News From Touro College

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2Dean Recognized for Advancing Social Work. Dr. Steven Huberman, founding and current dean of the Touro College Graduate School of Social Work, was presented with the prestigious Social Work Image Award from the National Association of Social Workers at the New York City chapter’s annual meeting in Manhattan recently.
News From Touro College

Dean Recognized for Advancing Social Work. Dr. Steven Huberman, founding and current dean of the Touro College Graduate School of Social Work, was presented with the prestigious Social Work Image Award from the National Association of Social Workers at the New York City chapter’s annual meeting in Manhattan recently.

With 132,000 members, NASW is the world’s largest membership organization of professional social workers. The Image Award recognizes NASW members who have made unique contributions in advancing the profession and ensuring its strength and vitality for years to come. Dean Huberman was honored for his visible, active leadership, commitment to community-building, and dedication to the social work profession.

In paying tribute to Dr. Huberman, NASW President Martha Adams cited the way Dr. Huberman has turned Touro’s social work motto, “A Community of Excellence with Warmth,” into an everyday reality, noting that “he stops in the halls and addresses students by their first names and takes time to teach and serve as a fieldwork liaison.”

Since Dr. Huberman launched the graduate school eight years ago, the diverse school has grown from an MSW class of 60 students to 300 students today. His efforts have also led Touro to cover each student’s NASW membership dues, and he has been a tireless advocate in seeking to secure higher pay for social workers.

Currently, Dr. Huberman serves as president of the New York Association of Deans of Schools of Social Work. In addition, he recently co-chaired “Lobby Day” in Albany, which brought students and faculty to the state capital to advocate for loan forgiveness for social workers and for passage of the “Dream Act,” which would have allowed undocumented students access to state financial aid and scholarships for higher education. These efforts led to an appropriation of $1,250,000 from the New York State legislature.

In accepting the award, Dr. Huberman expressed the importance of his family in his life—his wife of 40 years, Frieda; their grown children and grandson; and his Touro family, President and CEO Dr. Alan Kadish; the late founding President Dr. Bernard Lander; and Touro students and faculty.

Reflecting on his “dirt-poor” childhood in Philadelphia, Dr. Huberman dedicated his award to “Mrs. Shusterman,” a guidance counselor who made a pivotal difference in his life after his father abandoned his family. He recalled times when he had no money for a school lunch. “Mrs. Shusterman wouldn’t give up on us,” he said.

Professor Elhanon Marvit, director of the school’s administrative services and Brooklyn division, nominated Dr. Huberman for the image award. “I considered it a privilege,” he said. “Dr. Huberman has played a monumental role in building the graduate school from scratch and in his visible advocacy on behalf of social work students and professionals.”

Dr. Huberman, who earned his Ph.D. from Brandeis University, has written or coauthored more than 50 major publications, with his research focusing on growing old in America, social work policy, and coping with the September 11th attacks. He also pens a regular column, “The Touro Advisor,” which concentrates on mental-health issues.

Along with Dr. Huberman, NASW honored Dr. Felisha Oulu, a professor at the Touro Graduate School of Social Work. A clinical supervisor of Functional Family Therapy programs at the Children’s Aid Society, Dr. Oulu is a proponent of supportive resources in schools, communities, and homes to ensure the well-being and academic success of all New York City children and adolescents. v

Touro Partners to Educate Physician Assistants in Psychiatry. To help meet the growing need for mental-health professionals, Touro College and University System and New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation are joining to educate physician assistants with a focus in psychiatry.

The new initiative is designed to help address the growing shortage of psychiatrists in the United States and the tri-state area, which is expected to worsen exponentially over the next few years. According to the Association of PAs in Psychiatry, currently there are approximately 1,000 psych PAs in the U.S., and 55,000 psychiatrists—numbers far too low to meet the future demand.

The shortage requires innovative training that will produce an adequate number of clinicians to keep up with the demand for mental-health services and address the limited access to care for thousands of patients suffering from mental illness.

Beginning with a pilot initiative in summer 2014, Touro’s School of Health Sciences will offer a new “Behavioral Health Option” that includes a four-month rotation in psychiatry at HHC public hospitals. This goes beyond the core curriculum and rotations currently offered to master’s level students enrolled in Touro’s Manhattan PA program.

“As one of America’s largest educational providers in the health sciences field, Touro will promote a vigorous educational experience in psychiatry that will yield PA graduates who are prepared to diagnose, treat, and interact with patients and their families,” Touro President and CEO Dr. Alan Kadish said. “HHC is the major provider of behavioral and mental-health services in New York City, with a cadre of expert and compassionate health care providers working at public hospitals and community health centers in every borough. HHC will make an excellent partner for Touro’s new psychiatric PAs and will link our students to an extensive health network within the tri-state area.”

“HHC’s 11 acute care teaching hospitals and network of ambulatory care sites serve as a training ground for hundreds of future healthcare professionals. We welcome the opportunity to support a specialized career track for physician assistants with expertise in caring for New Yorkers with mental-health needs,” said HHC President Dr. Ram Raju. “By working under the supervision of our seasoned behavioral health professionals, the Touro College students will have a unique and meaningful experience and get the support they need to make their clinical education valuable. These PAs in training will get hands-on experience in caring for patients and learn to practice with compassion and cultural sensitivity in one of the most exciting healthcare environments in the United States.”

Dr. Louis Primavera, dean of the School of Health Sciences, added that the Touro-HHC initiative is believed to be the first of its kind, at least in the tri-state area, if not nationally. “Many programs are offering residency programs and specialty tracks as an option that can be integrated into a curriculum, but not many are available in psychiatry and behavioral medicine—certainly not at the master’s level,” he said.

Jorge Roberto Petit, M.D., president and founder of Quality Healthcare Solutions Group and formerly associate commissioner at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, has been hired to teach in the behavioral health option at Touro. Dr. Petit has held numerous academic appointments in psychiatry at such prestigious institutions as Mount Sinai Hospital and School of Medicine, and New York University Medical Center, as well as hospital appointments at Bellevue Hospital Center, Kings County Hospital, and North General Hospital. He received his medical diploma at University of Buenos Aires and completed his postdoctoral training at Mount Sinai and Columbia Presbyterian/N.Y.S. Psychiatric Institute.

PAs are healthcare professionals certified to practice medicine as part of a health care team with physician supervision. They perform a range of duties, from basic primary care to assisting in major surgery. They can prescribe medication, perform physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, and order and interpret lab tests in collaboration with physicians. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, PAs will be the second fastest-growing health profession in the next decade (after home health aides), with a projected growth of 39 percent.

Experience to date shows that PAs in psychiatry often work in behavioral health facilities and psychiatric units of hospitals, where psychiatrists may be in short supply. In private practices, PAs do initial evaluations and maintenance checkups for patients on medications. In correctional facilities, PAs help meet the need for psychiatric service and medical care. They also work on community treatment teams, in emergency departments, and at Veteran Administration and Medicaid facilities.

Students enrolled in Touro’s behavioral health option who complete the PA curriculum and clinical experiences will perform day-to-day psychiatric evaluations and management tasks in inpatient, emergency, and outpatient settings for psychiatric disorders; identify and triage medical/medication complications, changes in conditions, psychiatric and overlapping medical emergencies; and provide psychotherapeutic methods to improve outcomes for common mood, anxiety, and psychotic illnesses.

As part of their clinical education, Touro PA students will have the opportunity to work at any number of the 11 acute care hospitals operated by HHC that offer the full range of hospitalization services, including surgery or treatment for an illness or chronic disease.

For further information about Touro’s new PA behavioral health option, please visit www1.touro.edu/shs/pany/pany.php or call 646-795-4510. v
With 132,000 members, NASW is the world’s largest membership organization of professional social workers. The Image Award recognizes NASW members who have made unique contributions in advancing the profession and ensuring its strength and vitality for years to come. Dean Huberman was honored for his visible, active leadership, commitment to community-building, and dedication to the social work profession.

In paying tribute to Dr. Huberman, NASW President Martha Adams cited the way Dr. Huberman has turned Touro’s social work motto, “A Community of Excellence with Warmth,” into an everyday reality, noting that “he stops in the halls and addresses students by their first names and takes time to teach and serve as a fieldwork liaison.”

Since Dr. Huberman launched the graduate school eight years ago, the diverse school has grown from an MSW class of 60 students to 300 students today. His efforts have also led Touro to cover each student’s NASW membership dues, and he has been a tireless advocate in seeking to secure higher pay for social workers.

Currently, Dr. Huberman serves as president of the New York Association of Deans of Schools of Social Work. In addition, he recently co-chaired “Lobby Day” in Albany, which brought students and faculty to the state capital to advocate for loan forgiveness for social workers and for passage of the “Dream Act,” which would have allowed undocumented students access to state financial aid and scholarships for higher education. These efforts led to an appropriation of $1,250,000 from the New York State legislature.

In accepting the award, Dr. Huberman expressed the importance of his family in his life—his wife of 40 years, Frieda; their grown children and grandson; and his Touro family, President and CEO Dr. Alan Kadish; the late founding President Dr. Bernard Lander; and Touro students and faculty.

Reflecting on his “dirt-poor” childhood in Philadelphia, Dr. Huberman dedicated his award to “Mrs. Shusterman,” a guidance counselor who made a pivotal difference in his life after his father abandoned his family. He recalled times when he had no money for a school lunch. “Mrs. Shusterman wouldn’t give up on us,” he said.

Professor Elhanon Marvit, director of the school’s administrative services and Brooklyn division, nominated Dr. Huberman for the image award. “I considered it a privilege,” he said. “Dr. Huberman has played a monumental role in building the graduate school from scratch and in his visible advocacy on behalf of social work students and professionals.”

Dr. Huberman, who earned his Ph.D. from Brandeis University, has written or coauthored more than 50 major publications, with his research focusing on growing old in America, social work policy, and coping with the September 11th attacks. He also pens a regular column, “The Touro Advisor,” which concentrates on mental-health issues.

Along with Dr. Huberman, NASW honored Dr. Felisha Oulu, a professor at the Touro Graduate School of Social Work. A clinical supervisor of Functional Family Therapy programs at the Children’s Aid Society, Dr. Oulu is a proponent of supportive resources in schools, communities, and homes to ensure the well-being and academic success of all New York City children and adolescents. v

Touro Partners to Educate Physician Assistants in Psychiatry. To help meet the growing need for mental-health professionals, Touro College and University System and New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation are joining to educate physician assistants with a focus in psychiatry.

The new initiative is designed to help address the growing shortage of psychiatrists in the United States and the tri-state area, which is expected to worsen exponentially over the next few years. According to the Association of PAs in Psychiatry, currently there are approximately 1,000 psych PAs in the U.S., and 55,000 psychiatrists—numbers far too low to meet the future demand.

The shortage requires innovative training that will produce an adequate number of clinicians to keep up with the demand for mental-health services and address the limited access to care for thousands of patients suffering from mental illness.

Beginning with a pilot initiative in summer 2014, Touro’s School of Health Sciences will offer a new “Behavioral Health Option” that includes a four-month rotation in psychiatry at HHC public hospitals. This goes beyond the core curriculum and rotations currently offered to master’s level students enrolled in Touro’s Manhattan PA program.

“As one of America’s largest educational providers in the health sciences field, Touro will promote a vigorous educational experience in psychiatry that will yield PA graduates who are prepared to diagnose, treat, and interact with patients and their families,” Touro President and CEO Dr. Alan Kadish said. “HHC is the major provider of behavioral and mental-health services in New York City, with a cadre of expert and compassionate health care providers working at public hospitals and community health centers in every borough. HHC will make an excellent partner for Touro’s new psychiatric PAs and will link our students to an extensive health network within the tri-state area.”

“HHC’s 11 acute care teaching hospitals and network of ambulatory care sites serve as a training ground for hundreds of future healthcare professionals. We welcome the opportunity to support a specialized career track for physician assistants with expertise in caring for New Yorkers with mental-health needs,” said HHC President Dr. Ram Raju. “By working under the supervision of our seasoned behavioral health professionals, the Touro College students will have a unique and meaningful experience and get the support they need to make their clinical education valuable. These PAs in training will get hands-on experience in caring for patients and learn to practice with compassion and cultural sensitivity in one of the most exciting healthcare environments in the United States.”

Dr. Louis Primavera, dean of the School of Health Sciences, added that the Touro-HHC initiative is believed to be the first of its kind, at least in the tri-state area, if not nationally. “Many programs are offering residency programs and specialty tracks as an option that can be integrated into a curriculum, but not many are available in psychiatry and behavioral medicine—certainly not at the master’s level,” he said.

Jorge Roberto Petit, M.D., president and founder of Quality Healthcare Solutions Group and formerly associate commissioner at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, has been hired to teach in the behavioral health option at Touro. Dr. Petit has held numerous academic appointments in psychiatry at such prestigious institutions as Mount Sinai Hospital and School of Medicine, and New York University Medical Center, as well as hospital appointments at Bellevue Hospital Center, Kings County Hospital, and North General Hospital. He received his medical diploma at University of Buenos Aires and completed his postdoctoral training at Mount Sinai and Columbia Presbyterian/N.Y.S. Psychiatric Institute.

PAs are healthcare professionals certified to practice medicine as part of a health care team with physician supervision. They perform a range of duties, from basic primary care to assisting in major surgery. They can prescribe medication, perform physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, and order and interpret lab tests in collaboration with physicians. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, PAs will be the second fastest-growing health profession in the next decade (after home health aides), with a projected growth of 39 percent.

Experience to date shows that PAs in psychiatry often work in behavioral health facilities and psychiatric units of hospitals, where psychiatrists may be in short supply. In private practices, PAs do initial evaluations and maintenance checkups for patients on medications. In correctional facilities, PAs help meet the need for psychiatric service and medical care. They also work on community treatment teams, in emergency departments, and at Veteran Administration and Medicaid facilities.

Students enrolled in Touro’s behavioral health option who complete the PA curriculum and clinical experiences will perform day-to-day psychiatric evaluations and management tasks in inpatient, emergency, and outpatient settings for psychiatric disorders; identify and triage medical/medication complications, changes in conditions, psychiatric and overlapping medical emergencies; and provide psychotherapeutic methods to improve outcomes for common mood, anxiety, and psychotic illnesses.

As part of their clinical education, Touro PA students will have the opportunity to work at any number of the 11 acute care hospitals operated by HHC that offer the full range of hospitalization services, including surgery or treatment for an illness or chronic disease.

For further information about Touro’s new PA behavioral health option, please visit www1.touro.edu/shs/pany/pany.php or call 646-795-4510. v

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