Our students never miss an opportunity to put our philosophy of patient-centered care and evidence-based research into practice. They provide pro-bono physical and occupational therapy services to uninsured local citizens at our student-run clinics. They earn National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants and collaborate with their professors on immersive medical research. Thanks to our global partnerships, they bring crucial health services to countries such as Guatemala, Haiti, Nicaragua and the Philippines.
You can find our award-winning faculty sharing their expertise with the national press, publishing in the most respected peer reviewed journals and even testifying before the United Nations. Our alumni continue to raise the standard for compassionate and professional health care around the globe. They are working to fight diseases and improve human health through research and the promotion of new evidence-based practices.
Soon-to-be physician assistant named national student of the year
Delilah Dominguez, MHS ’20, was selected as the national Student of the Year by the American Academy of Physician Assistants, a professional organization that represents nearly 140,000 members.
Every year Quinnipiac University hosts Camp No Limits, an annual event that supports children affected by limb loss and their families. In 2015, Quinnipiac became the first and only institution of higher education in the country to host Camp No Limits.
The camp is purposefully designed to increase the functional independence of children living with limb loss. Camp participants and their families experience a network of support through adaptive recreational activities and life skills programs. The activities are led by physical and occupational therapists, prosthetists, Quinnipiac students and faculty, and teen and adult amputee mentors.
“Camp No Limits really gives us a sense of community,” said Kim Hartmann, a professor of occupational therapy and director of the Center for Interprofessional Healthcare Education. “Everyone just comes together and makes these incredible bonds. That’s the biggest reward that people feel.”
Alumna finds nourishing work
Yadley Turnier ’19 knew majoring in health science studies would lead to many career possibilities. Courses she took during her junior year on nutrition and preventable diseases steered her toward the field of public health.
After graduating, Turnier landed a position at FoodCorps, a national nonprofit that trains and places emerging leaders in limited-resource schools for a year of service. As a FoodCorps AmeriCorps service member at Green Village Initiative, Turnier teaches students from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds to grow and cook their food, steers them towards the healthiest food options and promotes a schoolwide culture that celebrates healthy food.
“If kids learn nutritional fundamentals early, they won’t be as prone later on to obesity and diet-related diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers,” Turnier said.
She teaches healthy eating habits, cooking, gardening and nutrition fundamentals to children in kindergarten through fifth grade at both the Read School and the Interdistrict Discovery Magnet School in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She also collaborates with the Thomas E. Carroll Nutrition Center to integrate local, farm-fresh foods into the schools’ breakfast, lunch and snack programs.
“If my students are getting two of their meals each day from school, then they should be the most beneficial meals possible,” Turnier said.
Turnier is motivated by the difference she has made. In 2020, she returned for a second year with FoodCorps and began a master’s degree in global public health.
The surrounding community becomes an extension of the classroom, as student-led clinics for physical and occupational therapy work with uninsured or underinsured patients throughout Connecticut.
Some examples include:
EQUIP Rehabilitation Clinic: This student-run, pro-bono clinic offers physical and occupational therapy services.
The Lions Low Vision Center: Staffed by social work and occupational therapy students and faculty, the center offers evaluation and recommendations for patients with vision impairments.
Students in the School of Health Sciences regularly team up with their peers in the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine to teach children with disabilities how to ski.
It’s all part of the 7-week Skiers Unlimited program, which dates back more than 30 years. During the program, volunteers use adaptive equipment such as snow sliders, outriggers and tethers to help the children control balance as well as turns and speed.
“With a lot of the kids, you can see the confidence building,” said Steve Balcanoff, manager of non-clinical community programs at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. “They feel enthused and proud. The parents will tell you it’s making an impact at school and in the home. Frequently, the parents get inspired to learn how to ski when they are out here. It can have a lasting effect on families.”
Quinnipiac became involved with the program 2 decades ago when Richard Albro, now associate professor of physical therapy emeritus, discovered the ski program while on sabbatical and was so impressed that he got students involved.
“It is great for our students to see the kids in a holistic manner and just having fun like other kids,” said Martha Sanders, associate professor of occupational therapy. “It’s really one of the goals of therapy that we rarely get to see.”
Offering industry-leading research
Professor Martine Mirrione brings the experience of a research institution to Quinnipiac — with her focus on neuroscience, pharmacology, neuroimaging and behavior. She is currently examining the link between neuronal circuits and depression symptoms, and the effectiveness of deep brain stimulation therapy for treating depression in individuals. Mirrione’s research has been published in national journals, including Nature, The Journal of Neuroscience and Synapse. She regularly speaks at conferences and has received many scholarships and awards for her work, including one from the National Science Foundation.
For Mirrione, an associate professor of biomedical sciences, the lab is not a solitary place for individual pursuits, but one where she expands her role as an educator. She is most inspired — personally and professionally — when mentoring undergraduates on their own research projects, or guiding graduate students through their thesis projects.
Mirrione frequently uses visuals to aid in the learning of important principles and concepts. She also believes in connecting ideas through hands-on experiments, which in turn exposes her students to emerging technology and techniques in the process.
“Technology and research methods are constantly changing,” she said. “It is important that our students are not intimidated by that change.”