On October 12, a ceremony and reception was held in honor of this year’s recipients of the seventh annual Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize. These awards are given to individuals and nonprofit organizations in the New York metropolitan area for distinguished accomplishment in urban public health. The 2017 recipients are the Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center in the Bronx and Diane Arneth, Executive Director of Community Health Action of Staten Island and Chief Community Services Officer of Brightpoint Health.
Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center (MMFYC) serves the primarily nonwhite Crotona neighborhood of the Bronx. When its Teen Council researched the diets of children in the area in recent years, it found that fully half would likely develop diabetes in their lifetimes. Inspired to action by the results, the MMFYC empowered the Teen Council and community at large to create a health initiative to support health choices for individuals and collaboration among community leaders to ensure an environment where healthy options were available. The initiative includes a highly successful food buying club, support of a local farmers market, plus other efforts to increase access to healthy food and make systemic change. By expanding opportunities, developing leadership, and building community, it is the goal of the board, staff, and youth of the Center to change the environment of Crotona without gentrification so its residents can achieve “complete physical, mental and social wellbeing” as defined by the World Health Organization.
Diane Arneth, is the Executive Director of the Community Health Action of Staten Island (CHASI) and Chief Community Services Officer of Brightpoint Health. Arneth has consistently demonstrated her ability to address public health challenges as they emerge. As executive director for CHASI for the past twenty-six years, Arneth has overseen the growth of the organization from its earliest days, when it operated with a budget of only $150,000, to the multi-site, multi-service agency it is today, with a budget of $11.2 million. She has been a passionate and committed advocate for the residents of State Island, 20,000 of whom are served annually by the comprehensive range of services her organization provides, including case management, comprehensive substance use disorder services, emergency food and benefits assistance, HIV, HCV, and diabetes testing and prevention services for 20,000 Staten Islanders annually.
The awards were presented by President Raab, Laurie Tisch, Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, and Harold Holzer, the Jonathan F. Fanton Director at Roosevelt House. The Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize is made possible with support from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. The Prize is a tribute to Joan H. Tisch in recognition of her humanitarian activism in health care and social services in New York City.