Third Class of Medical Students Graduate from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine at Harlem's Famed Apollo Theater

Date: June 10, 2013
Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2013, on stage at commencement ceremonies at the Apollo Theater.  Photo credit:  SA PRO, Inc.
Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2013, on stage at commencement ceremonies at the Apollo Theater. Photo credit: SA PRO, Inc.
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New York, N.Y. – The Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM) in Harlem graduated its third class yesterday, conferring 124 candidates with the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree.

As the Manhattan Brass Band played jazz tunes, about 1,400 students, faculty, family members and other well-wishers filled the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem for the ceremonies, which opened with a processional led by a bagpiper, followed by a United States Navy color guard, who accompanied the school’s four military candidates to the stage for a commissioning ceremony conducted by a U.S. Army Colonel. 

Dean Robert Goldberg, DO, delivered a warm welcome to the guests, which was followed by a tribute to Sheldon Sirota, DO, a founder of TouroCOM and its sister colleges in Nevada and California, who passed away this spring.

Alan Kadish, M.D., president and CEO of the Touro College and University System, reminded the graduates of Touro College’s ideals: pursuing opportunities to deliver innovative health care, enhancing professionalism with continual learning, and serving humanity…. ‘‘These ideals of serving humanity and refining knowledge are reflected in the Jewish intellectual tradition, a part of Touro College’s mission,” he said. 

Dr. Kadish also touched on the role of technology in the graduates’ education, noting that TouroCOM is the only osteopathic medical school in the U.S. that provides students with predictive analytics (use of sophisticated technology to predict learning outcomes), which enhance the educational experience. However, he said, technology should not overshadow the doctor-patient relationship and providing high-quality care to the underserved and others.

“Your professional relationship with your patients, built on developing a therapeutic bond of trust, is one of the essential factors in assuring that they do well,” the president said.

In congratulating the graduates, Dean Goldberg reminded them that they came to TouroCOM with dreams of delivering medical care to those in need. “You’ve created a reality from your dream,” the dean said. “Do not stop dreaming. Reach high. Dream of even greater things to come - discoveries to make and obstacles to overcome.”

Keynote speaker Norman E. Vinn, DO and president elect of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), took the students through the founding of the profession and challenges faced by DOs in its 138 year history. He asked the graduates to become the “next generation of heroes” by working on personal growth, leadership, and becoming stewards of the profession.

“Becoming a great doctor is not a contest -- it’s a journey of personal growth. Rise to your mandate of leadership,” Dr. Vinn said. “Be a mentor, a role model. Practice osteopathic medicine not only with your hands, but with your head and heart…. We tend to look at the whole person. We have a rich heritage to be remembered and preserved.”

Following a student address by class representative Buck Stolberg, DO, and presentation of student awards, the candidates took the stage to receive their degrees.

Soon the graduates will begin their residencies, with about half going into primary care, a cornerstone of the school’s mission. Among the hospitals receiving the graduates are Maimonides Medical Center, Einstein/Montefiore Medical Center, Johns Hopkins Medical Center, the University of Florida, and the University of California-Davis.

Founded in 2007, TouroCOM is the nation’s 24th college of osteopathic medicine.  Like M.D.s, DOs complete four years of basic medical education and pass comparable licensing exams. DOs receive additional training in osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM). TouroCOM has received accreditation from the AOA, Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation, and its program is registered by the New York State Education Department.