Dr. Antonia Coello Novello, New York State Commissioner of Health and Former U.S. Surgeon General, Delivers Keynote Address at Touro College School of Health Sciences Commencement
Director of Communications
School Awards 324 Degrees to Class of 2006 on Thursday, September 14, 2006 at The Tillis Center for the Performing Arts.
LONG ISLAND, N.Y. – Dr. Antonia Coello Novello, the New York State Commissioner of Health and former Surgeon General of the United States, delivered the keynote address at the School of Health Sciences Commencement on Thursday, September 14th. The ceremonies took place at the Tillis Center for the Performing Arts on the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University in Brookville, N.Y.
The School of Health Sciences presented 324 candidates for graduation, including doctoral, master's, bachelor's, and associate degrees. Established in 1986, the School of Health Sciences currently offers multiple educational programs at four locations. Its degree programs include physician assistant studies, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology and audiology, forensic examination, health care administration, acupuncture and oriental medicine, public health, nursing, forensic science and physical therapy.
In her address, Dr. Novello cited the high percentage of Touro College graduates who pass certifying and licensure exams and said, "This institution is known for turning out graduates who are well prepared to face the health care challenges of today's world."
Dr. Novello emphasized the important community service the graduates provided through their clinical rotations, saying, "You have provided critical health services to patients in hospitals, clinics, community health centers and doctor's offices, and in doing so you have contributed to the health of others while broadening your own health care delivery experiences."
Nominated by Governor George E. Pataki to be the thirteenth New York State Health Commissioner on June 3, 1999, her nomination was confirmed on June 15, 1999. She heads one of the leading public health agencies in the nation, with responsibility for a $49.4 billion budget - the largest of any New York State agency and over one-third the total of the entire New York State budget.
Some of her major program responsibilities include Medicaid; Child Health Plus and Family Health Plus; Youth Tobacco Enforcement and Prevention; regulation of hospitals, nursing homes and home health agencies; Managed Care, Bio-terrorism Preparedness and professional medical conduct. A graduate of the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine at San Juan, Dr. Novello had the distinction of being the first Hispanic woman to serve as Surgeon General of the U.S., an appointment she received from President Bush in 1990.
"As future healthcare providers, researchers, and public health leaders with a very visible responsibility to uphold the public trust, I hope you are not just preparing for a job; I hope you are not just planning a career; I hope each and every one of you has a calling -- a humanitarian calling," she told the graduates and their families.
Said Dr. Joseph Weisberg, dean of the School of Health Sciences: "We were very pleased that someone of Dr. Novello's caliber and experience was able to join us to help celebrate the achievements of our graduates. She epitomizes the good sense that is the core of good medicine."
The 324 candidates who received degrees Thursday were as follows:
- Eight candidates for the degree of Master of Public Health
- Eleven for the degree of Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies in Biological and Physical Sciences in the Biomedical Program
- Six for the degree of Master of Science in Forensic Examination
- Thirty from the Occupational Therapy Program for the dual degrees of Bachelor of Science in the Health Sciences and Master of Science in Occupational Therapy
- Eight candidates for the degree of Associate in Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant
- Ten candidates for the degree of Master in Science in Orthopedic Physical Therapy
- Twenty-four candidates for the Post-Professional doctorate in Physical Therapy
- Forty-two candidates from the Physical Therapy Program for the dual degrees of Bachelor of Science in the Health Sciences and Doctorate in Physical Therapy
- Sixteen candidates for the degree of Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant
- Forty-four candidates for the degree of Master of Science in the Speech and Language Pathology Program
- One hundred fifteen candidates for the degree of Bachelor of Science in the Physician Assistant Program
- Ten candidates for the dual degrees of Bachelor of Professional Studies in Health Sciences and Master of Science in Oriental Medicine.