. “Regulating systems tends to make people better, so what if we could do that and not incur the drug effects (through) OMT?”


Integrative Medicine Symposium
The Integrative Medicine Symposium

Health care providers and the community discovered evidence-based complementary and integrative approaches to health care from experts from the fields of Western, Naturopathic, Ayurvedic, Tibetan, and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Leslie Wu, COP 2021
Leslie Wu
College of Pharmacy, Class of 2021

I Am Touro: Leslie Wu

College of Pharmacy Class of 2021

While contemplating law school, Leslie Wu, College of Pharmacy Class of 2021, was put on a case as a paralegal that changed the course of her career. Tasked with tracking down the medical records for patients, she saw that that many clients were overwhelmed and unsure what medications they were taking or how long they had been taking them. Wanting to become a source of information for patients to help them become advocates for their own health, she completed her prerequisites and applied to the College of Pharmacy.

The San Francisco native also authored Academy of Student Pharmacists resolution 2019.1 Addressing Professional Burnout with the goal of creating a sustainable and supportive environment to provide the best patient care. Ms. Wu was also president of the TUC Student National Pharmaceutical Association.

What was one of your best moments at TUC?

One of the most satisfying moments was during an outreach event with SRFC at the Napa Flea Market when a vendor in one of the stalls came up to check her blood pressure after she saw what we were doing. For a while, the woman stood observing to the side, declining every time we offered for her to come by. Finally, she decided to sit down with us, only to be surprised when we let her know that her blood pressure was above the recommended ranges, and it was something that she should definitely contact her provider about before she experienced any of the complications of high blood pressure.

A few months later, she came by our booth again at the flea market. She told us that she had gone straight to her physician and had started blood pressure medications, and she was very thankful that we had performed that screening that day. It was such a rewarding experience, just to know that we had helped someone.

What is something you discovered while at Touro?

Perhaps how much we can all achieve as a part of an interdisciplinary team. Each professional is able to bring a different skill set to support the others in providing the best care and outcomes for our patients. Some of the organizations on campus really give us the opportunity to practice these collaboration skills that are so crucial for patient care once we become licensed.