Is it time for “TarynCare?”
Since December 2013, Bergen Community College student Taryn Torsiello, of Lodi, has led a grassroots effort to raise awareness regarding women’s healthcare services and resources by manning an information table in the school’s main campus student center. Since then, her goals (not to mention the table itself – stocked with brochures, fact sheets and giveaways that serve as the gateway for women to discuss topics such as mental, reproductive and prenatal health) have grown.
“Talking with someone who is approachable gives students an opportunity to ask the hard questions” free of inhibitions, she said. “For me, it is ‘how can I use this knowledge and put a face to it?’”
Torsiello entered Bergen during the fall 2012 semester to study diagnostic medical sonography as part of the Health Professions Opportunity Grant (HPOG) program available to students at 10 New Jersey community colleges. The HPOG provides funding for eligible students enrolled in healthcare-related fields at the schools. All students must complete service learning projects in order to remain enrolled as part of the grant; the requirement served as Torsiello’s inspiration for creating the information table.
To flesh out the idea, Torsiello pulled data, resources and contacts from the College’s health professions faculty and departments and began reaching out to organizations such as Planned Parenthood for further assistance. Organizations responded with resources and giveaways – including infant formula – that have become the colorful array that encompasses Torsiello’s table.
Her interest in raising awareness for women’s health remains a personal one based on experiences with migraines and celiac disease. In fact, her interest in healthcare inspired what has now became a second career: Torsiello already holds a B.F.A. in fabric styling from the Fashion Institute of Technology and once worked as a fashion magazine writer.
Torsiello will graduate from Bergen with an A.A.S. in diagnostic medical sonography at the College’s annual commencement Thursday, May 22 at the Izod Center in East Rutherford. She plans to continue her education and, perhaps, take the table “on the road” to schools and community events.
Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu) based in Paramus is a public two-year coeducational college, enrolling nearly 17,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip J. Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields.