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Students and faculty work in partnerships with local health care providers and community organizations to assess needs, create targeted interventions or programs and evaluate program outcome.

OT Students and Older Driver Safety Week

Four graduate occupational therapy students participated in three CarFit events over the course of this academic year. They conducted the 12 point checklist with over 40 senior drivers to educate them about the safety features of their cars. Seniors learned things like how to adjust their mirrors to avoid blind spots and how to angle the steering wheel to enable the airbag to protect them if it deploys. The students also participated in Older Driver Safety Week in December, making community presentations at regional Senior Centers. For the first time this spring, three occupational therapy assistant students volunteered at a CarFit event and collaborated with the OT students to learn more about senior driver safety.

Learning by doing

The SHNS continued its long standing partnership with the Head Start Programs in the Bronx. Several of the activities are interprofessional in nature.  Over the fall, the Physician Assistant students, under the supervision of the medical director, screened over 300 children for health related issues at three separate Head Start locations in the Bronx.  Physical therapy students conducted teacher professional development sessions, and undergraduate health science students lead health promotion discussions with parents.

PT performed a motor screening on over 20 children and provided recommendations for potential services.  PT students, under faculty supervision, met with the parents to discuss the importance of movement and play.

Physical Therapy students ran a health fair at the Dobbs Ferry Senior Center on April 8th.  Topics included fitness, proper lifting, exercise, getting up from the floor and how to use technology to improve your health.  After the event the students joined the seniors for a pizza lunch.

3rd Annual Conquer the Croton 5k/10k Trail Race
Exercise Science Club Sponsors Race

The Exercise Science Club, along with Conquer The World Endurance held their 5th annual Conquer the Trail Series 5/10km Race on campus on April 14. CTW (Conquer The World) Endurance is a race organizing company founded by two alums of the EXSC program, Eric Estremera and Philip Barone, and former EXSC faculty member Dr. Patrick Davitt. Five years ago, as part of the EXSC Club, they put together the first race, which comprised a 1 mile kids run and a 5km race. Since then, the event has grown in popularity and has become a favorite of many Westchester area runners. This year more than 150 participants registered and the weather could not have been more beautiful. Part of the proceeds from this year's race will be donated to The Harris Project, a local organization that supports the prevention of Co-Occuring Disorders. This ties in with a SHNS interdisciplinary initiative to raise awareness for these disorders across campus and in our community.

Mobile Health Van

Continuing Mercy College’s commitment to the Bronx, the College has partnered with the Head Start Sponsoring Board Council of the City of New York, Inc. (HSSBC) to provide health screenings and education through the College’s Mobile Health Vehicle. Twice a month Mercy College students, faculty and staff take the College’s Mobile Health Vehicle to the Bathgate section of the Bronx to provide health screenings and education to members of the Sharon Baptist Head Start Program and surrounding Bronx community.

Global Initiatives

Faculty, working with partner organizations, travel with students and alumni to countries with limited access to healthcare to provide screenings and health education.

Medical Mission to Dominican Republic

In spring 2019, an interprofessional team of students and faculty from the Communication Disorders Program, Physician Assistant Program, and Physical Therapy Program spent their spring break in the Dominican Republic. Unlike other college students, spending their break on the beach, Mercy students worked to continue our partnership with Inca Cola and Friends of Lead Free Children Foundation.

The Mercy team saw over 500 patients at various locations: a YMCA on the outskirts of Santo Domingo, a medical clinic that is usually closed but opened for the mission work, sugar cane fields region where people are extremely poor, and a school for the deaf. Communication Disorders had five students and one faculty; Physical Therapy had five and one faculty; and Physician Assistant had 12 students, an alumni, and two faculty travel on the mission. Communication Disorders was so happy to connect with a school for the Deaf, because they diagnose suspected hearing loss very often in the Dominican Republic. This year, Physical Therapy educated many pregnant women on improved sleep positioning for themselves as well as newborns for SIDS prevention strategies. The PT and PA faculty also collaborated to stabilize the tibial fracture of an elderly woman prior to her transport to a hospital.

Communication Disorders goes to Boliva

Faculty and students from the Communication Disorders Program continued their global travels with Healing the Children Northeast with a medical mission to Sucre, Bolivia.  This organization brings together surgeons, anesthesiologists, a pediatrician, a cardiologist, and nurses from different states to treat children with cleft lips and cleft palates.  Dr. Shari Berkowitz, faculty member, and Roseanne Grateraux, 2nd-year graduate student from our Communication Disorders program joined a medical mission to Bolivia this September.  On this trip, Berkowitz and  Grateraux provided assessment, counseling, and treatment to approximately 50 children of Sucre. They provided pre- and post-surgery speech pathology services to the children with cleft lips and palate who also presented with speech, language, and feeding/swallowing problems. In all, approximately  thirty children had surgery to repair their cleft lip or cleft palate.  The Speech Team provided therapeutic intervention and counseling to all children and their families who came to speech clinic, including children with developmental delays, and collaborated with the onsite child learning center. “Having this opportunity to serve children in so much need and apply what I’ve learned in graduate school is truly priceless.” said Grateraux. Dr. Berkowitz and Dr. Buhler, program director, have been traveling across the globe with Healing the Children, Northeast since 2011.

Past Global Missions


During winter break, Professor Dr. Helen Buhler, Assistant Professor Dr. Shari Berkowitz and four Communication Disorders graduate students worked alongside two professors and two students from the University of the West Indies in St. Lucia. The group worked at 3 special education schools providing much needed speech-language pathologist services and teacher training since there are no SLPs in the country.

Veterinary Technology Assistant Professor Dr. Sabrina Timperman and Assistant Professor Dr. Lisa Schenkel took ten Mercy College Veterinary Technology Program students and two alumni to Belize over winter break. During the educational trip, the students and alumni volunteered at the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic. The group assisted the Clinic in the treatment and rehabilitation of wildlife in Belize.

Timperman said: “The students gained firsthand knowledge of the veterinary profession. They worked with all different kinds of animals from boa constrictors to coatimundis.”

Along with field work, the group also investigated broader issues concerning anthropogenic impacts to the environment such as climate change, habitat conversion, forest fragmentation and human-wildlife conflict; and how these impacts affect wildlife and humans.

Timperman said: “It was a life changing experience for the students.”

Student Anthony Aponte ’15 said: "The Belize trip was an amazing eye opening experience that helped not only expose us to other aspects of veterinary medicine, but also to how different cultures adapt and provide care for both animals and people with the resources they have."

Dr. Helen Buhler, Dr. Shari Berkowitz and Mercy alum, Lindsay Naylor ‘13 traveled for the fourth time on a medical mission to Lima, Peru from November 1-8, 2014. The purpose of their trip was to provide speech and language therapy to children born with cleft lip/palate and to educate parents, teachers, and medical students in strategies to promote better speech production.