In this Issue
Many of the in-person and on-campus activities that were slated to take place last year were in some way modified due to COVID-19.
Graduations took place online, seminars turned into webinars, and coursework mostly transitioned to Zoom sessions.
One thing that didn’t have a chance to make that transition last year was the annual Mosaic celebration. Stay-at-home orders, which limited the ability for people to gather in public, went into effect last year almost exactly at the time Mosaic was scheduled to happen in 2020.
The diversity scholarship fund, which Mosaic supports, suffered a loss, but organizers for the 2021 event are hopeful a big push this year can overcome some of those losses from a year ago.
Entertainment will again be key to the Mosaic Celebration, with 11-time Grammy winning vocalist Tony Lindsay performing.
Lindsay recently returned to the R&B and Soul charts with his newest single, “All is One,” although he is probably best known for being the longtime singer with legendary Bay Area rock band Santana.
Solano County Superintendent of Public Schools, Lisette Estrella-Henderson will also be given a special award in recognition for her decades of service with diversity and inclusion.
Event planners have also brought about a way to participate in Mosaic’s highly popular auction event, with guests able to bid online on a variety of unique gifts and experience packages.
Participation in the auction will be key to helping replenish the diversity scholarship fund, which provides financial aid opportunities to students in each of Touro’s three colleges. These students typically come from either underserved communities or from underrepresented demographic groups and these scholarships serve an important role in the pursuit of their academic goals.
The entire package of music, fun and honors will be wrapped up in a video presentation, which should tie Mare Island’s history to the bright future of Touro University.
The video presentation will be shown live at 5:30 p.m., May 13. The silent auction will continue for two weeks after the live event.
For more information, visit https://tu.edu/mosaic/.
One of the most highly-anticipated events each year at Touro University California took place in a virtual format, April 21, Research Day.
Research Day is an opportunity for students and faculty, often partnering together and, periodically, with people from outside the campus community, to demonstrate their findings on numerous research topics.
The event this year, hosted by the staff and faculty with the College of Education and Health Sciences, included a keynote address from Dr. Andrew Tompkins of UCSF’s Project Houdini, who spoke about tackling the opioid crisis in America.
A community engagement panel comprised of TUC alumni Drs. Clipper Young and Richie Duenas, along with Laura Dutch, whose background of nursing, public health and education ran the full gamut of CEHS, discussed different topics related to community engagement in health and education.
Presentation of the research posters, the highlight of the event, followed the two speaker sessions, with topics spanning an array of areas, like cancer, food insecurity, insulin resistance, glycolysis, syringe access programs, various topics in nursing and education, criminal justice, and even a study examining the benefits of obtaining a dual DO/MPH degree.
Guests could log in and join the various poster presentations sessions, which were grouped roughly by similar topics and ask questions of the study authors. Two such sessions, one after another, were presented so people could get to multiple topic areas if they were so inclined.
In total, more than 100 people attended Research Day.
In his keynote address, Dr. Tompkins noted that he had lived and worked in Baltimore prior to arriving in San Francisco to work at Zuckerburg SF General Hospital, saying his previous place of employment was in the heart of the area of Baltimore made famous by the TV series, The Wire.
Living in the community one serves can be a negative at times but Dr. Tompkins saw it mostly as a plus.
“It reminds you in very clear terms what the problem is because it’s right there in front of you every day,” Dr. Tompkins said.
Seeing a problem up close was the main theme of the session that followed, the community engagement panel made up of Touro alumni.
“One thing we believe in is that health is a product of a lot of determinants,” Dr. Young said in his presentation. “Disparities in health care are really shaped by social factors, economic factors, environmental factors and structural factors.”
Dr. Duenas spoke extensively about how his pharmacy has worked closely with Drug Safe Solano and other local agencies regarding people undergoing addiction treatment, including access to what he called “harm reduction supplies,” including improved access to Narcan, for example.
“For us it was really about doing good,” Dr. Duenas said. “We saw an opportunity and wanted to go out there and do this for our community.”
Laura Dutch, who is the principal at the Vallejo Adult School, explained how many of the life quality factors Drs. Young and Duenas spoke about are impacted heavily by the lack of education.
There are more than 1.5 million adult school students annually in the US, including 1,400 in Vallejo, with about 74 percent of those coming from communities of color.
Dutch cited a study by Brown University that recognized Vallejo as the most diverse community in the country, four-times more so than even East Los Angeles.
“Vallejo is a community that needs an adult school,” she said.
“This work relies on partnerships,” Dutch said. “We love working with our community partners.”
Dutch said these partnerships helped students stay on track even in the midst of the pandemic, securing needed school supplies and addressing peripheral concerns like food insecurity so the adult school students could focus on their education.
At the conclusion of the event, Dr. Lisa Norton, Dean of CEHS, congratulated the research participants and thanked the guest speakers for making the event highly attended and very successful.
Nurses are important every day, but May marks a number of recognitions drawing attention to just how important they are in all of our lives.
May 6 is Nurse’s Appreciation Day, May 8 is designated as National Student Nurses day. National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6 and ends May 12, in recognition of the birthday of Florence Nightingale.
At Touro University California, students in the School of Nursing are working professionals, fitting in their degree coursework to what is already a doubtlessly tiresome and often underappreciated work life.
This demand makes our wonderful nursing students all the more remarkable, for broadening their educational background, while also providing compassion and care for patients in need.
The accomplishments of these students are vital to the overall health and success of hospitals and healthcare systems. This achievement wouldn’t be possible without an equally dedicated SON faculty, who embraces the University’s motto, “to serve, to lead, to teach,” in all they do.
Dr. Sharon Goldfarb, a Family Nurse Practitioner for over 30 years, has been providing services that are now somewhat commonplace, nevertheless, when she began they were quite ground-breaking.
She has shown a commitment to vulnerable populations, beginning her nurse practitioner career as clinical director of the first HIV care clinic in Harlem in 1993. Dr. Goldfarb improved access to care using mobile medical vans, to worked with vulnerable populations at needle exchanges, soup kitchens and inner-city projects, delivering primary care to the unhoused, the mentally ill, to those with addictions, victims of sex-workers, and undocumented people.
Dr. Sharon Likely-Sprague, an Oncology Certified Nurse, is the managing director in Oncology at Kaiser Permanente (KP) in the Central Valley. She is responsible for cancer accreditation, navigation and survivorship services.
Her career has been one that includes extensive experiences in healthcare leadership, including performance improvement, compliance, strategic planning, revenue cycle, and informatics. She has contributed to the opening of several KP hospitals and medical offices in the Central Valley.
Fittingly, given the present circumstances with COVID-19, Dr. Likely-Sprague’s doctoral project focused in part on telehealth, and her arrival at TUC suits her personal values, she said.
“Touro University’s mission statement, ‘In the service of knowledge, compassion, and social justice,’ is consistent with my own values as a servant leader,” Dr. Likely-Sprague said. “I enjoy and learn from the diverse student body and the diversity of the patients they serve. It is an honor to be part of the faculty at TUC SON to educate our next generation of transformational nursing leaders.”
Kathleen Hahn has been a pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) for over 35 years, with a broad experience in emergency medicine, and rural and school-based clinics. She has been firmly rooted in public health in Solano County and instrumental in writing grants to open the first school-based health center in 2004. Hahn retired from Solano County Public Health in 2020 and has served as a mentor to both NP and College of Medicine students. During the pandemic, Hahn led extensive efforts, in collaboration with Touro, to organize COVID testing sites throughout Solano County. In 2021, Hahn and her colleagues at Touro engaged in the successful planning and implementation of Solano County’s MASSVAX efforts to mitigate the spread and protection of Solano County residence from the deadly COVID virus.
Recently, Hahn received a national recognition as a recipient of a Champion of Humanistic Care for her tireless contributions to the health and safeguard of Solano County residents against the fight to “flatten the curve” of the spread of COVID-19. Hahn will share that stage with two other colleagues from Touro and with Dr. Anthony Fauchi and others. Hahn states that the “mission to serve is wonderful and it is an enjoyment to see students flourish in the new and different environment.”
Dr. Terrye Moore-Harper serves as both the Interim Assistant Dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences and Interim Director, School of Nursing and is a strong advocate for the program in general and the students in particular.
Her career has taken her all over, from her service in the Army, to degree pursuits on the east coast, in the south, and Midwest, but it was her transition to Touro that finally felt like home to her.
Teaching was an easy call for Moore-Harper.
“It was a calling so natural to me,” she said. “I was convinced that I could make the greatest impact on the profession of nursing by teaching – students, patients, and their families.”
Touro’s values aligned with her own so closely that it was an easy call to join the TUC family.
“The mission of Touro aligned with my core beliefs, to serve, to lead, to teach,” Moore-Harper said. “Again, the mission of social justice helps me to always ‘see humanity through the lens of grace.’ The greatest joy for me is to see my students embrace the profession of nursing as a calling, a trust, and an honor.”
It’s common these days to hear people say, “COVID changed everything.”
For the world of education, that was literally true as educators from colleges all the way down to kindergarten had to find a new way to teach students that wasn’t dependent on being physically in a classroom.
Seems easy enough, but education has been relatively unchanged from a format standpoint, one could argue, going back to the days when students sat at the feet of people like Aristotle and Plato in Ancient Greece.
But COVID changed everything.
And teachers needed to adapt, and fast.
Luckily, thanks in part to a partnership with NapaLearns, Touro University California has churned out hundreds of graduates through the Graduate School of Education’s Innovative Learning Master’s Program.
Even prior to COVID, these students had been asked to reimagine classroom activities to meet the needs of 21st century students whose future jobs are predicted to require working in teams to solve problems and using technology.
Although students might be able to easily adapt to an online setting, having grown up in an on-demand society, teachers needed to find ways to teach in that environment, eschewing teaching techniques honed over years in favor of methods more suited to a virtual setting.
Together with Dr. Pamela Redmond, who created the Innovative Learning focused degree, TUC’s alumni invented LearnShift.org to offer mentoring, resources and support teachers needed to quickly learn best practices of leveraging digital media and applications to the best benefit of students in an online format.
As practicing classroom teachers, LearnShift volunteers had first-hand knowledge and credibility as they helped teachers learn things as basic as learning how to navigate Zoom, or as necessary as ideas for keeping students feeling welcomed, engaged and motivated when you can’t be with them face to face.
In the months since LearnShift started, hundreds of teachers from as far away as Canada and Africa as well as in the north bay area have benefitted from its teacher-to-teacher mentoring and resources. They have hosted two conferences in partnership with NapaLearns and the Napa County office of Education – a three-day immersion in getting ready for the first days of school that 150 teachers from the north bay attended and a Saturday Learning Innovation Summit to which 360 teachers and school administrators registered to hear 42 presenters.
Many teachers, noted Redmond who is the LearnShift organizer, have discovered new ways to create active learning using technology in ways that become powerful tools of inclusion for students.
“We really focus on creating a mind-shift,” Dr. Redmond said. “We are not using technology for technology’s sake…it’s about thinking of the needs of the students and the content to be taught then redesigning a learning opportunity using digital tools and media so that every student, no matter their ability, can participate.”
Dr. Redmond pointed out real-time translation mode built in to Chrome makes it easier for English-learner students to absorb certain lessons, for example. Something a teacher might not have thought to use were it not for the COVID-teaching online. Being able to infuse online lessons with audio, video, graphics and interactive tools gives students a variety of ways interact with the content. “Brain research tells us that people learn better when they have multiple opportunities to learn the information in different ways,” Dr. Redmond said, “and having to teach online has pushed teachers to grow their professional practice.”
The need for LearnShift.org will likely continue into the future as school districts are likely projected to continue into the fall in some variation of a hybrid model, which is to say, students will still spend some time learning in an online format for the foreseeable future.
No matter how long online learning remains, COVID has helped create a learning shift for teachers across the country and the need for the resources provided by LearnShift won’t likely diminish any time soon.
Perhaps more teachers will seek out Touro’s Innovative Learning master’s degree program as a result, but either way, the demand for the type of expertise that comes from program graduates is likely here to stay.
When the next epidemic or even pandemic hits, recent Touro MPH graduate Mindi Martinez will be ready to tackle it.
The need and purpose of the Public Health Program came to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic, but preparing for these types of events is something the State of California has been doing for decades.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) created the California Epidemiologic Investigation Service (Cal-EIS) Fellowship Program in 1989, making California one of very few states to create a training program designed to train Master's level epidemiologists.
The prestigious program is supported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its Preventive Health Services Block Grant. Cal-EIS Fellows focus on a number of different topics, including assignments within environmental health, infectious disease control, chronic disease control, and maternal child adolescent health.
The aspiring epidemiologist will be placed with the Napa County Health Department as part of the 2021-2022 Cal-EIS cohort and will likely work on projects related to infectious disease, including a project related to Covid, chronic disease, and maternal child adolescent health.
“I am honored and excited to have been selected for the 2021-2022 Cal-EIS cohort,” Martinez said. “I am especially looking forward to doing work related to the current Covid pandemic, as I feel this is a valuable opportunity and unique experience.”
Martinez credited the nature of the Touro MPH program will helping prepare her for this opportunity.
“At Touro, the coursework in the Public Health Program and the hands-on experiences and opportunities that many faculty within the Public Health Program have provided me, set me up and prepared me for this great opportunity with Cal-EIS,” Martinez said. “With this Fellowship, I hope to now receive valuable and tailored hands-on experience as an epidemiologist, which will allow me to continue to build off the foundation Touro provided.”
Students in the last two years, be they in high school or college, have graduated under highly modified circumstances, from virtual ceremonies to drive thru events.
No matter how traditional or otherwise a graduation event is, it’s always an important milestone in each graduate’s life.
The College of Osteopathic Medicine will kick off graduations at Touro University California, May 23, followed by the College of Pharmacy the next day.
Graduates in the Master of Science in Medical Health Sciences will celebrate June 2, followed by the College of Education and Health Sciences, June 13, including graduations for Graduate School of Education, Master of Public Health, Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies/Master of Public Health, and the School of Nursing.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines recommend ceremonies like these once again take place in a virtual environment, but the pride and celebration isn’t diminished for the programs.
“The College of Osteopathic Medicine could not be any prouder than we are of the Class of 2021 for what they have achieved,” said Dr. Michael Clearfield, Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine. “Their steadfast dedication to our profession and their resilience to overcome whatever adversity that had been placed in their path…They truly represent the best of the best.”
Dr. Debbie Sasaki-Hill, Interim Dean of the College of Pharmacy, noted a famed quote from Barbara Mikulski, “Each one of us can make a difference; together we can make change.”
The College of Pharmacy Class of 2021, College of Pharmacy is prepared to elevate the profession into the future, she said.
"During this unprecedented time, now more than ever, we are so exceptionally proud to send you out as public health and education professionals as described in our mission statement 'with an unwavering focus on social justice',” said Dr. Lisa Norton, Dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences. “We know you all are transformational heroes who will make positive improvements focused on justice and equity in all arenas of your life.”
Faculty and staff at each of the three colleges explained how so much of what college, and graduate school in particular, entails is learning how to meet challenges and overcome them.
Few classes, they explained, are as prepared to meet challenges, unforeseen or otherwise, quite like the Class of 2021.
To participate in the 2021 Commencement Exercises visit: http://studentservices.tu.edu/other/commencement.html
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the National Institute of Health describes mental health as being related to our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices, experts say.
In a recent press release related to mental health awareness, Sandra Sinz, Solano County Behavioral Health Chief Deputy said, “Now more than ever people are talking about mental health,” adding, “the stress of the last year is something that everyone understands and has helped relieve the stigma in talking about it.”
During the month of May, Solano Behavioral Health reminds people that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is possible.
By starting your own #JourneyToWellness, it is possible to find balance between life’s ups and downs and thrive beyond the challenges brought on by the pandemic. Our COVID Warmline is still available if you want to talk to someone, call 707-784-8539.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
For more information about Solano County Behavioral Health services and the events, visit our website at https://www.solanocounty.com/depts/bh . To find our events online or to tag us on Social Media, follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/solanocountybh , Instagram https://www.instagram.com/solanocountybh/ or Twitter https://twitter.com/SolanoCountyBH (@SolanoCountyBH).
Americans have observed some version of memorial services for fallen soldiers ever since the years immediately following the Civil War, according to the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
While numerous cities in the North and South lay claim to the first remembrance service, as early as 1866, Waterloo, New York was officially recognized by Congress as the birthplace of what would become Memorial Day, which is observed May 31 this year.
These observations were initially created to honor those who died during the Civil War, but by the end of World War I, they were expanded to include recognition of all American soldiers who died during combat.
These spring observances were plentiful and popular throughout the nation for more than a decade before Memorial Day was made an official national holiday in 1971.
To date, over 1.1 million Americans have died in service to the country, a number greater than the population of eight states.
Memorial observations for the war dead have been happening in some form or another for thousands of years.
The VA noted a quote by famed Athenian Pericles some 2,500 years ago, whose statement rings true to this day, “Not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions, but there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men.”
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