Dr. Mitchell Katz receives the Aspen Institute’s 2021 Preston Robert Tisch Award in Civic Leadership

The Preston Robert Tisch Award in Civic Leadership was created to recognize individuals who have had a positive impact on their communities, who embody the broad Aspen Institute ideal of values-based leadership, and who have exemplified this ideal in innovative ways that can serve as models for other leaders. The Prize is part of a series of events funded by the Tisch family in honor of Steve, Laurie, and Jonathan’s father, who passed away in 2005 after a decades-long career of business, civic, and philanthropic leadership.

The 2021 Preston Robert Tisch Award honors Dr. Mitchell Katz, MD, president and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals. The award was presented in a livestreamed program on December 13, 2021 at Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College. Elisabeth Rosenthal, MD, editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News moderated the discussion, which included his history of progressive administrative leadership in the healthcare field, and an insider’s perspective on mobilizing the hospital system to address the Covid-19 pandemic.


Watch the video of the event:



Dr. Katz was given the award for his accomplishments as the President and Chief Executive Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals (H+H), the largest municipal health care system in the United States. Since his appointment in 2018, H+H has significantly expanded access to health care, and now provides care to more than 1 million patients through hospitals, community health centers, home-based services, and no-cost health insurance.

“Mitch Katz is an exemplary leader and we are thrilled to present him with the Preston Robert Tisch Award in Civic Leadership,” said Laurie M. Tisch, founder and president of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. “I got to know Mitch in 2018 when our foundation began working with NYC Health + Hospitals as part of our Arts in Health initiative. He put H+H in the forefront of hospital systems using the arts to improve health for patients, staff and the broader hospital community. Then Covid hit our city and the world. His leadership of our country’s largest public hospital system during one of the darkest periods in our history was no less than heroic. His empathy, humanity, innovation and determination saved and is still saving countless lives. We are all in his debt.”

During the Covid-19 pandemic, H+H more than tripled its ICU capacity, created a COVID-19-dedicated hotline to help mitigate dangerous overcrowding in the system’s emergency departments, transitioned nearly all existing ambulatory care appointments to telemedicine, helped establish the city’s Test & Trace Corps, and launched one of the country’s most ambitious COVID-19 vaccine programs.

The Preston Robert Tisch Award in Civic Leadership is an annual Aspen Institute Award funded by Bob Tisch’s family — Steve Tisch, Laurie Tisch, Jonathan and Lizzie Tisch, as well as the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund — to honor his legacy of leadership, public service and philanthropy. The award is presented to an individual who has had a positive impact on his/her community, who embodies the broad Aspen Institute ideal of values-based leadership, and who has exemplified this ideal in innovative ways that can serve as models for other leaders.

“I am honored to be acknowledged by the Aspen Institute and the generous Tisch family on behalf of the entire NYC Health + Hospitals system. While I may be the named recipient of this prestigious award, this honor is truly a reflection of the courage, skill, and commitment to mission that lives within each of our Health + Hospitals team members and supporters,” said President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals Mitchell Katz, MD. “This award sets a powerful example of the importance of supporting NYC Health + Hospitals on behalf of all New Yorkers. I am so proud to be recognized as part of this extraordinary team.”

Past recipients include: Jazz great and educator Wynton Marsalis, tennis legend and humanitarian Billie Jean King, renowned restaurateur, civic leader and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group Danny Meyer, civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis, former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Ford Foundation president Darren Walker, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, American Ballet Theater principal dancer Misty Copeland, and activist Cecile Richards.

The award includes a $25,000 grant to be donated to a nonprofit organization of the awardee’s choosing. Dr. Katz selected NYC Health + Hospitals in tribute to the employees throughout the system who stepped up in the most challenging period of their careers.


The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit http://www.aspeninstitute.org.