In this Issue

Touro Celebrates American Pharmacist Month

MPH student, community organization aims to curtail gun violence

PA Week is Oct. 6-12

Let’s Talk About Your Medicines . . . Month

October is LGBTQ History Month

Medical Librarians celebrated in October

In Brief

Upcoming Events

10/14, 10/28 and 11/11
7th Annual Social Justice in Public Health Speaker Series

10/18, 11/8 and 12/13
Zoom into Wellness

November 4, 2021
150 Years Before Touro: The Navy's Hospitals on Mare Island, 1856 to 1957

November 5, 2021
Diabetes Conference - High Impact Management for Clinicians

11/11 Veteran's Day

Touro Celebrates American Pharmacist Month

Pharmacist MonthHere at Touro, pharmacists and pharmacy students have helped vaccinate more than 1,000 individuals and counting through the TouroCARES MVP program, which brings vaccination services to underserved communities.

Listen to The Current podcast episode discussing CARES MVP with Dr. Fatima Hernandez here.

The past month or more has been exciting for TUCCOP. Along with the hard and important work through CARES MVP, student-pharmacists Suhryoung Christine Chun, Navjot Grewal, and Nayle Ibragimova won the ACCP Clinical Pharmacy Challenge! They will represent TUC at the national ACCP competition this Fall.

The ACCP Clinical Pharmacy Challenge is a team-based competition, with teams comprised of three students competing against teams from other schools and colleges of pharmacy in a “quiz bowl”–type format. 

The faculty also did some celebrating this past month when Assistant Professor Dr. Mohamed Jalloh published his children's book, Andre's Armor, a story about easing the fear of vaccines and shots for kids.

Learn more about Andre's Armor here.

Pharmacists serve an important function in our healthcare systems, our lives and our communities.

October is a month to thank pharmacists for their courage during this pandemic and their service throughout the year to improve and strengthen our health and wellness.

To learn more about this important celebration, visit https://www.pharmacist.com/

And to learn more about the TUC Doctor of Pharmacy Program drop in for one of our weekly virtual information sessions, every Wednesday or Thursday at 6:00 p.m.

MPH student, community organization aims to curtail gun violence

As Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd once sang, “handguns are made for killing, ain’t no good for nothing else.”

While gun rights are as hotly debated a topic as there is in the US, pure data would seem to suggest the “Sweet Home Alabama” rockers knew something.

Public Health student Sammy Puebla assisted with a field study in partnership with an Oakland-based non-profit, Roots Community Health Center, to declare gun violence a public health emergency in Alameda County.

A recent report on gun deaths in America, published by The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), and promoted widely by the White House, shows that deaths by firearms are extremely high in the past five years.

“I was intrigued by this field study site because my interest in public health revolves around a desire to address health disparities and serve disadvantaged communities,” Puebla said.

One of the primary motivators of studies such as Puebla’s is to begin to frame gun violence less as an issue of law enforcement and more as a public health topic.

“The primary projects we are working on are declaring gun violence a public health emergency in Alameda County and planning the development of thought expression walls centered on the African American experience in East Oakland,” Puebla said.

These deaths include homicides, suicides, accidental discharges and all other manners from firearms. Firearms are far and away the implement of choice when it comes to ending a life, accounting for 75% of all homicides in the US, which is six-times higher than stabbing, which is in second place, and 30 times higher than the third most common method, suffocation, according to the CSGV report.

In fact, even while most were in isolation due to COVID-19, 2020 was one of the deadliest on record, but 2021 is well on its way to being the deadliest in recorded history. More than 180 people were shot and killed across the nation on the Fourth of July alone, according to The Washington Post.

While these deaths are fairly well dispersed across the country, the causes and victims differ greatly. Well over 80% of these victims are males, with white males suffering from the cause of suicide in much greater numbers, whereas African American males die most frequently due to homicides, the CSGV report shows.

Suicide rates with firearms are highest in more rural areas, with Wyoming topping the list, followed by places like Utah and Montana, but urban areas and the South have higher prevalence of homicides. In fact, the 15 highest per capita homicide rates according to the report, were counties in southern states.

California, in contrast, has a low firearm death rate for suicides and homicides overall, which makes areas like Oakland, where the homicide rate is high, all the more alarming. Oakland has already had more than 330 shootings, according to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, just in the first half of 2021.

These shootings and homicides disproportionately affect young African American males more than any other group. White males are second in overall firearms death rates but African American males are seven times more likely to be the victim of firearm homicides than white males. They are 66 times more likely to be a victim than the lowest demographic group, Asian American women.

This won’t likely be the end of studies like this for Puebla, either related to gun violence or other topics.

“I plan on being involved with community-based work in my career,” Puebla said. “I hope to gain from this experience the ability to collaborate with other organizations and leverage our collective resources and networks for causes centered on the improvement of community health.”

PA Week is Oct. 6-12

PA weekFirst established in 1987, Physician Assistant (PA) Week has been celebrated from October 6-12 each year as a way to recognize these hard-working but often underappreciated medical professionals.

PAs conduct a range of different patient care duties, including taking a patients’ medical histories, examining patients, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, such as x rays or blood tests, treating patients, educating and counseling patients and their families, prescribing medicine, and much more.

PAs work collaboratively with physicians.  While the backbone of their training is typically primary care focused, PAs can specialize in all areas of medicine, allowing them to treat patients with specific needs, such as heart disease, in addition to care for day-to-day illnesses and injuries.

One of the great benefits these professional provide to the healthcare industry is a strong sense of nimbleness and flexibility. Because they are often so versed in many different healthcare topics, PAs can often be attractive options for rural communities or underserved communities where doctors and hospitals may be in short supply.

The best news of all for current PA students, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects up to 31-percent growth in the PA field by the year 2028. It’s the prefect time to be enrolled at Touro.

Let’s Talk About Your Medicines . . . Month

“Take two of these and call me in the morning,” is one of the most familiar expressions when it comes to be prescribed medication.

Normally, however, it takes more than just two pills to cure an ailment, while other conditions require a consistent and regular use of medications to manage effectively.

October is “Talk About Your Medicines Month,” which was established in 1982 as a means to underscore the importance of medication adherence.

In an article published in Pharmacy Times, Touro Professor Dr. Shane Desselle wrote, “Assuring, or at least promoting or facilitating, adherence to medications is one of the most salient unmet needs in health care and is a true calling to the pharmacy profession.”

Prescribed medications are an integral part of patient care but they are only effective and useful if taken in the proper manner, and that is at the heart of this annual observation.

Talk About Your Medicines initially began as a way to help health providers to discuss with patients the importance of taking medications for their full course, at the proper intervals, and the correct doses.

In recent years, an understanding of side effects and potential risks of exceeding dosing recommendations has been added in an effort to address the growing crisis of opioid abuse and other overdose risks.

Medication adherence is important to some students for personal reasons, as well.

“One of the main reasons I chose to pursue a career in pharmacy has to do with medication adherence,” said Student-Pharmacist Kyle Wilkerson. “I lost my grandmother early to complications from type 2 diabetes specifically coming from not adhering to her insulin regimen. I also lost an uncle who fell victim to the opioid epidemic, he was only 49. Growing up in rural Arkansas I saw first hand how educating patients about adhering to medication can literally save lives."

Wilkerson added, “As a student at Touro University and an active member of the community, I have learned first hand that medication adherence can have a huge impact on the quality and length of life as well as overall healthcare cost.”

October is LGBTQ+ History Month

This month-long celebration began in 1994 as a means of not only celebrating the long battle for LGBTQ+ Civil Rights movement both in the United States and elsewhere, but also as a way of celebrating the numerous contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals to national and world history.

Different from Pride Month, which is celebrated in June, LGBTQ+ History Month is celebrated in October due to the converging of many important dates in the movement’s history.

“Coming Out Day” had already been held in October for nearly a decade prior to History Month coming about. October also marks the anniversary of the first “March on Washington” gay rights event, which took place October 14, 1979.

October also marks the anniversary of the tragic death of Matthew Shepherd, who was killed in a hate crime, October 12, 1998 – just four years after the development of this celebration of .LGBTQ+ rights have gained a lot of ground in the years since these celebrations started, but identifying as LGBTQ+ continues to be illegal in many nations around the world and LGBTQ activists continue to work for equality around the globe. In the United States, an epidemic of violence against trans individuals, especially those of color, has not ceased and is marked by the Trans Day of Remembrance observed in November after LGBTQ+ History Month.

A main component of the celebration is the highlighting of LGBTQ+ historical figures who transformed the world beyond the LGBTQ+ community.

Dr. Alan Turing, a mathematician often credited with creating the field of computer science and the concept of artificial intelligence, artist Gilbert Baker, who is credited with the design of the now iconic Rainbow flag, and Maureen Colquhoun, the first openly lesbian Member of Parliament in the UK, and Dr. Margaret Jessie Chung, one of the first Chinese-American physicians whose work in San Francisco’s Chinatown provided essential women’s health to the area are just a few of the many LGBTQ pioneers recognized during this month.

Medical Librarians celebrated in October

To quote the Beastie Boys, “Where’d you get your information from, huh?”

Luckily for health sciences students like the ones at Touro University California, they have a team of helpful, knowledgeable librarians and October is the month when these tremendous professionals are celebrated nationally.

Reliable, useful information is critical to health sciences education but the types and sources of this information can sometimes be overwhelming for students. Wading through what some library advocacy groups call “information chaos” is a big part of what medical librarians do every day.

While some medical librarians work to assist professional physicians, research teams and others in the medical work world, those that work at places like Touro University also work to serve as a source of stress relief for students, helping them find movies, novels and other resources aimed at giving students a needed break from their studies.

“We are here to help them learn how to find and use information (articles, data, books, etc.) for their projects and papers, and for me at least, that is the most rewarding part of my job,” said Julie Horwath, Electronic Resources and Instruction Librarian. “We want students to know that we have a ton of great resources that are not only curriculum-based, but also study and exam prep tools, writing resources, leisure books, streaming movies, as well as wellness, racial justice, and LGBTQIA+ resource guides we've put together for the TUC community,” she added. “We really just want everyone to know the Library is here to support them and to please reach out if they feel anxious, confused, or hesitant about using the Library or any of the resources.”

In brief

TUCCOM faculty publishes primate research

Touro University's COM professor, Dr Andrea Taylor, along with co-author Dr. Megan Holmes, recently published an article in Royal Society Publishing's Interface Focus related to research on maximum muscle and bite force in primates.

"Animal models are frequently used to study how biological systems perform under a variety of conditions," Dr. Taylor said of the research. "Primates, in particular, provide excellent animal models to study how the various parts of our feeding system, such as the muscles, jaws and teeth, perform when chewing and biting. These models can be extended to the study of how trauma or disease impacts our ability to ingest and break down our foods. Muscles are made up of individual fibers and these fibers have different properties."

Read the entire study here.