Mercy University Awarded Federal Grant To Study Maternal Mental Health in Hispanic Mothers

Mercy University Seal

Focus is to improve research infrastructure for underrepresented minority students and to address maternal mental health for Hispanic mothers with research to benefit local communities.

Mercy University has received a new federal grant to increase the research capacity of faculty and students in maternal mental health in an effort to create practical community solutions for Hispanic mothers. The grant comes from the Health Resources and Services Administration under its Maternal Health Research Network for Minority Serving Institutions.

The money will fund a new Research Training Center, Hispanic Mothers of New York Research Training Center (HiMNY-RTC) under the direction of Mercy’s Dr. Francine Seruya from the School of Health and Natural Sciences and Dr. Rebecca Trenz from the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Funding for the first year of the five-year grant is nearly $280,000.

“We are incredibly honored to have been awarded this funding opportunity,” said Dr. Seruya, professor and program director, occupational therapy at Mercy University. “We look forward to working with Mercy, our students, and the community to increase the research infrastructure for underrepresented graduate students and to facilitate change and support services for Hispanic mothers with mental health challenges.”

The Center will bring together 24 student scholars from Mercy University and experts in maternal mental health to investigate the challenges faced by Hispanic mothers and to recommend new approaches to mental health care in conjunction with community-based organizations. They are expected to conduct two research studies.

Recruitment for student scholar researchers will begin in the spring of 2024 for those entering the Master of Psychology and Occupational Therapy programs. Dr. Seruya and Dr. Trenz will work with community organizations from the New York metro area. Mercy is partnering with Molloy University in this endeavor.

Mercy University is the largest private, non-profit Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and minority-serving institution in the region.