The Center For Discovery

At The Center for Discovery, people with disabilities work hard to find a way forward as they shape lives of meaning.

The supports we offer are grounded in the land and our community of care and education, which for many years has integrated food and farming, science and research, and health and wellness.

We are a vibrantly successful program that encourages people with intellectual and physical challenges to defy expectations, while simultaneously evolving new models for living.

What happens here matters everywhere.


Walter J. Scherr is a highly successful international businessman who overcame many obstacles through persistence, honor, and commitment. He grew up during the depression in Ozone Park, Queens, was diagnosed with tuberculosis at a young age and then quarantined at a large sanitarium for a number of years. Walter never forgot what it meant to be removed from society because of a disability nor the compassionate care that he received from his caregivers.

Walter was first introduced to The Center by his respected surgeon, Dr. George Todd, who invited him to tour the agency’s advanced programs and facilities. In response to what he witnessed and the high quality of care provided, Walter established the Vera and Walter Scherr Scholarship Program to provide financial assistance to Center staff looking to pursue an advanced degree or continuing professional education/certification. This innovative program not only served to assist The Center by enhancing its workforce, but also provided the means to honor caregivers and recognize those who committed themselves to the caring profession.

More recently, Walter and the Scherr Family have gone on to champion the development of a Maker’s Lab and Learning Center featuring the use of such technologies as 3-D printers, laser cutters and CNC routers. In this environment, the engineering, artistic and design talents of people in the larger community will be joined with the specialized skills of The Center’s long-established Advanced Rehabilitation Technology Design group. Their objective: to create and encourage new technologies and devices that assist people with special needs, disabilities and age-related conditions – and share them with the world.

Learn More About Walter’s Life Through His Book: Walter’s Way

See Article About Walter in the Wall Street Journal

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The Discovery Health Center



The Discovery Health Center is recognized by NCQA as a Level III Patient-Centered Medical Home, meeting their highest level of recognition. The Department of Health certified Article 28 Health Center provides services for our students and residents, as well as select services for the broader community. We facilitate partnerships between patients, their families, and their physicians.



Primary Care: We are a central resource for all healthcare needs, providing services for children and adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and other special needs. Our primary care team includes physicians and nurses that are dedicated to helping patients live the healthiest life possible.

Specialty Care: Services include Audiology, Cardiology, Nutrition Experts, Gastroenterology, Ophthalmology, Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, Physiatry, Podiatry, Neurology, Psychiatry, and Pulmonology.

Dentistry: Providing general dentistry to the community, including preventative examinations, cleanings, restorative treatment, gum evaluation/treatment, and other minor procedures. We have a relationship with our local hospital to provide sedation dentistry. We specialize in compassionate and comprehensive care, especially for people who require more care and support.

Clinical Services:  Counseling, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, Early Childhood Services, Assessments and Evaluations, and Assistive Technology are all part of our clinical services.

Assessments and Multidisciplinary Diagnostic Evaluations: We offer multidisciplinary diagnostic evaluations individually tailored to each person’s unique needs. Our team of highly skilled, experienced and licensed clinicians work together over a period of one to five days to examine an individual’s functioning and needs within their particular physical and social environments. At the conclusion of the assessment, they meet with individuals and their families to make recommendations to maximize improvement and independence in the areas of school, health and daily living.

We accept Medicare, Medicaid and most Private Insurances. Individual insurance coverage will vary and prior approval may be required. Private pay and school district requested assessments are also available and can be customized for an individual discipline assessment or a more comprehensive, intensive assessment.

Universal Design & Assistive Technology Institute: The Center has long been a pioneer in developing universal design solutions that improve functioning and quality of life for people with disabilities. As an example, our Flex-table™ is commercially available and speaks to the thoughtfulness of The Center’s design innovation; the design accommodates people with different physical needs, allowing them the experience of eating and interacting together. The IndieGo is a current project, focused on developing a new technology to expand opportunities and access for people who use wheelchairs.

Doctors and Key Staff: We are proud to have a diverse staff providing a variety of specialized services. To view a full list of staff please contact the clinic.

To Schedule an Appointment Call: (845) 707-8400

Hours of Operation:  9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Monday through Friday

Some services available evenings and weekends by appointment.

We accept Medicare, Medicaid and most Private Insurances.

Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in cooperation with Crystal Run Healthcare.

The Discovery Health Center Announces “Patient Portal” through eClinicalWorks, featuring leading edge technology to promote healthcare and allow our patients convenient access of their medical records. Click Here to Download Information on How to Sign-up for “Patient Portal”

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School Program

Education: Our school program educates children ages 5-18 with complex disabilities including medical frailties and Autism Spectrum Disorders. The Center is committed to meeting the educational and health needs of each and every child in our care. Employing our HealthE6 model, we aim to educate and support the whole child with evidence-based methods and meaningful interprofessional collaboration. Our nature-based curriculum is aligned with New York State education standards and our programs are taught with consistency and excellence. Content is delivered through Explicit Instruction that is systematic, direct, engaging and success-oriented. Our students, when ready, participate in pre-vocational and vocational opportunities to prepare them for adult life and careers.

Residential: Our residential facilities and program are designed to help each student develop to their fullest potential. Our picturesque setting includes outdoor learning environments, spaces for creative and therapeutic pursuits, and comfortable homes. Activities such as performing arts, yoga, gardening and organic farming, hiking, swimming, horseback riding, snowshoeing, skiing, and various team sports provide opportunities for individuals to learn, grow, and have fun.

Admissions and Transition Services at The Center for Discovery guides families through the process from initial inquiry to day of admission.

We receive referrals for day and residential programs from school districts, physicians’ offices, families, service providers, etc.

Funding for services at The Center comes from a variety of sources including New York State Education Department (NYSED), the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and private payment contracts.

Please call us at (845) 707-8889 to discuss what services may be best for your family , or to submit a referral.

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HARRIS, N.Y. — A cookbook collaboration between New York City Italian Chef Cesare Casella and The Center for Discovery CEO Patrick H. Dollard has been recognized with an international book award.

“Feeding the Heart: Recipes, Flavors and the Seed to Belly Philosophy of the Department of Nourishment Arts” received a gold award in the category of Best Adult Non-Fiction Informational E-Book in the 2017 Independent Publishers Book Awards (IPPY Awards).

“Feeding the Heart” shares dozens of delicious whole foods recipes, as well as stories about how The Center for Discovery’s “Food is Medicine” philosophy brings together farmers, chefs and nutritionists to cultivate a food program that promotes health, healing and quality of life among students and residents who all have complex disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders and medical frailties. Casella serves as chief of The Center’s Department of Nourishment Arts, and Dollard has led the nonprofit for more than 30 years. The book shares emotional stories about caretaking, food and farming, and gives insights into the passion behind the work at The Center for Discovery.

The IPPY Awards are the world’s largest international and regional book awards competition. The annual awards contest seeks to bring increased recognition to thousands of exemplary independent-, university- and self-published titles. This year’s contest drew 5,000 entries for 117 categories. The winning books create an excellent and diverse reading list for those exploring ways to solve the world’s problems, Independent Publisher said in announcing the list of winners.

Cesare Casella is an acclaimed New York chef and restaurateur known for the ever-present rosemary sprouting from his shirt pocket. As Dean of Italian Studies at the International Culinary Center, Casella’s Tuscan roots have guided him through a career that celebrates simplicity and quality of ingredients. His newest venture is Casella’s Salumi Speciali, where he makes salumi from American raised rare-breed heritage pigs in Hurleyville, NY, near The Center for Discovery. Casella has written several other books, including “True Tuscan” and “The Fundamental Techniques of Italian Cooking,” and he was the man behind celebrated New York restaurants Beppe, Maremma and Salumeria Rosi.

The Center for Discovery is a residential, educational and research facility in Sullivan County, NY, recognized internationally for providing highly innovative and effective care for people with complex disabilities, as well as advancing medical research in the field. Hundreds of students and adults come to The Center from across New York and other states for education and healthcare. The Center’s Department of Nourishment Arts manages Thanksgiving Farm, the site of 150 acres of certified organic and biodynamic farmland that produces more than 60 types of vegetables, flowers and herbs, and is home to egg-laying hens, beef cattle, pigs and sheep. Thanksgiving Farm feeds all The Center’s residents as well as many of its 1,500-member staff, and brings healthy food into the community through its 300-member Community Supported Agriculture program.

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