Inaugural Class of TouroCOM Middletown Celebrates First Commencement
Orange County’s Only Medical School Issues Diplomas to 117 New Doctors; Graduates to Complete Residency Programs and Continue Service to Underserved Communities
Executive Director of Communications
MIDDLETOWN, NY – Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM) in Middletown conferred diplomas upon 117 candidates for the doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree. The students, representing TouroCOM’s first graduating class, completed a rigorous four-year medical education and earned the tenth highest scores in the country on their first licensing examination (COMLEX-1).Graduates will complete residency programs at leading hospitals including New York Presbyterian, the Cleveland Clinic and Orange Regional Medical Center.
The commencement was held in the Paramount Theater and featured speakers included former New York Governor David Paterson, Rear Admiral Tecora Ballom, DO, Mayer of Middletown John DeStefano Jr.,developer Tony Danza of The Danza Group, President of Touro College and University System Dr. Alan Kadish, M.D., Executive Vice President and University Ombudsman of the Touro College and University System Rabbi Moshe D. Krupka, M.S., founding Dean of TouroCOM Middletown Kenneth J. Steier, DO, former Provost, CEO and Vice President for Academic Affairs for the Harlem and Middletown Jay Sexter, DO, Dean of Student Affairs and COO Jerry Cammarata, Ph.D. and graduating student speakers Bianca Zapanta and Nickolas Meier.
“The students in our first class have exceeded all expectations. They achieved a 100 percent match rate into residency and earned respect from all the physicians with whom they have worked,” said Dr. Steier. “The sense of commitment, adventure and ability to take risk are all exemplary, and they will forever be known as our outstanding inaugural class.”
As the only medical school in Orange County, and the second school of osteopathic medicine in the state, TouroCOM has improved the region’s healthcare system and provided new education and career pathways to local residents. While graduating and current students hail from around the U.S., the school recruits heavily from the Greater Hudson Valley area and is seeing dozens of students remain to complete their rotations and residencies at local hospitals.
“Touro’s campus is located just a few miles from Sullivan County, a county that we assessed as the second most medically underserved community in this state,” said Governor Paterson. “To have Touro bring an osteopathic medicine school here is truly a great thrill and it has contributed to the re-expansion of the Hudson Valley.”
Since opening its doors in fall of 2014, TouroCOM has focused on serving the community and improving healthcare of local residents. By introducing outreach and education-based programs such as MedAchieve and the school’s annual community health fair, TouroCOMis working to increase the number of minorities in medicine and provide medical care to those in need.
“Medicine requires sacrifice, time and money, but the relationships that we formed here at Touro are unlike any other,” said graduating student Meier. “We were placed in an environment that gave us the opportunity to collaborate, share resources and materials, and got rid of the cut throat culture you see at a lot of other institutions. We were able to view each other as peers and not enemies, fostering long lasting connections.”
In cooperation with the American Osteopathic Association TouroCOM also presented the following awards:
- Faigi Derman received the Donna Jones Moritsugu Memorial Award in recognition of her commitment and the immeasurable support that she gave to her husband, which enhanced his ability to thrive within the osteopathic profession
- Dr. Adele El Kareh and Dr. Craig Amnott received the Preceptor of the Year Award for their dedication to the clinic medical profession
- Tyler Tantillo received the Dean’s Award, given to the student who has achieved the highest academic standing within the graduating class. Tantillo also received both the Excellence in the Preclinical Years Award and the Excellence in the Clinical Years Award.
- Christine Miller received the Dean’s Appreciation Award
- Matthew Brennan received the Research Award, given to a student who has shown an extraordinary talent in research activities
- Rebecca Hellmann received the Award for Excellence in Public Health
- Bianca Zapanta received the Student of the Year Award for exemplifying the extraordinary attributes of a physician
- Mariyln Wu received the Community Service Award from the Medical Society of the State of New York for her community projects
- TouroCOM’s furry friends – dogs Emma and Colby – received the Award for Special Service for giving tirelessly to students, faculty, staff and the administration
Osteopathic medicine is an approach to medical care rooted in the philosophy that systems in the body are interrelated. Students of osteopathic medicine are taught to treat the whole patient and consider environmental and psychological factors, in addition to physiological signs and symptoms, to determine not just a diagnosis, but a long-term course of action that can strengthen and sustain the body’s natural defenses.
The Touro College and University System
Touro is a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American and global community. Approximately 19,200 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro College has 30 campuses and locations in New York, California, Nevada, Berlin, Jerusalem and Moscow. New York Medical College; Touro University California and Touro University Nevada; Touro University Worldwide and its TouroCollege Los Angeles division; as well as Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Ill. are separately accredited institutions within the TouroCollege and University System. For further information on Touro College, please go to: www.touro.edu/news