Awards, Grants, and Notable News

A digest of the awards, grants, and recognition recently received by Touro students, faculty, staff, and alumni

August 10, 2023
Front entrance of Touro University California

Three cheers to the talented faculty, students, and staff of Touro University California, whose excellence and dedication deserve to be recognized and celebrated. These accolades not only serve as a testament to the unwavering commitment of individuals who shape the future but also inspire a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.

Dr. Rajagopalan Completes Academic Leadership Training Program

The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) has hosted a year-long academic leadership fellowship program every year for the last 19 years. The fellowship programs provide various types of leadership experiences and education throughout the year to help develop and maintain leaders within the pharmacy academic community. Typically, 30-36 fellows a year complete this fellowship.

Most past fellows have become deans, associate deans, assistant deans, department chairs, and more. Dr. Vanishree Rajagopalan was promoted to Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at TUCCOP during her fellowship. She began the program in September 2022, and worked closely with the other fellows, dean mentors from schools across the country, and her dean here at TUCCOP. She graduated from the fellowship on July 22, 2023.


Dr. Tamira Elul Awarded R15 Grant from the National Institutes of Health

Dr. Tamira Elul, Associate Professor in the Department of Foundational Biomedical Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine, who was awarded an R15 grant from the National Institutes of Health for her project titled “Cannabinoid Signaling Interactions During Axon Development in situ”. Below is a brief description of her project.

The cannabis plants marijuana and hashish are the most commonly used substances of abuse by women of reproductive age.  However, frequent exposure to cannabis during fetal stages can cause negative impacts on brain development and neurobehavioral and cognitive deficits in children.  The work proposed in this project will help explain how increased prenatal cannabis exposure impacts the developing brain by defining key cellular processes that are affected, using.  Another aim of this grant is to expand research training opportunities for medical and masters students.  The grant will provide funding for summer research training for six medical and masters students over three years.  Engaging in basic research will enhance medical students’ critical thinking, observation, collaboration and communication skills, which will help them practice evidence-based medicine, and later perform research to improve patient care and outcomes. 


Dr. Shane P. Desselle selected to the Editorial Board of McGraw's AccessPharmacy

Dr. Shane Desselle, a distinguished College of Pharmacy faculty member, has been selected to join the Editorial Board and serve as an Associate Editor for McGraw Hill Medical's AccessPharmacy. This prestigious appointment grants him a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of pharmacy education and practice. AccessPharmacy is a comprehensive online resource that provides essential textbooks, multimedia content, and interactive tools for pharmacy students and practitioners. Dr. Desselle's responsibilities encompass identifying curricular gaps, evaluating new book proposals, integrating online learning tools, and ensuring the relevance of content for pharmacy curricula globally. With his expertise and contributions, Dr. Desselle will play a vital part in enhancing the quality and accessibility of educational resources in the pharmacy field, impacting students, educators, and professionals across the United States and beyond.


Certified PA Kasaundra Heiberger and PA student Sara Hubl Receive Be the Change Grant

Certified Physician Assistant Kasaundra Heiberger and Physician Assistant student Sara Hubl, in collaboration with the "Be the Change" program, are leading a unique public health initiative in Vallejo. Their project utilizes local barbershops to enhance access to blood pressure monitoring and education, particularly within the diverse community. The initiative aims to eliminate barriers to screenings, improve screening practices, and empower vulnerable populations susceptible to hypertension. With the support of the “Be the Change” program, Heiberger and Hubl are transforming this innovative idea into action, leveraging community engagement to make a meaningful impact on healthcare accessibility and awareness.