Organizing books, making lunches, and sanding trash cans aren’t the typical activities medical students find themselves doing during their first week of school. At Touro University Nevada, however, it’s how 135 new students from the College of Osteopathic Medicine spent their final day of orientation as part of the university’s first “Day of Service.”
As part of Touro’s mission – to serve, to lead, to teach, the new students, faculty, and staff volunteered their time at HopeLink, Spread the Word Nevada, the Paseo Verde Library in Henderson, the Henderson Heritage Senior Center, and Opportunity Village where they helped make a difference in the community.
Dr. John Dougherty, Dean of Touro’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, said giving back to the community is a central focus of the osteopathic philosophy, which encompasses the body, mind, and spirit.
“You can sit in the classroom and teach about the physical body and mind, but when it comes to spirit, you have to get them out of the classroom,” he said. “Having opportunities like this helps them begin to grasp the concepts associated with that third tenant of the osteopathic philosophy. They’re helping to make a difference in the lives of the individuals who will benefit from their service.”
James Alexander, a first-year osteopathic medical student from Reno, spent his day painting candy canes and cleaning up the miniature golf course at Opportunity Village’s Magical Forest. While the northern Nevada native is still getting acclimated to life in Southern Nevada, volunteering with his new classmates allowed him the opportunity to improve his new community while forging important friendships that will benefit him along the way.
“This experience helped put me in the mind frame of what we are doing here at Touro,” Alexander said. “It’s helping me assimilate in a way I never imagined. I’m looking forward to more opportunities where we can volunteer.”
First-year student Nima Jahromi, a Virginia native who traveled more than 3,000 miles to attend medical school at Touro, echoed the sentiment.
“I think volunteering is a great way to start my medical journey,” he said. “This just shows you what Touro is really about. It keeps the bigger picture in mind that experiences like these will help us become more well-rounded physicians. I really love this community feeling.”