Touro College Of Osteopathic Medicine Graduates New Doctors, Kadish Discusses Free Speech And Challenges

May 20, 2024

Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM) Harlem awarded D.O. degrees to 120 new doctors on May 16, 2024, at the Apollo Theater.

Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM) Harlem awarded Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degrees to 120 new doctors on Thursday, May 16, at festive ceremonies held at the famed Apollo Theater across the street from the medical school.

The 14th annual commencement began with a welcome from Dean of Student Affairs Nadege Dady, EdD and a traditional academic procession of faculty and administration, accompanied by a Grand Marshal and bagpipes. The Class of 2024 settled into the front rows, with their friends and families joining them behind and above to fill the 1500-seat theater.

President Addresses Polarization and First Amendment

In welcoming and congratulatory remarks to the class, Touro University President Dr. Alan Kadish reminded the graduates as they enter the professional world there will be new pressures and they will have to figure out how to balance work with family, friends, and issues important to them in an increasingly complex environment.

“As physicians, we have a right and responsibility of caring for everyone without prejudice. [In] an increasingly polarized society, the idea that we treat every patient as an equal and with respect has never been more important,” the president said.

He also touched on recent events on college campuses and related them to challenges the graduates will face as they move on. Specifically, he addressed debates about First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly, generated by the protests and discussed by President Joe Biden on May 6, 2024, from the White House.

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“… we are not an authoritarian nation. We don’t silence people or squash dissent.”

“Touro agrees with the remarks made by President Biden and we work diligently to uphold what the President articulated,” said Dr. Kadish. “The President remarked we are not an authoritarian nation. We don’t silence people or squash dissent. Both of these rights must be upheld, although sometimes upholding them simultaneously has been a challenge.” 

He cautioned, “Patients will have some strident views that sometimes they’ll express to you, and we’ll have to do our best in this complicated environment to be sure that we provide equal healthcare to everyone despite those challenges.”

TouroCOM Executive Dean Dr. Kenneth Steier congratulated the graduates on their acceptance to residency programs all over the country to train in a variety of specialties.

Keynote speaker Dr. Michael Akerman, director of medical education at Saint Clare’s Health and St. Mary’s Hospital in Northern New Jersey and an adjunct clinical professor at TouroCOM and New York Medical College, shared lessons learned from treating patients at the bedside.

Awards and Accolades

Graduates took to the stage to accept numerous awards for their accomplishments including for academic achievement, development of clinical skills, community service, achievement in public health, and research.

Geoffrey Campbell, who will start a pediatrics residency at Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, won the Research Award.

“I’m very excited and I feel like I’m well-prepared to begin the journey,” remarked Campbell after the event, who said the President’s remarks resonated with him.

“His speech was really excellent for the time and the climate we are in, especially when he talked about the need to have physicians who care about their patients no matter what their backgrounds are,” Campbell said.

Kyle Buckley won the Excellence in Preclinical and Clinical Years awards and the Dean’s Award for the highest GPA. He will start residency next month in anesthesiology at Mount Sinai West-Morningside Hospital.

“… a real testament to years of hard work, a lot of support from loved ones …”

Buckley said he, too, is excited and feels well-prepared, “It’s a real testament to years of hard work, a lot of support from loved ones, and of course I couldn’t have gotten to this point without the support and education Touro provided.” 

Graduates took to the stage for hooding by family, friends and faculty to receive their degrees, after which Dean of Clinical Education Dr. Barbara Capozzi led them in reciting the Osteopathic Oath that signifies the transition to physician.

A Highly Successful Residency Match 

The class achieved a match rate of 97 percent, with 82 graduates staying in the Tri-State Area (65 in New York City).

Additional institutions receiving Touro D.O. graduates are Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, N.J.; Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in Manhattan; SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn; University of Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y.; and Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn.

Half the class chose to train in primary care specialties such as internal medicine, family medicine and OB/GYN, with the remainder in other areas, such as emergency medicine, psychiatry, and anesthesia.

“You have matched to excellent residencies all over the country and your potential to do great things is limitless,” said Dr. Steier. “I know how hard you have worked. This was not an easy journey and you should be very proud of your success.”

As the event drew to a close, Dean Dady invited everyone back across the street to celebrate the occasion.

Photo credit: Shahar Azran.

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