Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine Receives STEM Award

National Recognition for MedAchieve, a Program that is Making a Difference for Underrepresented Groups in STEM

August 15, 2022
Jaden Rodriguez with mentor Niamh Mulrooney
Jaden Rodriguez with mentor Niamh Mulrooney

Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM) has received the 2022 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for its after-school program serving New York City high school students interested in careers in medicine or other health sciences.

The award marks the fourth year in a row TouroCOM has received the STEM award from the magazine, which is the largest and oldest publication reporting on diversity and inclusion in higher education.

“Touro was selected because of our efforts to inspire and encourage a new generation of young people to consider careers in STEM,” said Dr. Nadege Dady, dean of student affairs at TouroCOM Harlem. “Through the intensive mentoring our medical students provide to   underrepresented minority (URM) youth, we are making a difference. Our MedAchieve program offers role models and support needed to help these high school students reach their goals.”

Weekly Labs and Lectures

At MedAchieve, students attend lectures and labs weekly, with their med student mentors alongside them. Sessions are offered on primary care, anatomy, surgery, cardiology, bioethics, genetics, public health, and health inequities, among others.

“The goal is to provide an applied understanding of basic sciences in the field of medicine,” explained Dean Dady.

Since 2015, the MedAchieve program has provided mentorship to over 570 students at 20 different high schools in NYC, and a sizeable number at TouroCOM’s Middletown, N.Y. campus as well.

Participation has been growing, with over 100 students enrolled last year on the Harlem campus, from 33 participating schools, including 11 in Harlem.

Along with growth, the MedAchieve curriculum has also been evolving. Students recently began presenting cases “Grand Rounds” style, just as medical students present actual cases on the hospital floors. The students researched and presented the symptoms, history, path to diagnosis, and treatment of real world scenarios to their peers and mentors, which gave them the chance to problem solve, think critically, practice public speaking skills, and showcase what they learned.

In a session on medical genetics, a team of mentors created an interactive game where students used evidence and knowledge from their lesson about genetics and inheritance to identify likely suspects in a murder mystery case.

MedAchieve participant Jaden Rodriguez, a rising senior at Bronx River High School, said he wants to become a surgeon and plans to join the military to help finance his education and to learn more about science and medicine.

“I’ve had so much fun and learned so much – about health disparities, disease, the human body…the cadaver lab was surreal,” he said, observing the lab was “more about team-building and how you need to work with a team properly for things to go right in a medical setting.”

Rodriguez was paired with Niamh Mulroony, a second year student at TouroCOM. Mulroony, who comes from a family of Irish immigrants, said she did not have any mentors until she reached high school and college, where things changed.

“I had great mentors who helped me become more confident in my abilities and helped me make tangible professional connections. At MedAchieve, I see myself as a cheerleader for Jaden’s goal of becoming a medical student, and being someone who can connect him to medicine before he gets to college,” she said. “I talk to Jaden a lot about college and what he wants to do, and share tips.”