Outstanding Teachers and Educators: TouroCOM Middletown Names Teachers of the Year

Pearl Myers, MD, and Oana Rosenthal, MS, Recognized

July 02, 2020
Professors Oana Rosenthal, MS, and Pearl Myers, MD, are TouroCOM Middletown's 2020 Teachers of the Year.

Pearl Myers, MD, and Oana Rosenthal, MS, were awarded the Teacher of the Year Award by TouroCOM Middletown. Teachers are nominated via anonymous poll and recipients with the most nominations are given to a selection committee to make the final decision. Dr. Myers was selected by the second-year students and Professor Rosenthal was chosen by the first-year students.

Both teachers have been members of the TouroCOM Middletown faculty since 2015.

Dr. Myers began her medical career by working in a microbiology lab after she graduated college. Realizing that the only way to run a lab was to become a pathologist, Dr. Myers enrolled in medical school. She earned her medical degree at the then-relatively late age of 31, a fact that has enabled her to bond with TouroCOM students, many of whom follow a non-traditional path to their medical career. (As an interesting aside, the oldest student Dr. Myers taught was 51 at William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine; he became a doctor at 55).

Dr. Myers said that winning the award was a surprise and a pleasant way to end a difficult year. In addition to the covid-19 crisis, Dr. Myers suffered a back and hip injury that required her to use a wheelchair for several months in the beginning of the year.

Dr. Myers credited her success with her students to how she approaches teaching in a DO school.

“You have to not just be there for the academic part of your students’ experiences, you have to be there for the other parts of their lives,” said Dr. Myers. “You have to be open and willing to listen to your students. You have to be there when they need you.”

Oana Rosenthal, MS, called the award “humbling” and said it was especially meaningful given that this is the first year she worked as course director for anatomy. Rosenthal was the recipient of the 2017 TouroCOM Middletown Teacher of the Year award, nominated by students in the school’s master’s program.

“With Touro being a small community, I feel like I’ve had so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere,” said Rosenthal. “Whether it’s being involved in so many committees or having one-on-one sessions with course directors and peers to getting to see every single side of medical education, it’s been quite an experience. I truly appreciate my time at TouroCOM and it’s helped bring me where I am today.”

Myers and Rosenthal both spoke effusively about their colleagues and made sure to credit them with their respective success.

“We’ve been together for so many years that I can look at another faculty member and know I can depend on them,” said Myers. “When they saw me in a wheelchair, they did not hesitate to help me.”

“This award represents the mentoring, support and the faith that students, administration and my colleagues have given me,” said Rosenthal.

Students could write brief comments anonymously with their nomination for Teacher of the Year:

Oana Rosenthal:

“Ms. Rosenthal is the epitome of an academic and educator. She has dedicated a tremendous amount of time to teaching in and out of lab, creating new lecture video content on canvas, continuing her own education, and reaching out to students amidst the pandemic despite no longer doing lectures for neuroanatomy. She cares about her students and their success. It is very apparent that she loves what she does and puts in 100 percent effort all the time.”

Pearl Myers:

“Dr. Myers is such an outstanding teacher and mentor. She truly cares for her students. You can always expect an honest, heartfelt answer to any question you ask, even if it isn't the answer you were expecting. I can't express enough how much having her here has meant for me during this journey. She will always have my most sincere admiration.”