Dr. Nadege Dady is delighted about her appointment as Dean of Student Affairs at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM) making her the first female dean at the college.
It also makes her the first African-American dean since the school’s creation in 2007.
She moved into the new position in February, just six short months after becoming the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs in July.
“I am completely grateful,” said Dr. Dady. “I walk in here every day thankful for the opportunity. I love the work that I do. I love the interactions I have on a daily basis, the challenges as well as the opportunities to discover solutions for the issues that arise. It’s always an opportunity to learn something new.”
As the Dean of Student Affairs, she is responsible for student life as well as the departments that work with students such as admissions, financial aid, registrar and bursar.
In addition, she is also a guest lecturer in the Intro to Cultural Competency course at the college , which teaches students the importance of building trusting relationships with their patients, a very important aspect of becoming doctor, outside of learning the foundational science..
“Students who are learning to become future doctors can help in the elimination of health disparities by knowing that the problem exists,” she said. “then understanding the layers involved in health disparity issues.”
This course and others in the curriculum directly relate to TouroCOM’s mission as they are committed to training osteopathic physicians with an emphasis on practicing medicine in underserved communities. They also aim to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine.
“The college values and supports public service research and osteopathic clinical service in the community that will lead to improved health outcomes in the community that we serve,” said Dr. Dady. As such the college is dedicated to teaching their students how to teach the whole patient, which is a key component of osteopathic medicine.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, osteopathic medicine is a distinctive form of medical care founded on the philosophy that all body systems are interrelated and dependent on one another for good health. The philosophy was developed in 1874 by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still who pioneered the concept of wellness and recognized the importance of treating illness within the context of the whole body.
Dr. Dady explained that osteopathic physicians (DOs) consider environmental and psychological factors in addition to physiological signs and symptoms to determine not just the diagnosis, but a long term course of action that can strengthen and sustain the body’s natural defenses.
She continued by saying that an important aspect of training is that it is no longer enough to fight disease, now it is about promoting overall health.
Though Dr. Dady is not an osteopathic physician herself, assisting students in their medical school pursuit is something she feels very close to.
As an undergrad, she had high hopes of becoming a pediatrician, but was struggling with the required science courses. Like any good student, she spoke with her advisor about her difficulties, but quickly learned that not only was he insensitive to her situation, but was limited in the guidance he could provide her. I then lost my confidence and decided to pursue another graduate degree.
“At first, I thought that the decision to pursue a degree in education rather than pediatrics would take me far away from healthcare,” she said. “Ironically, ever since then, I have been placed in positions of administration that help to guide other minorities into healthcare or provide them with the guidance necessary to make such decisions.”
She maintained that not having someone to provide the guidance at that time has helped to educate her tremendously about the pitfalls that minority students might encounter on the journey towards becoming a health professional. Essentially she has identified what did not work for her and uses it to make it work for others.
Dr. Dady recently completed her doctoral degree in higher education with a focus on leadership, management and policy.
As Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Dady is looking forward to maximizing and strengthening TouroCOM’S programs and partnerships.
Some of those partnerships include:
MedAchieve Scholars Program – An after-school enrichment program serving high school students in Harlem who are interested in pursuing a career in medicine. During the year, the high school students receive medically-centered lectures and laboratories that are taught by the students at TouroCOM. It was created in 2012.
Mentoring in Medicine – TouroCOM is a proud partner of Mentoring in Medicine. Mentoring In Medicine (MIM) is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to create a system of mentorship, academic enrichment, leadership development and civic engagement for underrepresented minority youth. Mentoring in Medicine helps students create a strategic plan for graduation from health professional and advanced science training.
TouroCOM also offers a one-year program entitled “Masters to DO,” which allows students the opportunity to strengthen science courses and review what it’s like to be in medical school. The program gives students the opportunity to attend science courses alongside the DO students. If at the end of the first year students meet certain requirements, they will be given a provisional acceptance into medical school.The application does require specific undergrad course work, MCAT scores, GPA and other achievements and personal qualities that demonstrate desire to become a health practitioner.
“We are located in the heart of Harlem and there are opportunities for students looking to pursue a career in medicine,” said Dr. Dady.
When asked how she felt about being honored in this issue of The Harlem Times, she described it as “surreal.”
“Getting here has been an amazing journey,’ but to be acknowledged in The Harlem Times for Women’s History Month, it’s a recognition that I don’t take lightly,” said Dr. Dady. “Once again, I am grateful.”
For more information, please go to tourocom.touro.edu.