The Higher Education and Professional Practice Committee



Johanna Duncan-Poitier




Master Plan Amendment: Touro College, Branch Campus in Harlem


February 24, 2006


Goal 2






Issue for Decision (Consent Agenda)


Should the Regents approve the proposed master plan amendment for Touro College to establish a branch campus in Harlem?


Reason for Consideration


          Required by State statute.


Proposed Handling


This question will come before the Higher Education and Professional Practice Committee at its March meeting where it will be voted on and action taken.  It will then come before the full Board at its March meeting for final action.


Procedural History


Approval of master plan amendments by the Board of Regents is required by section 237 of the Education Law.  A master plan amendment is necessary to authorize the establishment of a branch campus.



Background Information


The Touro Board of Trustees adopted a resolution to amend its master plan to authorize the establishment of a branch campus in Harlem for an osteopathic medicine school.  The College has applied for pre-accreditation status of the program by the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.  A team from the Commission conducted a site visit on October 10 and 11, 2005, along with staff from the State Board for Medicine office.  The program meets the standards for registration as set forth in the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.




The Regents should approve the proposed master plan amendment, effective March 21, 2006, to authorize Touro College to establish a branch campus in Harlem to offer a program in osteopathic medicine because it will address the need to prepare persons as licensed physicians to serve the urban community.


Timetable for Implementation


This approval will be effective until March 31, 2007, unless the Department registers the program prior to that date, in which case master plan amendment shall be without term.





          Touro College has its main campus in Manhattan and branch campuses in Bayshore, Flatbush, Huntington, and Kew Gardens.  Touro offers programs in the disciplinary area of Health Professions at its Main (D.P.T., Physical Therapy; M.S. Occupational Therapy; B.S./M.S. Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine; M.S., Speech-Language Pathology; and B.S., Physician Assistant), Bayshore (D.P.T., Physical Therapy, M.S. Occupational Therapy, and B.S., Physician Assistant), and Flatbush (M.S., Speech-Language Pathology) Campuses.  The College seeks Regents authorization for a branch campus in Harlem to establish a School of Osteopathic Medicine.  Touro College offers osteopathic medicine programs in California and Nevada.  The American Osteopathic Association’s (AOA) Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) accredits the program in California and granted pre-accreditation status to the program in Nevada.


          The College has applied to the AOA-COCA for pre-accreditation status of the program to be offered in Harlem.  A team of osteopathic physicians and administrators conducted a site visit on October 10 and 11, 2005, along with staff from the State Board for Medicine office.




The curriculum is divided into three phases: basic sciences, basic and clinical sciences in the study of the organ systems of the body, and clinical experiences.  While focusing on primary care, Touro will promote wellness from prenatal to geriatric care for the Harlem community.  Students will experience different healthcare delivery systems, the promotion of community service with an emphasis on quality training in the principles of medicine, primary care, research, public healthcare, management, and scholarship.  There are core competencies of medical knowledge, professionalism, patient care, and communication skills.


The first year of the program includes human anatomy, gross anatomy, neuroscience, histology and embryology, biochemistry, and physiology.  Interwoven throughout the curriculum are osteopathic principles and practice, introductions to clinical medicine, physical diagnosis, problem-based learning, and preventative medicine and public health.  In the second year, the basic and clinical sciences concerned with the organ systems of the body are integrated in classroom instruction.  The osteopathic approach is continually emphasized by lecture and laboratory demonstration of manipulative techniques.  A year-long course in behavioral medicine and psychiatry is also provided.  In the third and fourth years, there will be a total of 22 clerkship periods.  Twenty of these will be required and two will provide options for students’ choices of specialty areas.  The College has written commitments from hospitals to provide adequate numbers of rotations for the students.




Applicants to the program must possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.  They must have completed 8 credits in biology, 8 credits in inorganic chemistry, 8 credits in organic chemistry (4 credits in biochemistry may be substituted for a second semester of organic chemistry), and 8 credits of physics.  Applicants must submit an MCAT score no older than three years.  For consideration, applicants must have an overall average of 3.0, a 3.0 science average, and an MCAT score of 20 or above.


Touro plans to admit 125 students in the 2007-2008 academic year and gradually increase enrollments to 175 students beginning in the fourth year of operation.  Touro has contacted the Harlem Chamber of Commerce and a number of organizations in the community to assist in recruitment, training, and retention of students to work in the urban community.  The College has established a local advisory board of doctors of osteopathic medicine and community leaders.




The College has hired a chief executive officer, vice president for medical affairs, and a dean of the osteopathic medical school.  Touro has identified 13 D.O., 1 M.D., and 15 Ph.D. (science) persons, who have expressed an interest in or have signed letters of intent for employment.  In January 2007, the core faculty will be on full salary for curriculum review and planning.  In the initial academic year, the College plans to have 18 full-time and 12 part-time faculty.  There are written job descriptions for various administrators and faculty of the proposed School of Osteopathic Medicine.


Resources and Facilities


The College submitted a copy of the feasibility study done by an uninterested Certified Public Accounting firm as required by AOA.  The CPA firm states that Touro “has proven the viability of the proposed new College of Osteopathic Medicine to our satisfaction . . . and that the certified audit for FY 2004 of the institution demonstrates a sufficient endowment for this undertaking.”  In its June 30, 2005 audited combined statement of financial position, Touro College reflected investments of approximately $32 million, including $10 million of surplus cash that was transferred at the direction of the Board of Trustees from cash to investments in August 2004.  The College has established the minimum segregated unencumbered reserve fund required by the American Osteopathic Association that will be escrowed until graduation of the first class of students, and will adjust the principle amount of such escrow to give the effect to the actual tuition increases in each of the succeeding three years.  The College also established the minimum operating reserve fund required by the AOA from its investments.  The AOA-COCA site visit team included a representative who is a financial expert and another person with similar background serves on the AOA-COCA Overall Review Committee.


Touro College – Harlem, School of Osteopathic Medicine, will be located at 230 West 125th Street in a building leased by the College for $40,000 per month.  The facility includes 50,000 square feet, with an additional 25,000 square feet for research purposes.  The architectural drawings for the building include space for student service offices, faculty offices, classrooms, student lounge, laboratories, and a library.  The College has budgeted funds of $7.5 million to finance total estimated renovations of the facility and $1.5 million for furniture and equipment.


The library, housed in 10,000 square feet of space, will have two main halls with seating capacity for 125 people, two offices, a workroom, and 12 study rooms.  The library will serve the teaching, reference, and research needs of the faculty, students and staff.  The library will have more than 22,000 titles, 13,200 periodicals, and 74,000 data, and the ability to download information.  The library will be equipped with 80 computers and printers.   


Planning Review


The results of the 2005 study by the Council on Graduate Medical Education, a panel created by Congress, recommends training 3,000 more doctors a year in U.S. medical schools.  Studies show that nearly half the new physicians are women that work an average of 25 percent less than male physicians, and older physicians work about 15 percent less than younger doctors.  In addition, baby boomer physicians will be retiring when the number of aging baby boomers is increasing.  By 2020 or 2025, the deficit could be as great as 200,000 physicians or 20 percent of the needed workforce.


The American Medical Association surveyed medical school deans and medical society leaders in 2003.  The results indicated that 85 percent of the deans and medical society respondents said that they perceive shortages in a specialty or multiple specialties, and 44 percent in primary care.  The majority cited no plans to expand programs and four schools have reduced class size or have plans to do so.


There are 13 medical schools in New York State at the following institutions: SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY-Health Science Center Brooklyn, SUNY-Health Science Center Syracuse, Albany Medical College, Columbia University, Cornell University-Medical Campus, Mt.Sinai/New York University, New York Medical College, New York University, University of Rochester, and Yeshiva University.  There is one osteopathic medical school at New York Institute of Technology-Old Westbury.


It is most difficult to find physicians, especially in primary care, in underserved areas such as Harlem and, therefore, there are a disproportionate number of foreign-educated physicians serving this population.  Currently, approximately 25 percent of New York State practicing physicians are graduates of foreign medical schools.


Touro has letters of support from community organizations, hospitals, elected officials, the NYC and NYS Osteopathic Associations, the NYS Chapter of the American Family Practitioners in Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery, and NYC hospitals that are developing rotations for students of this school.  


A canvass was conducted of all institutions in the Metropolitan Region and the medical schools in the Hudson Valley and Long Island Regions.  Of the seven institutions that responded, including two medical schools, all support the proposal.  New York College of Osteopathic Medicine of New York Institute of Technology has an agreement with Touro College in relation to the use of hospitals for clinical education and has pledged to assist and collaborate with Touro on faculty and student recruitment.