Mount Saint Mary College is proud to announce the appointment of lifelong Newburgh resident Genesis Ramos as Executive Director of the Desmond Center for Community Engagement and Wellness.
"It's an amazing opportunity that the college is embarking on and it's truly an honor to be at the helm of it," said Ramos. "There is a critical need for this [center] in our community."
The Desmond Center will be located on the college's campus in what is currently Guzman Hall and will provide medical and educational services for low income individuals and families, including the uninsured.
"When it comes to healthcare, community engagement and outreach are critical," Ramos said. "We need to involve our community in the process so that they can become empowered with their healthcare."
To that end, the center will offer educational workshops, family counseling services, fitness checks, immunizations, professional development events, and more for local residents. Once completed, the college expects the center to serve more than 4,000 residents per year. In addition to providing opportunities for area educators and professionals to volunteer their services, the center will also house the college's Desmond programing for adult enrichment.
As the Executive Director of the Desmond Center, Ramos will oversee the staffing, program development, and community outreach, among other responsibilities. The position is a perfect fit for her, she notes, because of her background in healthcare administration and her desire to serve the city she loves.
"Newburgh is home and near and dear to my heart," said Ramos, who recently became the first woman of color elected to the Orange County Legislature. "A lot of this is about the invaluable experience I've been able to gain over the past decade and really wanting to bring it back home. I want to elevate our community and the healthcare outcomes in our community."
Community has always been important to Ramos. In addition to being elected to the Orange County State Legislature, she currently serves as chair of the City of Newburgh Human Rights Commission; co-chair of the Economic Development Committee in Newburgh; and as a member of both the Safe Harbors of the Hudson Board of Directors and the Newburgh Ministry's Board of Directors.
George Abaunza, vice president for Academic Affairs at the Mount, headed the search committee for the Desmond Center position.
"Ms. Ramos has the skills necessary to help make this new venture successful for both the college and the local community," he said. "The search committee was energized by Ms. Ramos, specifically with respect to her demonstrated understanding of the Newburgh community and how programing may integrate the needs of Newburgh residents with the educational and service opportunities for our faculty and students."
Ramos's knowledge of, and commitment to, the Newburgh community also makes her an excellent fit for the role, Abaunza added.
"Her entrepreneurial approach to developing partnerships with those in the Newburgh and Hudson Valley communities is proven," he explained. "In her presentation to the committee, she provided a clear and innovative vision for the center, and addressed the importance of training, assessment, diversity and inclusion, and through a needs assessment, she already identified areas of focus for the implementation of services."
Ramos comes to the Mount from Sun River Healthcare, formerly known as Hudson River Healthcare. She holds a Master of Public Administration with a Public Management Concentration form Marist College, a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a Human Services Concentration from SUNY New Paltz; and an Associate of Science in Human Services from Orange County Community College.
New York State recently awarded a $1 million Higher Education Capital (HECap) matching grant to the college for the construction of the Desmond Center for Community Engagement and Wellness. Under this program, New York State will contribute one dollar of support for every three dollars spent by the Mount, for a total of $1 million in grant aid. The college also secured a $425,000 grant towards the wellness center from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.
"Mount Saint Mary College is truly grateful to New York State and the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation for helping us to create the Community Engagement and Wellness Center," said Dr. Jason N. Adsit, president of the Mount. "We're excited to be giving the local community access to the care and education programs they need, while honoring our founding Dominican Sisters and their legacy of service."
The renovation of Guzman Hall is already underway and the Mount plans to open the Desmond Center for classes this year.