Success with Flying Colors

Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine Harlem Returns to Apollo Theater to Celebrate Class of 2022 Commencement

May 26, 2022
graduates standing in lecture hall taking a group selfie in caps and gowns
TouroCOM Harlem's Class of 2022

Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine Harlem (TouroCOM) graduated 117 new Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine on Tuesday at the famed Apollo Theater, the first in-person commencement the school has held since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ceremonies opened with greetings from Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Nadege Dady and a processional with bagpipes.

The class of 2022 and their families, friends and faculty celebrated not only the students’ accomplishments, but also their perseverance and ability to adapt during the uncertain times created by the pandemic.

“No question, it’s been a difficult couple of years, and without the support of friends, family, acquaintances and everyone else it would have been even harder for you to be sitting here today,” Touro University President Dr. Alan Kadish said in his keynote address. “We’re very proud not only of the graduates but of everyone who supported them through this difficult time.”

100% Match Rates, Highest Licensure Pass Rates in Nation

The president lauded the class for exemplifying TouroCOM’s mission by educating, vaccinating and helping the community, as well as achieving a 100 percent residency match rate, and the highest pass rates in the country on their licensing exams.

“To accomplish that, in the face of the challenges that have been going on, is truly remarkable,” Dr. Kadish said. “As tough as it’s been, it’s made you much better prepared for what you have to face in the future. I have no doubt you will succeed with flying colors. Now, at this complicated time, we really need you more than ever and we know you’re up to the task.”

Class speaker Gabe Esses drew laughter and applause for his dramatic recounting of the ups and downs, uncertainties and stresses, and excitement experienced during the past four years of medical school. Looking forward, he predicted a bright future: surgeon generals, trailblazers, and world-renowned educators, researchers and physicians will emerge from the class and solve health inequities and cure disease.

“How do I know this? Because sitting here before you today are warriors, born and raised fighters, who when told ‘no’ don’t rest until they find the ‘yes’; who when confronted with failure, try harder and do better; who when faced with rejection, move outside the box and find another way,” he declared.

Recognition for Academic Achievement, Public Service, Research

Numerous awards were presented before degrees were conferred, tassels turned and oaths taken.

Dr. Kenneth Steier, executive dean and chief academic officer of TouroCOM, received the Sheldon S. Sirota Medal of Honor, given annually to an outstanding educator for their devotion to DO students, their programs and affiliations created for TouroCOM. Dr. Steier was founding dean of the Middletown campus, after serving as clinical dean in Harlem for five years.

The Dean’s Award, for the highest academic standing, was shared by Woo Jin Seog and Loren Clark, who also shared the “Excellence in Preclinical Years” award and the American Medical Women’s Association Award - along with Autumn Breutzmann, Bi Liu Yu, Olga Marushchak and Shelby Cadet.

The “Excellence in Clinical Years” award went to Eric Basile, and “DO Student of the Year” to Adam Halpern. The “Research Award” went to four students: Steve Orellana, Olivia Mobarakai, Andrew Chandler and Elise Hsu. Ms. Hsu also received the “Community Service Award” from the Medical Society of the State of New York. Derek Salud and Koura Sall shared the “Excellence in Public Health” award. Eugene Park, spouse of student Young Park, received the Donna Jones Moritsugu Memorial Award, given to an individual for supporting the class.

As is customary, primary care fields were the most popular match for the new residents, followed by emergency medicine. Over half the class will remain in the tri-state area, including 35 in the five boroughs of New York City. Fifteen graduates will be at TouroCOM affiliate sites, including at Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and Staten Island University Hospital. Other local residency sites are Albert Einstein College of Medicine and its primary teaching hospital Montefiore Medical Center, Mt. Sinai West, and New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

Other institutions receiving TouroCOM Harlem graduates are Cleveland Clinic Hospital, Henry Ford Macomb Hospital in Detroit, Loma Linda University Medical Center in California, Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, and UC Davis Medical Center.