Nicholas Mercado, director of the graduate program in Health Informatics in the School of Health Professions and Human Services, is among the first in the country to earn certification as a health care ethics consultant (HEC-C).
He is among the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities’ inaugural class of 159 people to earn the HEC-C, the first nationally-recognized certification for professionals who have expertise in recognizing, analyzing, and evaluating ethical issues in health care. Eligibility requirements for the HEC-C include 400 hours of clinical health care ethics experience as well as passing a written exam.
“It is crucial that patients, families, and practitioners know that there are certified professionals who can help with their moral distress,” said Professor Mercado. “This new credential is poised to make a significant impact in a forward-thinking health care setting.”
Professor Mercado is a clinical ethicist in Northwell Health’s Division of Medical Ethics, where he conducts clinical ethics consultations, sits on numerous hospital ethics committees, and participates in divisional research projects. He is an instructor in the ethics and professionalism curriculum at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, where he also teaches communication skills and public health to medical students. Additionally, he co-facilitates in the certificate in clinical bioethics program at the Hofstra University Bioethics Center.
In the undergraduate health science and community health programs, Professor Mercado teaches a section of the Health Care Systems and Services course, and will also teach a section of the Ethical, Legal, and Critical Health Problems course beginning this summer.
As director of the Master of Science in Health Informatics, he oversees an interdisciplinary program that answers the demand for qualified professionals who have expertise in developing and leading information technology-based systems that are used in healthcare. Electronic health records make patient care safer and more efficient by reducing medical errors, saving money in healthcare costs, increasing communication among a patient’s healthcare providers, and empowering patients to participating more fully in their own care.