Former New York State Governor David Paterson has joined the Touro College faculty as Distinguished Professor of Health Care and Public Policy, it was announced today by Touro College President and CEO Dr. Alan Kadish.
Mr. Paterson, a life-long resident of Harlem, will be based at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM), located on West 125th Street.
In his capacity as Distinguished Professor, Mr. Paterson will draw upon his experience as governor, lieutenant governor and member of the legislature to offer lectures to medical and law degree candidates and other students regarding health care-related legislation and the overall role of government in health care. Governor Paterson also will advise Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine on a range of additional public policy issues and topics.
“We are proud that Governor Paterson will become Professor Paterson by joining the faculty of Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine,” said Dr. Kadish. “It is clear that public policy will continue to play an ever-greater role in the provision of health care, and we want our students to have a deep understanding of their profession. Having David Paterson offer his insight will prove to be invaluable.”
Established in 2007, TouroCOM has recognized the need to educate and train future physicians to be effective educators and healers.
Mr. Paterson’s responsibilities will also include the design and development of quality educational programs that both train medical students while also helping them serve as effective advocates for their future patients, said Dr. Robert Goldberg, dean of TouroCOM.
Mr. Paterson spoke at the opening of the school in 2007 at which time he lauded TouroCOM as an important addition to the Harlem community. Today, TouroCOM functions as an integral part of Harlem, mentoring local high school students to encourage them to pursue careers in medicine. In one program, the East Harlem Tutorial Project, each student is paired with a TouroCOM mentor to guide them through lectures and lab activities to help shape the East Harlem youth of today into the doctors of tomorrow. Another program, Be One Teach One, teaches high school girls about nutrition, health and fitness, and osteopathic principles to help develop their interest in medicine and science
In his new position, Mr. Paterson will also provide assistance with grant development, community relations and creating strategies regarding advocacy. In addition, he will provide special lectures to medical students and law students, and help inspire and motivate Touro students in Harlem and throughout the Touro system.
“It is with great pleasure that I join Dr. Kadish in welcoming David Paterson, who has had a long and distinguished career in state government, and before becoming Governor, was the State Senator for Harlem,” said Robert Goldberg, DO, dean of TouroCOM. “While he was serving as State Senator, I had many occasions to work with him on issues concerning public health, safety, medical practice, and medical education. He has devoted a lifetime to the people of New York and has worked tirelessly to provide access to essential medical services, and for the provision of the highest quality of medical care.”
He added that Mr. Paterson was ahead of the national curve in predicting and acting upon the state’s fiscal downturn. Despite the greatest economic crisis that New York State has ever faced, he enacted sweeping reforms on a wide range of issues facing New Yorkers, Dr. Goldberg said.
Mr. Paterson also led the movement to create permanent reforms to the way health care is delivered in New York State, to rationalize its Medicaid reimbursement system, and to provide increased investment in primary and preventative care. As a result of Mr. Paterson’s leadership, the Empire Zone Program is being reformed; the basic welfare grant was increased for the first time in two decades to help assist those struggling in poverty during a time of unprecedented economic turmoil, and unemployment insurance benefits have been extended. He also introduced landmark civil rights legislation that will end legal discrimination against same-sex couples in New York.
In June 2012, he joined the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board after being nominated by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in April 2012. His work on the Board will be informed by his time as Governor, during which he successfully negotiated an MTA bailout plan allowing commuters to avoid painful service reductions. His term expires on June 30, 2017.
In 1985, at the age of 31, Mr. Paterson was elected to represent Harlem in the State Senate, becoming the youngest Senator in Albany at the time. In 2003, he became the first non-white legislative leader in New York’s history when he was elevated to Minority Leader of the Senate. He made history again in 2004 when he became the first visually impaired person to address the Democratic National Convention and again in 2007 when he became New York’s first African- American Lieutenant Governor. As Lieutenant Governor, Mr. Paterson led the charge on several crucial issues for New York’s future, including achieving legislation for stem cell research, working to prevent domestic violence, putting forth a statewide renewable energy strategy and championing the expansion of minority and women-owned businesses in New York.