- by Mount Saint Mary College
Guzman Hall Building

Mount Saint Mary College has received a grant for $325,000 from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation to be used for the Desmond Center for Community Engagement and Wellness.

The Desmond Center will be located on the college's campus in what is currently Guzman Hall. It will provide medical and educational services for underserved individuals and families, including the uninsured. 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.

This is the second grant the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation has provided aid towards the Desmond Center. In the first quarter of 2021, the foundation selected the Desmond Center project for a $425,000 grant.

"The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation's continued support of the Desmond Center for Community Engagement and Wellness is a phenomenal boon to the project," said Dr. Jason N. Adsit, president of Mount Saint Mary College. "We can't thank the foundation enough for its aid and for believing in our vision of service. The Desmond Center is the next step in the evolution of the Mount's commitment to our community, and it honors the legacy of our founders, the Dominican Sisters."

Genesis Ramos standing outside.In November of 2021, the Mount appointed lifelong Newburgh resident Genesis Ramos (left) as Executive Director of the Desmond Center for Community Engagement and Wellness. Ramos oversees the center's staffing, program development, and community outreach, among other responsibilities.

"There is a critical need for the Desmond Center for Community Engagement and Wellness in our community," said Ramos. "It's truly an honor to be at the helm this initiative that will become a community hub serving our community inclusively."

The position is a perfect fit for her, Ramos noted, 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. "I want to elevate our community and the healthcare outcomes in our community."

The Mount prepares students for fulfilling careers and for lives of leadership and service. Recently, Dr. Adsit announced his vision for the Mount's future – one that involves a comprehensive, institution-wide commitment to service-learning and community engagement. With the goal of becoming the most community service-oriented college in the United States, the Mount will move into the future by embracing and amplifying the concept that is at its core: service matters. The Desmond Center will be a major part of achieving this goal by fostering care that is humanistic, empowering, and client-centered.

A Mount Nursing student administers a shot to another Mount student under the supervision of a nurse.
Mount Saint Mary College has been dedicated to aiding the community since its inception in 1959, and a $325,000 grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation will help the college to continue its mission of service and compassion. Here, Mount Nursing student Robert Ammitzboll of Monroe, N.Y. gives a shot during the Mount's flu clinic on November 3, 2021. Photo by Lee Ferris.

Compassionate care at the center will be modeled by Mount faculty and students. The college's School of Nursing will play a large role in carrying out the center's mission of aiding Newburgh residents who have little or no access to basic health care services. As the center develops, faculty and students in the college's Business, Education, and Social Sciences programs will also lend their skills to the program.

The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable New Yorkers, bolster the health outcomes of targeted communities, eliminate barriers to care, and bridge gaps in health services. Named in memory of a tireless advocate for immigrants, children, and the poor, the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation provides flexible support for new and innovative approaches that enhance health and wellness across New York State. For more information, visit

"As we look back at the compounding crises of the last few years, the health-related needs of vulnerable communities have only grown," said Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Visa and Chair of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Board. "Our grantees have demonstrated tremendous resilience, creativity, and dedication to serving those in need, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have such detrimental impact."

Msgr. Gregory Mustaciuolo, Chief Executive Officer of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, added, "After nearly two years of recovery from a pandemic that has hit vulnerable populations the hardest, we must continue to address the challenges communities across New York State are facing: food and housing insecurity, lack of access to basic healthcare including vaccines, lack of equity within the healthcare professions, and racial and economic healthcare disparities made worse during COVID-19. We must continue to support the full range of services that make for healthy people and communities."


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