The Touro University Nevada campus community came together for a virtual evening celebrating diversity and equality during the annual Elevation Gala.
The program highlighted ways that the university has worked to improve its diversity programming; celebrated the beauty of its diverse campus population; and included an awards ceremony that honored one Touro employee, one student from the College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM), and one student from the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS).
“I am proud, honored, and happy to be a minority and thrilled that we are recognized by an awesome school such as Touro Nevada,” said Robin Mercado, a student in the School of Occupational Therapy and the CHHS Student Award winner during the Elevation Gala. “Receiving the award is greatly appreciated as it helps achieve my goal to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the healthcare industry.”
Dr. Amina Sadik, Professor in the Department of Basic Sciences, was presented with the Elevation Gala’s Employee of the Year Award as voted on by Touro’s students. She said the United States is beautiful because of its diversity, and as a country, we must continue to celebrate our diversity and embrace equality and inclusion to move forward as a society.
“I am a firm believer of our equality at birth and that we should continue to be treated alike. When it comes to selecting students to attend our programs or progress to the next step in their journey, we must keep in mind that the brain function has nothing to do with accent, skin color, religion, or lifestyle,” Dr. Sadik said. “If we have the honor of being educators, we must keep in mind that the difference between our minority students and the others is not ability, but opportunity. Give them the opportunities and they will prevail. I am delighted that we have people at Touro who believe the same.”
Paulina Awuah, a second-year student, was awarded with the Gala’s COM Student of the Year Award. Awuah was instrumental in helping the university launch the “Touro Nevada Stands For Justice” Series, which aims to combat racial and social inequalities through education and thought-provoking discussion.
“It means a lot to receive this award because although I really enjoy the work I do. “This award lets me know that others recognize and find the same value that I do in this work,” she said. “Having the Elevation Gala was important because it allowed us to acknowledge students, staff, and faculty. I am excited for the Gala next year and hopefully celebrating in person.”