Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab hosted a ceremony at Hunter’s Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute to announce the recipients of the third annual Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize. The 2013 recipients are 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. The prize, which was presented June 6th at Roosevelt House, is administered by Hunter College and is awarded to not-for-profit organizations and individuals for distinguished accomplishment in the field of urban public health.
The Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize is a component of the Joan H. Tisch Legacy Project, based at Hunter College and made possible with a five-year grant of over $1 million from her children Steve Tisch, Laurie M. Tisch, and Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch. The other components are the Joan H. Tisch Distinguished Fellowship in Public Health and the Joan H. Tisch Public Health Forum.
The winners, chosen by a committee composed of Hunter College faculty and representatives from the health policy and advocacy communities and led by Roosevelt House Interim Director Jonathan Fanton, will each receive a prize of $10,000.
“This year’s winners, individually and collectively, work to meet the specific health care needs of New York’s diverse, urban population,” said Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab. “Hunter is proud to be at the forefront of increasing access to health care and of celebrating others, like our award recipients, who share this commitment. Our thanks, as always, to the Tisch family for their generosity, public-spiritedness, and dedication to improving the lives of New Yorkers.”
“My mother has long dedicated herself to improving the quality of life for all New Yorkers through proactive medical care and these honorees represent her same values, dedication and passion,” said Steve Tisch. “This year’s honorees, Turning Point for Women and Families, Independence Care System’s Breast Cancer Screening Project for Women with Physical Disabilities, and Robert Cordero, Executive Director of CitiWide Harm Reduction have helped save thousands of New Yorkers’ lives through their work and I know they will continue to do amazing work for New Yorkers in need.”
Turning Point for Women and Families is a grassroots, community-based organization in Queens addressing the needs of Muslim women and children through crisis intervention, individual and group counseling, advocacy, outreach, education and training. Responding to the wide gap between needs and services available to the Muslim community, it offers culturally competent services, especially in the area of domestic violence. Its Youth Program offers Muslim girls leadership trainings and a supportive peer network through which they build their self-confidence. It has served over 750 Muslim women, girls and children since its inception in 2004, most of them recent immigrants, coming from over 30 different countries.
“As a Hunter graduate, I am deeply honored that my alma mater has chosen to recognize a small, grassroots organization like Turning Point for Women and Families,” said Robina Niaz, Executive Director of Turning Point for Women and Families. “It reflects the commitment of both the Tisch Family and Hunter College to New York’s growing immigrant population and to helping address the complex issues each community faces. Domestic violence is a problem that every community faces and has far reaching effects on health. Turning Point is the first non-profit to address domestic violence in the Muslim community and the Joan H. Tisch Health Prize sends a very positive message of support to our under-resourced community.”
Independence Care System’s (ICS) Breast Cancer Screening Project for Women with Physical Disabilities was launched in 2008 to address the health disparities found among low-income women with physical disabilities in New York City who have been largely excluded from this necessary screening procedure. ICS created and tested a model to increase access by partnering with two facilities-one community-based, the other a hospital–in Manhattan to identify and reduce the multiple, persistent barriers to breast cancer screening for women with physical disabilities. Due to its success, the project was recently expanded to include other gynecological care for women with physical disabilities and now includes additional partner facilities in Brooklyn and the Bronx.
“On behalf of our Breast Cancer Screening Project, our Women’s Health program, and all of us at Independence Care System, I want to extend our deep gratitude to Hunter College and the Tisch family for this great honor,” said Marilyn E. Saviola, Senior Vice President of Advocacy and the Women’s Health Program, of ICS. “By recognizing our Project’s contribution to reducing health disparities and improving access to crucial health services for low-income women with physical disabilities in New York City, the Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize not only raises awareness of the health care needs of a greatly neglected population; it also increases the likelihood that real progress, at last, can begin to be made. For historically, when we talked about disparities in access to health care, we seldom heard people with disabilities mentioned. This Prize-devoted, as it is, to improving urban public health-is helping, right now, to change that conversation.”
Robert Cordero has devoted much of his career to working with people impacted by HIV/AIDS and helping to prevent the spread of the disease. He is Executive Director of CitiWide Harm Reduction in the South Bronx, which works to improve the health, social and economic status of active drug users who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. CitiWide helps to keep everyone safer by curbing the transmission of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C through needle exchange, testing and other health and social services. Mr. Cordero stood out for his leadership in guiding CitiWide to fiscal and program stability. CitiWide serves about 2,900 people at risk for and living with HIV/AIDS, including the homeless, injection drug users, and sex workers.
“I am deeply grateful to the Tisch family, the award committee, and the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College for recognizing our groundbreaking work to improve the lives of drug users who are homeless and unstably housed in the South Bronx,” said Mr. Cordero. “We are at a unique time in the history of fighting poverty, homelessness, addiction and illness; with an opportunity to dramatically impact the health status of the most marginalized individuals and communities in New York City. The Community Health Prize will be immediately utilized to further build CitiWide Harm Reduction’s program model, community leadership and sustainability.”
For more information about the Joan H. Tisch Legacy Project, click here.