Touro University California: Health Equity and Social Justice

Class of 2021 and Class of 2022 students during Pride Week.

Unique Characteristics of Touro University California’s PA Program

Our students complete their PA education with an integrated MPH curriculum. The MPH curriculum has three concentrations: Community Action for Health, Global Health, and Health Equity and Criminal Justice. As one of the only public health programs in the country that has a Health Equity and Criminal Justice concentration, Touro University California also offers to these students a clinical rotation at a correctional facility. In addition, all students complete Safe Zone training (opportunities to learn about LGBTQ+ identities, gender, and sexuality, and examine prejudice, assumptions, and privilege), earn a lifestyle coach certification by completing the CDC Diabetes Prevention Program training, and graduate X-waiver eligible so they can provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Basically, social justice is the bedrock of our institution.

Our Program’s Impact

Since its inception, our program has contributed to the integration of public health principles into PA practice. Because of COVID, people across the country and world are now familiar with the term “public health,” and see the value of a clinical perspective that includes both the personal and the communal. This expanded perspective can be an opportunity to bring greater popular consideration of other social determinants of health — diversity, inequalities in health care, the integration of LGBTQIA perspectives, and more. Our program is actively working to ensure this expanded perspective is fundamental to the next generation of practicing PAs.

Our Surrounding Community

Touro University California is located in Vallejo, one of the country’s most racially and ethnically diverse communities with 20.3% Black/African American, 23.8% Asian, 24.1% White non-Hispanic, and 26.3% Hispanic/Latino. Our university partners with many active community organizations, from non-profits to schools to street fairs, and seeks to bring well-being to all of Vallejo’s residents.

Fun Fact About Vallejo

Located equidistant to San Francisco and Napa Valley, Touro University has access to vibrant cultural diversity, delicious food, and beautiful outdoor activities. San Francisco, and for the baseball fan, Oracle Park, home of the SF Giants, is just a one-hour ferry ride away! We also have a year-round farmer’s market.

This article is part of PAEA’s Program Showcases, which also includes webinars. Learn more about the series here.