Parlor House Fundraiser Raises $70k for Student Scholarships

Harlem’s African-American leaders and Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine leaders raise funds for underrepresented minority students

December 01, 2014

As Touro’s mission involves a commitment to helping increase the numbers of underrepresented/minority students who attend medical school, this fundraiser represented an important cause to TouroCOM’s administration.

The idea of a parlor house meeting, with a unique guest list that would bring together leaders of the African American/civil rights movement with the deans and founders of TouroCOM, was floated by Dr. John Palmer, TouroCOM’s director of community affairs and diversity. “Many qualified underrepresented minority students will never have the opportunity of pursuing their dream to become physicians unless they receive funding through the efforts of multi-racial and multi-ethnic coalitions of conscience,” said Palmer.

And thus, the first official TouroCOM-Harlem parlor meeting was born. The November 12th evening of “Cocktails, Music and Conversation” was held in the home of Mr. Michael Hardy and his wife Dr. Robin Brown, the former of whom is general counsel to the National Action Network.

Approximately seventy guests attended the dessert reception, which raised approximately $70,000 for underrepresented minority student scholarships. Notable members of the Community Advisory Board who attended the event include Dr. Hazel Dukes, the New York State Chairperson of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Geoffrey Eaton, deputy chief of staff to New York’s Congressman Charles B. Rangel; Dr. Maurice Wright, medical director of Harlem Hospital Center; and C. Virginia Fields, former Manhattan Borough president. Other Community Advisory Board members who attended the parlor meeting include Walter Edwards, Dr. Icilma Fergus, Allynne Spinner, John Crepsac, and Geoffrey Eaton. The event was organized under the auspices of Dr. Eric Levine, vice president of Touro’s Office of Institutional Advancement.

Guests heard remarks from the above-mentioned, as well as Touro President and CEO Dr. Alan Kadish and Dr. Robert Goldberg. Several TouroCOM students also spoke about their experiences at the school, including Shannon Caesar (OMS-II), Olga Jacques (OMS-II), Tieg Beazer (OMS-III), and Michelle Guzman (OMS-II), the latter two of whom are president and secretary, respectively, of TouroCOM’s Creating Osteopathic Minority Physicians who Achieve Scholastic Success (COMPASS), a student club that aligns itself with Touro’s mission of recruiting aspiring medical school students from minority groups.

Combined with Dr. Goldberg’s initial parlor house fundraiser and additional donations, more than $100,000 has been raised for the TouroCOM Fund for Underrepresented Minority Students thus far, and an additional parlor event is being planned for the spring.