The Health of our Community

Dr. Mary McCourt

Dr. Mary McCourt, associate professor of chemistry at Niagara University, is working in the university’s Academic Center for Integrated Sciences to improve the health of the Western New York community. She recently developed a new, patent-pending drug-delivery system that shows promise with cancer treatment.

Academic Center for Integrated Sciences

Research and development in the sciences is one of the many ways that Niagara University seeks to enhance the economic vitality of the region. Since the establishment of the Academic Center for Integrated Sciences in 2006, faculty and students in biology, biochemistry, chemistry and psychology have developed integrated research projects in numerous areas of study. Most notable is Niagara’s current collaboration with the Heart Center of Niagara at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center on non-invasive diagnostic and treatment protocols for patients with coronary artery disease, the primary cause of mortality in Niagara County. Researchers at Niagara University are optimistic that the information gathered from this project will lead to the development of marketable solutions that will minimize the impact of this disease.

Breast Cancer Research

In 2009, Dr. Mary McCourt was awarded a grant from the Avon Foundation for Women to conduct research exploring the development of a new, non-invasive test for breast cancer that may replace the annual mammogram. Niagara’s grant was one of only eight awarded in the nation by the Avon Foundation.

Nursing Leadership Academy

In response to an urgent need expressed by the local medical community, Niagara University’s department of nursing sponsored professional development programs to provide nurses opportunities to enhance their leadership capabilities. Niagara’s “Nursing Leadership Academy” trains area nurses to be more proactive in fulfilling their responsibilities as key players on a medical team and offers them new strategies to manage conflict within the health-care team. The academy also addresses patient care topics such as the need for healthcare professionals to be aware and respectful of spirituality differences among the patient population.

Clinic Services for Women Suffering from Postpartum Depression

In collaboration with Mount St. Mary’s Hospital in Lewiston and the Mental Health Association of Niagara County, Niagara’s department of nursing established a clinic for women suffering from postpartum depression. Clinic services include screenings to detect instances of depression. In addition, a “mom’s network” of women who have endured postpartum depression has also been established to provide further assistance and support.

Summer Science Camp

Niagara University offers a summer science camp for area middle school students.

Niagara Falls Playground Re-established

In partnership with the City of Niagara Falls, the North End Block Club and the Maid of the Mist Corp., Niagara University’s Learn and Serve Niagara program helped to re-establish a playground in the City of Niagara Falls. Once a thriving center of recreational activity for the neighborhood, the playground that was formerly located at the site fell into disrepair. Learn and Serve Niagara students helped to clean and renovate the park and assisted with fund-raising to purchase new playground equipment, which included unique wheelchair-accessible swings to accommodate children with physical disabilities. In addition, bleachers, shelters, picnic tables and benches were installed. Niagara’s involvement with the playground continues as students offer structured activities for children with disabilities and other youths at the new playground.

Heart, Love & Soul

Niagara University formed a partnership with the Sisters of St. Francis to assist with the provision of services at Heart, Love & Soul Inc., a community dining room, food pantry and provider of social services. With Niagara’s involvement, campus resources are now available to assist the organization and new opportunities for students to serve the community have emerged, such as a Veteran’s Day recognition ceremony conducted by the ROTC Color Guard.

Consistent with the inspiration of St. Vincent de Paul to respond to the most needy and marginalized in our society, an increasing number of Niagara University students participate in the mission of Heart, Love & Soul to feed those in need and to provide opportunities to improve their quality of life.