Touro Stands Strong in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

A Message from Touro President, Dr. Alan Kadish

March 25, 2020
Dr. Alan Kadish

Higher education—and truly, the entire world—has never experienced anything like the crisis that we now find ourselves in. While the nature of the coronavirus itself may present unknowns, the solution, from the vantage point of action, is clear: We must work hard, and we must prevail. The great scientist Louis Pasteur aptly noted, fortune favors the prepared mind.

As educators accountable for the safety, well-being and future of more than 18,000 students worldwide, Touro appreciates the weight of responsibility that falls on our shoulders during these historic moments. As I write these words, I am proud to report that, as a University System, we are more than rising to this immense challenge. Indeed, Touro has taken a leadership role on numerous fronts in this battle. Since the introduction of the novel coronavirus, a day has not gone by where I have not proudly witnessed the dedication and creativity of the extraordinary men and women who comprise our faculty and staff as we adapt to our new educational paradigm. While the shift to online courses demands strong efforts and a fresh approach to instruction, the outcomes have been equally rewarding.

Fortune favors the prepared mind and Touro was prepared. Our contingency plans were well in place. Our department of online education had already garnered expertise in distance learning, and our infrastructure was functioning and ready to expand. As such, we transitioned almost seamlessly to fully on-line education. On any given day, we now have hundreds of online classes taking place, and our students continue to gain a valuable education, not only in their course work and academic pursuits, but also in the process of adapting to extraordinary circumstances. They are learning and they are thriving.

Beyond our academic work, Touro’s commitment to humanity is being demonstrated across the board by our faculty, staff and students. Efforts are underway—from clinical work at New York Medical College and our Center for Disaster Medicine to student volunteers from all of our schools—to help victims of the virus and to assist those on the frontlines in any and every way possible.

Touro has emerged from its routine into a nimble powerhouse that understands the measures that are necessary to address this and any crisis: a prepared mind; a prepared faculty and staff. As we reach out and help others during this pandemic, our message to all is the philosophy to which we ourselves have always adhered. This is a time to draw from experience, to hunker down and to apply ingenuity to our changing circumstances: to move forward, as clever and compassionate individuals, and great societies have done before. When this crisis has passed, we will look back on these days with extraordinary pride, for we will have done more than weather a dangerous storm—we will have mobilized for everyone’s betterment. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, this will have been our finest hour.

Dr. Alan Kadish