The Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize honors not-for-profit organizations and individuals for distinguished accomplishment in the field of urban public health. Made possible by a grant from Steve, Laurie, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, the Prize is a tribute to their mother in recognition of her humanitarian activism in health care and social services in New York City. It is part of a three-component Joan H. Tisch Legacy Project that also sponsors a Distinguished Fellow in Public Health at Hunter College and a Public Health Forum at Hunter’s Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute.
Awards Ceremony: 6 – 7 p.m.
Reception: 7 – 7:45 p.m.
About the Recipients:
Sandra Hagan, former Executive Director of The Child Center of NY (1986-2014) and now Senior Advisor, has dedicated her career to improving the social-emotional health and life trajectories of at-risk children and youth.
The Child Center supports children struggling with poverty, emotional problems, school failure and other issues that stand in the way of their achievement. It provides individual and family mental health counseling, early childhood education, child abuse prevention and youth development.
In the words of her nominator, Greg Shufro,
“Sandy is perhaps the most humble person I have ever met…she has never sought the spotlight—in fact, she has made every effort to deflect any attention she may draw to shine an even brighter light on the plight of the children she so fervently seeks to serve.”
Since taking the helm at The Child Center 28 years ago, Sandra:
- Expanded the organization’s scope from strictly outpatient mental health treatment to a comprehensive, continuum of services with many points of access in the community;
- Grew its budget from $3 million to $36 million and the number of families served annually from 850 to 18,000; and
- Tripled the bilingual and bicultural staff to respond to the changing ethnic diversity in Queens.
The Center’s outcome measures are impressive—for example, an 85% success rate in preventing psychiatric hospitalizations, and 86% less crime, drug use, truancy and other risk behaviors among children in its Juvenile Justice Program.
Sandra’s idealism, administrative skill, and passionate commitment have enabled her to build an effective safety net to break the cycles of violence, abuse and neglect, and the ripple effect of her contributions to public health in NYC will impact generations to come.
Callen-Lorde Community Health Center is a NYC leader in providing dignified, quality medical care and health education to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, regardless of ability to pay. By focusing services on an underserved group that may face discrimination in traditional healthcare settings, Callen-Lorde has been a pioneer in reducing health disparities and improving access to care for tens of thousands of LGBT New Yorkers.
Callen-Lorde’s 15,000 annual patients are among the city’s highest-need and highest-risk: 41% have incomes at or below the Federal Poverty Level, 8% are homeless or unstably housed, and more than a third are uninsured. It also delivers culturally sensitive, comprehensive care to 3,700 people living with HIV/AIDS, including 200 vulnerable young people ages 13 to 24.
Its Health Outreach to Teens program (HOTT), which served 1,200 last year, is an innovative model for supporting disenfranchised LGBT homeless and runaway youth on the street using a mobile medical outreach van. With a focus on trust, relationship building and patient empowerment, HOTT is a lifeline for this hard-to-reach group that faces multiple health threats and enormous barriers to care.
Nominator David Sandman explained,
“A sense of family and belonging is an essential component of the program’s strategy to engaging homeless LGBT youth who have often felt cast out and who have very few places to turn or resources to draw upon. Callen-Lorde is there for these patients.”
Beyond direct services, the Health Center also provides LGBT cultural competency and sensitivity training for many other community-based organizations, hospitals, schools and conferences.
Throughout its long history, Callen-Lorde has served a critical life-saving role in a most humane way, inspiring others by its example.