News Release

CUNY SPH to be honored with ASPPH Award for Outstanding Community Service

Grant and Award Announcement

CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy

At its 2021 Annual Meeting this month, the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) will present the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) with the Harrison C. Spencer Award for Outstanding Community Service.

The prestigious award was created to honor Dr. Spencer, a pioneer in public health with a long-standing commitment to principles of social justice with a focus on community engagement to address the social determinants of health.

Community engagement is integral to CUNY SPH's vision of promoting health and social justice in New York City and across the globe through innovation and excellence in education, research, and service in public health. We embrace a multifaceted concept of "community" that includes half a million CUNY students at its center, exceeding a million when including the students families and close social circle. The school is also engaged with its immediate neighborhood in Harlem, with its rich cultural heritage anchored in social justice an civil liberty, and with the broader New York City public health community of government agencies, health care institutions, community-based and private sector organizations, and academia whose mission is to improve population health.

CUNY SPH is being recognized for its recent work to promote population health, especially amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, including the CONVINCE USA Initiative, which seeks to promote vaccine literacy and confidence in Covid-19 vaccines in particular; the Healthy CUNY Initiative, which strives to promote the health of CUNY students in order to support their academic success; the Harlem Strong Program, a community-based mental health and economic empowerment initiative to support greater mental health awareness, community advocacy and collaboration through community networks; the Covid-19 Resource Navigator Program (RNAV), which has trained CUNY students and alumni and CBOs to assist nearly 7,000 individuals in obtaining the resources and services necessary to quarantine at home due to exposure to Covid-19; the CUNY SPH Covid-19 Tracking Survey, which documented the impact of the pandemic on New York City and State residents over several months; and the Harlem Health Initiative, which supports and strengthens local organizations in Harlem where the school is located.

"We are delighted and humbled by the news of this award," said CUNY SPH Dean Ayman El-Mohandes. "We look forward to continuing our work to partner with our community in New York City and beyond, to advance social justice, and to improve health outcomes for all."


The Spencer Award is given annually to an ASPPH-member, CEPH- accredited school or program of public health demonstrating a major institutional commitment to addressing community needs through education, practice, and/or research. The award will be presented on day three of the Annual Meeting, March 25 at 2:30pm. See the full agenda and RSVP here.


The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) is committed to teaching, research, and service that creates a healthier New York City and helps promote equitable, efficient, and evidence-based solutions to pressing health problems facing cities around the world. Located in Harlem, CUNY SPH is the top-ranked public school of public health in New York City, New York State, and the tristate region.

Media contact:

Ariana Costakes

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