Touro’s School of Health Sciences Awards Record Number of Degrees To Graduates of Skilled Healthcare Programs

Date: September 25, 2015
Graduates from Touro College School of Health Sciences Speech Language Program, left to right: Jillian Finnegan,  Samantha Dean, Sherrie Wohl, Alexandra Heller, and Christine Schraier.
Graduates from Touro College School of Health Sciences Speech Language Program, left to right: Jillian Finnegan, Samantha Dean, Sherrie Wohl, Alexandra Heller, and Christine Schraier.
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Deborah Anders

New York, N.Y. - With pride and jubilation, honored graduates of Touro College School of Health Sciences (SHS) received their hard-won academic degrees during the School’s annual commencement ceremonies on Sept. 10 at the Tilles Performing Arts Center in Brookville, L.I. 

This year’s 422 graduates− who earned bachelor’s, master’s, associate’s, doctoral and post-doctoral degrees from the School’s six fields of study, surpassed last year’s (382), and the degrees awarded represent the most the School has ever given. The Physician Assistant (PA) Program awarded the most degrees (167), followed by Physical Therapy (PT) (85), Occupational Therapy (OT) (68), Speech and Language Pathology (SLP) (48), Nursing (23), Biology (20), and Psychology (11). 

Keynote speaker Dr. Andrea Blau, a speech pathologist and attorney who is a clinical and legal consultant, urged future clinicians to “advocate for their patients every step of the way.”

“Be a voice for the voiceless, and don’t be afraid to step up and do what needs to be done,” said Dr. Blau. “Try to see the world through your patient’s eyes and work on the next step. If you do that, there are really no failures, only triumphs.” 

According to Dr. Louis Primavera, School of Health Sciences Dean, the field of healthcare has continued to demonstrate robust job growth. Among “The 36 Top Health Care Jobs,” listed in a 2015 survey in U.S. News & World Report, were Physician Assistant (median salary: $92,970, expected job openings: 33,000), Physical Therapist (median salary: $81,030, expected job openings: 73,500), and Occupational Therapist (median salary: $76,940, expected job openings: 32,800).  Programs at Touro’s SHS are among the most competitive in the region, offering academic and clinical programs in a broad range of allied health professions and medical sciences.  

Commemorating the 14th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001, and recognizing the beginning of the Jewish New Year, Touro Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Krupka said the convocation was an appropriate time for understanding and appreciating the frailty and significance of life.  

“You have studied so very hard to preserve life, to improve life, to heal the ailing and give support and care to those in need. We take incredible pride in your achievements,” said Rabbi Krupka.

Maimonides Award Winners

Every year, the School of Health Sciences presents the Maimonides Awards to students in each of the School’s programs who demonstrate the highest professional ideals of a health sciences practitioner.

The 2015 Maimonides Award recipients were:

OT Program: John Denny of Franklin Square, N.Y. and Elana Rosenbaum of Teaneck, N.J; OT Assistant Program: April Kirby of Manhattan; PT Program: Ji-Nee Lo of Manalapan, N.J. and Thomas Protopapas of Leonia, N.J.; PA Program: Kristina DiMezza of Lindenhurst, N.Y., Matthew Stamm of Roslyn, N.Y., and  Rachael Goldstein of Ridge, N.Y.; and SLP Program: Esther Schorr of Brooklyn, N.Y.

In separate ceremonies, graduates were presented with awards for academic, clinical and research excellence in Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Language Therapy. 

Dean Primavera thanked numerous faculty and administrators including Dr. Nadja Graff, Vice President of the Division of Graduate Studies, and Rabbi Krupka, “for being incredibly supportive, helpful, and for making my job easy.” He also thanked military service men and women in the audience for defending our country. 

Accolades & Appreciation

In addition to student awards, faculty leadership, teaching and personal achievement awards were presented to Prof. Michael Weber, Dr. Stephanie Dapice-Wong, Prof. M. Blanche Leeman, Prof. Julie Kardachi, Prof. Harold Felton, Prof. Steven Blaustein, and Dr. Joe Hayes.