The Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) honored the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM) with its prestigious “Spirit of the Heart” award, bestowed at the organization’s 6th Annual Awards Dinner.
The Award and presentation honored individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to cardiology and advancement in health equity by eliminating cardiovascular disease disparities in the delivery of healthcare.
ABC’s annual awards event serves as a celebration of life with proceeds supporting community outreach, heart disease prevention, and education of underrepresented minorities.
“We are so proud to salute Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine with the ABC ‘Spirit of the Heart’ Award,” said Dr. Icilma V. Fergus, president of ABC, director of the Mount Sinai Heart Center for Cardiovascular Disparities, and a member of TouroCOM’s Community Advisory Board.
“TouroCOM’s high regard for applied knowledge and discovery are what we need to develop diverse students who are equipped to lead in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and health sciences. I am proud to be a member of their Board,” Dr. Fergus said.
Founded in Harlem in 2007, an integral part of TouroCOM’s mission is to train osteopathic physicians with an emphasis on practicing medicine in underserved communities and to increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine.
Executive Dean Robert Goldberg, DO, said: “I am honored for the TouroCOM faculty, who not only believe in our mission, but who live it every day. I am so proud that their energy and impact go well beyond the borders of our school. It is recognition from groups like ABC that help us realize that each one of us is making a difference in this world.”
Dr. Goldberg cited bleak statistics on the numbers of blacks in medical school today and called the situation “deplorable.” He said in 1907, blacks accounted for fewer than four percent of medical students and today the number has risen to about six percent, citing data from U.S. News & World Report, while African Americans make up approximately 14 percent of the population, according to U.S. Census Bureau data reported by Blackdemographics.com. Without the handful of medical schools that admit predominantly black students, the numbers would plummet even further, the Dean said.
Dr. Goldberg said he was proud that TouroCOM has graduated more than 68 underrepresented minority physicians – over 10 percent of the student body – since graduating its first class five years ago.
“That number will grow as we learn how to better focus our recruitment efforts and pour energy into systems that help students thrive,” the Dean said, adding, “It is through partnerships with people who strive together, such as Dr. Icy Fergus and ABC that we know we will succeed long term.”
Other individuals and organizations represented at the evening’s ceremonies included North Shore-LIJ Health System; Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine; Novartis; Aetna Foundation; and NYU Global Institute of Public Health.
For further information on Touro College, please go to: http://www.touro.edu.