The Joan H. Tisch Legacy Project was established in 2011 to honor the legendary humanitarian activist Joan H. Tisch. Ms. Tisch (1927–2017). Ms. Tisch was described as a “hands-on philanthropist” by the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), where she was an early supporter, writing on her volunteer application that she had “known several people afflicted with AIDS, some of whom have died, and I would like to be of service.” At that point, the organization had no idea how important a supporter she would become. It was this initial engagement in public health that inspired her children to establish and fund the Joan H. Tisch Legacy Project at Hunter College.
In addition to the Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize, additional projects supported by the Joan H. Tisch Legacy project have included: The Joan H. Tisch Distinguished Fellow in Public Health and The Joan H. Tisch Public Health Forum:
- The Joan H. Tisch Distinguished Fellow in Public Health program supported fellows from around the United States and the world (from 2010 though 2014), enabling them to share their expertise with their fellow academics, students, the public, and outside experts. 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 Public Health Forum was an annual symposium from 2010 through 2013 focusing on national and New York City public health issues. The Forum hosted experts from think tanks, academia, and the media addressing critical public health issues of our time. Notable speakers included Katie Couric, a producer for Fed Up; Dr. Peter Oszag, former director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Obama administration; and Richard Besser, Chief Health and Medical Editor at ABC News and former Acting Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.