Touro College Takes Inaugural “Fast Track” Science Students to Washington, D.C. to Learn About Medicine and Health Policy
Director of Communications
“Fast Track Path” Offers Seven Year B.S./D.O. Degrees to Underserved Populations.
New York, N.Y. - A select group of Touro College science honors students on a special “Fast Track Path” to medical school traveled to Washington, D.C. recently to learn about medicine and health policy.
The five students who took the trip, part of an inaugural class of nine, are enrolled in a seven-year “Fast Track Path” at Touro’s New York School of Career and Applied Studies (NYSCAS) and the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM) in Harlem. Selected from a group of 75 applicants, the science honors students will earn bachelors of science and doctor of osteopathic medicine degrees after seven years of study, and then go on to practice osteopathic medicine in underserved communities as osteopathic physicians.
The trip was led by Dr. Jerry Cammarata, dean of student affairs at TouroCOM, the week of April 20th. The goal, Dr. Cammarata explained, was to help the students better understand the complexity of the legislative process, health care disparity in the United States, and to meet with elected officials, including Representative Michael McMahon (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn).
“As future osteopathic physicians, the students were eager to learn from Congressman McMahon about universal health care and the disparity of health care in our country today,” said Dr. Cammarata. “The classroom was folded into several days in the nation’s capital, so the students could better understand the relationship between the practice of osteopathic medicine and being informed citizens who might be able to shape how health care is delivered in the future.”
The nine students in the B.S./D.O honors track, all freshmen majoring in science at NYSCAS, have been taking instruction this year from medical school faculty up at TouroCOM, one of the program’s features that makes it unique. The students are Dina Moustafa of New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Sanjay Sookha of Dix Hills, N.Y.; Ranjeet Singh Kalsi of Riverdale, N.J.; Javier Ortega of New York City; Abraham Ismail of Baldwin, N.Y.; Lidianny Polanco of the Bronx; Munur Tunca of the Bronx; Ravi Patel of Island Park, N.Y.; and Antonia Schmitt-Rheinbay of Mineola, N.Y.
Dr. Jay Sexter, CEO of TouroCOM, designed the seven-year B.S./D.O. science honors track program, and Lenin Ortega, M.S., associate dean of NYSCAS, serves as the director of the B.S./D.O. honors track and recruits the top science students from inner city NYC high schools.
The students will receive their B.S. degrees at NYSCAS, and their D.O. degrees at TouroCOM. With 11 sites throughout New York City, NYSCAS offers a wide range of career-oriented college programs in business management and administration; computer science; human services; and education.
TouroCOM opened in Harlem in September 2007 as the first new medical school in New York State in nearly 30 years, and the first osteopathic college of medicine with a special emphasis on training minority doctors. Its mission is to improve medical care in the Harlem community and to increase the number of minorities practicing medicine.
“These students are among the highest performers in science in the pre-medicine track at NYSCAS,” said Robert Goldberg, D.O., dean of TouroCOM. “We are thrilled to reward their academic excellence by putting them on a fast track to becoming physicians. Whether they practice in our community of Harlem or in another underserved community, they will provide invaluable medical care to those who need it the most.” “
We are so proud of our students who have worked diligently to achieve academic excellence in the sciences,” said Eva Spinelli-Sexter, executive administrative dean of NYSCAS and vice president of community education. “As they take on their studies at TouroCOM to become osteopathic physicians, we know they will continue to get a stellar education and serve in communities where their services will be much in demand.”