School of Health Sciences Offers Scholarships to U.S. Veterans

Touro College's Graduate School of Health Sciences Is Making It Easier for Veterans to Become Physician Assistants

June 01, 2010

In a fitting tribute to the founding of the physician assistant (PA) profession by four U.S. Navy corpsmen, Touro College’s Graduate School of Health Sciences is offering scholarships for its PA program to individuals who have actively served in any branch of the U.S. Armed Services at any time.

The scholarships are available to four students a year—two students per class at both the Manhattan and Bay Shore campuses—and are based on need for those who meet the academic requirements. Touro will award scholarships for any amount not covered by financial aid, or state or grant funding.

“We instituted the scholarships as a pilot program two years ago and now the dean (Dr. Louis Primavera) has adopted it as a policy for the school to support our veterans,” said Dr. Joseph Faiella-Tommasino, Bay Shore/Mineola PA program director. “The military is where PAs were really born. The PA program was spawned from veterans. The first four PAs were military corpsmen who started the program out of Duke University.”

Dr. Tommasino, who decided to become a PA after serving in the military and being exposed to PAs there, is still in the Army Reserves as a lieutenant colonel. He said Touro students can apply for the scholarships after being accepted into the PA program. Applicants meet with a small committee of faculty members who award the scholarships to students that meet the qualifications and demonstrate the most need for financial assistance.

Army Spc. Richard Buckley, a combat medic in the National Guard who hopes to eventually become a thoracic surgeon, said the scholarship he received from Touro serves as a “well-needed blessing” toward his career progression. “I’m grateful to Touro College for having the interest and means of aiding U.S. soldiers. I am now able to acquire certification for a coveted career from a notable institution.”

Touro College is also participating in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program, under which Touro will award scholarships to up to 25 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The program is available at many of Touro College’s undergraduate and graduate programs at its U.S. campuses.

“Part of Touro’s mission is commitment to dedicated service,” late Touro College Founder and President Dr. Bernard Lander said in announcing Touro’s participation last July. “We are proud to honor our country’s brave men and women who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. As they embark on the next phase of their lives, we look forward to offering them the support of the Touro community.”

The Yellow Ribbon Program is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008.

The program allows colleges to match dollar-for-dollar the federal government’s contribution to veterans’ educational costs beyond benefits provided through the GI Bill.

The program allows colleges and universities in the U.S. to enter into agreements with the VA to fund tuition expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate. Touro College will contribute 25 percent toward tuition, up to $9,825, and the VA will match that amount.

This article appeared in the Spring 2010 edition of Touro Links