First Class of Medical Students Graduate from the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine at Harlem's Famed Apollo Theater

Date: June 01, 2011
Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine’s newly-minted inaugural class of doctors celebrated their completion of medical school alongside TouroCom Dean Dr. Robert Goldberg onstage at Harlem’s Apollo Theatre.
Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine’s newly-minted inaugural class of doctors celebrated their completion of medical school alongside TouroCom Dean Dr. Robert Goldberg onstage at Harlem’s Apollo Theatre.
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Students to Join Residency Programs at Numerous Prestigious Institutions; Over Half of Class Plan Careers in Primary Care Medicine.

New York, N.Y. - With the voices of the Harlem Boys Choir filling the rafters with song, a bagpiper led the over 100 graduating students of the inaugural class of The Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine down the aisle of the famed Apollo Theatre in Harlem Thursday in an energetic and uplifting ceremony to receive their diplomas.

The event was a unique celebration for the school - the only new medical school to open in New York City in 30 years - as well as its students and the Harlem community, where Touro has fostered a close relationship. Harlem leaders, such as former New York Governor David Paterson, were on hand to celebrate the moment.

The newly-minted graduates are being hailed by the medical community for their recent acceptances into some of the best medical and surgical residency programs in the country, including those at New York University Medical Center (which will include Tisch and Bellevue hospitals); Walter Reed National Army Hospital; Mt. Sinai Hospital, Baltimore; the Mayo Clinic, and many others. Several students have also received national individual honors, in stiff competition with other students at some of the nation's most renowned medical schools.

"Today is the culmination of the hard work and dedication of our staff, faculty and most importantly our students," said Alan Kadish, M.D., president and CEO of the Touro College and University System. "For a new medical school to have so much success sending students to top- tier medical programs with its first graduating class sets the precedent that we will be creating excellent doctors for many years to come."

"Just as many new careers in the arts have been launched on the stage of the Apollo, these young men and women are launching their careers as physicians," said Dean Robert Goldberg, DO. "Over the years they will revisit their alma mater. But most important, they have chosen to serve the great people of Harlem and other underserved communities in our country as osteopathic physicians."

Since its founding in 2007, The Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine has dedicated itself to encouraging minorities to enter medicine and to increasing the number of primary care physicians. Of the graduating class, 53 percent are minorities. Moreover, more than half the members of the graduating class have chosen residencies in primary care fields of medicine, which include general/internal medicine, pediatrics, family practice, and OB/GYN. This figure contrasts sharply with the national rate of doctors choosing primary care, which is five percent.

"We value community-based, primary care medicine and hope that our students will come back to Harlem following their residencies to serve the community or similar urban neighborhoods," Dean Goldberg said.

After the ceremonies, the crowd of students, faculty, administrators and guests from the community crossed the street to the school for a luncheon reception and a tour of the new facilities. Located at 230 W. 125th St. across from the Apollo Theater, the new medical school boasts state-of-the-art medical education and laboratory facilities, including amphitheatre lecture halls, classrooms, offices, and facilities for clinical skills training and support.

The degree offered at The Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine is the doctor of osteopathic medicine, DO. Like M.D.s, DOs complete four years of basic medical education and pass comparable licensing exams. DO's receive additional training in osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM), which gives them a diagnostic and therapeutic advantage in providing the most comprehensive care. Osteopathic medical schools encourage their graduates to become primary care physicians; however approximately 40 percent take their post-graduate training in various specialties of medicine and surgery.

The Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine is the nation's 24th college of osteopathic medicine and Touro's third. In 1997, Touro opened a college in Vallejo, California and in 2004, its second, in Henderson, Nevada. The Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine has received accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association, Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation, and its program is registered by the New York State Education Department.