Hunter College Names 2023 Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize Winners

Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab and Laurie M. Tisch, Founder and President of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, together announced the four winners of the 2023 Joan M. Tisch Community Health Prize during a ceremony on Wednesday, June 14 at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute — with each honoree taking home a $10,000 prize.

Four winners — two nonprofit organizations and two individuals in the New York metropolitan area who are honored for their distinguished accomplishments in public health — included the SkillSpring Program at the New Jewish Home, VISIONS Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Sudha Acharya of the South Asian Council for Social Services, and Yinan Lan of Bellevue Hospital and NYC Health + Hospitals.

“We are delighted to honor these urban health heroes who live and breath Hunter’s motto of mihi cura futuri — the care of the future is mine,” said President Raab. “These $10,000 prizes impact the bottom line, spurring their work while helping the communities they serve.”

Tisch, who created the prize in honor of her mother Joan’s stealth support of health services during her life, noted that this year’s awardees were carrying her mom’s torch. It is the 10th time the awards have been given.

“These are truly inspiring awardees… My mother Joan had a social conscience and cared very much about the underserved. She understood the power of philanthropy and the power of stepping forward and getting other people involved… Congratulations to everybody. We are so proud to be a part of this program.”

And they have done plenty to earn the honor.

From the New Jewish Home’s facilities in upper Manhattan, SkillSpring helps train the next generation of health care professionals while generating excitement and enthusiasm for career opportunities in health care serving older adults. Its young participants provide more than 8,000 hours of companionship, activities, and clinical care to seniors each year, and its comprehensive curriculum trains them to appreciate and gain a deep respect for older adults.

VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired helps blind and visually impaired people of all ages live independent and active lives. At the same time, it educates the public on their capabilities and needs. The organization provides individualized rehabilitation training at home and in the community, social services, employment training, and group and community education and activities.

Since founding the South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS) in Flushing, Queens, Sudha Acharya has been an advocate for immigrant communities with a focus on the South Asian community. Under her leadership, SACSS has provided affordable health care to diverse, predominantly low-income residents for nearly a quarter of a century — and connects individuals and families to health insurance, SNAP benefits, rental assistance, senior services, job preparedness, and legal services.

A tireless advocate for the city’s unhoused, Yinan Lan created the Primary Care Safety Net Clinic at Bellevue Hospital to provide quality primary care to the city’s most vulnerable population. Lan is also the homeless health medical director at NYC Health + Hospitals.

Photo: From left, Yinan Lan, Sudha Acharya, Laurie M. Tisch, Jennifer J. Raab, and representatives from Vision/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Skillspring Program at the New Jewish Home.