Touro University in Vallejo names Schweitzer chief academic officer

Sarah Schweitzer, Ph.D., is named provost and chief academic officer of Touro University California on Vallejo's Mare Island in January 2018. (YOUTUBE / CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY PORTLAND)


Touro University California is bringing on Sarah Sweitzer, Ph.D., as provost and chief academic officer, beginning Jan. 29.

“Dr. Sweitzer’s intelligence, enthusiasm, and talent are exemplary,” said Alan Kadish, M.D., president of the Touro college and university system. “We are thrilled that she is joining Touro.”

Sweitzer, a Vallejo native, brings more than 13 years of successful and innovative higher education experience to the Mare Island campus. She began her academic career at the University of South Carolina, School of Medicine and quickly became a National Institute of Health–funded biomedical researcher where she collaborated with colleagues at Johns Hopkins, Albany Medical School, University of California at Davis Medical School, and biotechnology companies in the Bay Area.

“We are delighted that Dr. Sarah Sweitzer has agreed to come to Touro University California as Provost,” said Shelley Berkley, CEO and senior provost of Touro University’s Western Division. “Dr. Sweitzer knows our community and is an established leader. Her experience and commitment to education, research, and health care will help Touro’s Vallejo campus continue to grow and address the needs of the community.”

Sweitzer grew up in a neighborhood adjacent to Mare Island, where Touro’s campus is located. Her father was a shipyard worker, as was her grandfather and great-grandmother. She recalls many weeknights spent racing sailboats in the channel and San Pablo Bay before leaving Vallejo to journey across the country in pursuit of her career, from her doctorate at Dartmouth College to her post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University.

“What an honor it is to join the Touro University California family,” said Sweitzer. “I look forward to serving not only the dedicated students, faculty, and staff at Touro in my new role as Provost, but also serving the community surrounding the campus as well. Having spent my childhood in Vallejo, I am excited for this opportunity that brings me back to make a positive impact on the place I call home.”

At the School of Medicine at the University of South Carolina, Sweitzer had the opportunity of a biomedical scientist’s career to see a compound move from bench into clinical trials. As a National Institute of Health funded biomedical researcher, her research on chronic pain spanned in vitro studies, in vivo preclinical development, and human studies (bench to bedside). This research program was highly collaborative and spanned both cross campus relationships and collaborations.

In 2012, Schweitzer joined the faculty at Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy as director of research, providing an opportunity for her to work one-on-one with faculty helping to develop research programs and seek grant funding while supporting the transition of the college from a traditional liberal arts institution to growing its health care portfolio.

In this role, the first three grants were brought in to support the research infrastructure (NIH BRAD), faculty development (NIH SC INBRE), and embedding of pharmacists into free medical clinics to reduce emergency room usage (Foundation). These programs required development of community and regional hospital partnerships.

Most recently Sweitzer was dean of the College of Health and Human Services at Concordia University where she helped launch the 3 to PhD Initiative, a unique partnership of a private university with a public school aimed to address health and education disparities with the goal of breaking the cycle of poverty.

Her leadership was pivotal in the development of a comprehensive physical, dental, behavioral health center partnership with Kaiser Permanente and Trillium Family Services to serve Concordia University students and Portland public school students, according to Touro. Among her accomplishments at Concordia was the launch of a new hybrid accelerated nursing track, an online health care administration program and a long-term-care major.

Touro University California is an independent nonprofit Jewish graduate school founded in 1997 on three Judaic values: social justice, the pursuit of knowledge and service to humanity. The university has 1,500 students and professional programs in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physician assistant studies, public health, nursing and education.