Major Grants and Partnerships

Hunter College: Joan H. Tisch Legacy Project and Community Health Award

The Illumination Fund and Hunter College created the Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize in 2011, as part of a multi-faceted project to honor Joan Tisch’s legacy of leadership and philanthropy. The Joan H. Tisch Legacy Project originally included three components: the Joan H. Tisch Distinguished Fellow in Public Health, an annual appointment of a prominent health care professional to work with faculty, undergraduate and graduate students to educate and contribute to the Hunter community; the Joan H. Tisch Public Health Forum, and the annual Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize, an award that honors not-for-profit organizations and individuals for distinguished accomplishment in the field of urban public health.

The Joan H. Tisch Distinguished Fellow in Public Health was a five-year program that supported fellows from around the United States and the world, enabling them to share their expertise with their fellow academics, students, the public, and outside experts. Fellows taught undergraduate and graduate students, conducted faculty seminars, and served as scholars-in-residence in the Hunter community. Programing included panels bringing together experts on emergency recovery post Sandy, policy makers and experts on urban planning for environmental sustainability and New York City public health issues.

The Joan H. Tisch Distinguished Fellows were:

2014: Dr. Thomas A. Farley, former New York City Health Commissioner.

2013: Dr. Richard Jackson, a leader in examining the impact of the built environment on public health.

2012: Professor Sue Atkinson, the first Director of Public Health for London and Health Advisor to the Mayor and Great London Authority.

2011: Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association.

2010: Dr. John McDonough, a senior advisor on Health to the U.S. Senate and an influential figure in advancing national health care reform.

Each Fellow undertook work that led to publications and high-level advocacy that has exerted an influence on public policy. For example, Dr. McDonough wrote a book, Inside National Health Reform, which provided a behind-the-scenes look at the development of the Affordable Care Act; Dr. Benjamin wrote The Quest for Health Reform: A Satirical History, which used the tradition of editorial cartooning as a medium for contemporary commentary and the long-standing effort to achieve universal national health reform; and Dr. Farley wrote Saving Gotham, A Billionaire Mayor, Activist Doctors, and the Fight for 8 Million Lives.

The Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize

Centered at Hunter College’s Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute, the Joan H. Community Health Prize offers an annual prize for grassroots public health leaders and organizations through a competitive nomination and jury review process. Awardees have included people and groups addressing health inequities in medical treatment, food insecurity, behavioral health, and access to services for the immigrant community and the aging.

Since the first prize was announced in 2011, the Tisch Prize has become an increasingly sought-after honor, known throughout New York City as the award for leaders of grassroots public health organizations. The Prize validates and empowers these unsung heroes and their vitally important organizations, leading to increased recognition and often greater funding. As all former awardees are invited to Prize events, some have established relationships that have led to fruitful collaborations in their public health areas. The Prize has also been impactful at Hunter College, where many awardees have become mentors to our students, inspiring them to consider careers in public health.

Past recipients:

2019: Families for Safe Streets and Rebecca Telzak, Director of Health Programs at Make the Road New York

2018: Service Program for Older People, Inc. (SPOP), and Claudia Aristy

2017: Mary Mitchell Family & Youth Center and Diane Arneth, Executive Director of Community Health Action of Staten Island

2016: Bloomingdale Aging in Place (BAiP), The Bronx Transitions Clinic (BTC), and Thelma Dye, Ph.D., Executive Director and CEO of Northside Center for Child Development

2015: Charles B. Wang Community Health Center and Ann-Marie Louison, Co-Director of Adult Behavioral Health at the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES)

2014: Callen-Lorde Community Health Center and Sandra Hagan & Sandra Hagan, Former Executive Director of The Child Center of NY

2013: Turning Point for Women and Families, Independence Care System’s (ICS) Breast Cancer Screening Project for Women with Physical Disabilities, and Robert Cordero, Executive Director of CitiWide Harm Reduction in the South Bronx,

2012: LegalHealth and Mark Hannay, Director of Metro New York Health Care for All Campaign

2011: The Union Settlement Association and Dr. Melony Samuels, Founder and Executive Director of Campaign Against Hunger.

Learn about the Recipients of the Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize.