Centers & Institutes

CUNY School of Public Health conducts research and implementation through its centers and institutes, many of which are affiliated with institutions both within and outside of the CUNY network.

CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute

The CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute provides evidence to inform urban and municipal food policy, making equitable access to healthy, affordable food a priority; promoting intersectoral perspectives that link nutrition, health, and sustainable community and workforce development; and engaging CUNY faculty and students in food policy research and action.

To achieve its mission, the Institute:

  • Develops, improves, and evaluates policies and programs that support nutrition and health equity;
  • Promotes economic growth and social justice through a food sector that supports good jobs, health, and sustainable urban environments;
  • Convenes and supports CUNY faculty and students with interests in food policy, food studies and food justice;
  • Improves food security and nutritional well-being for CUNY students and staff;
  • Advances fair and effective urban food policies for New York, the nation and globally in partnership with public officials, community organizations, and academics.

Institute Director:
Nick Freudenberg

Research Director:
Nevin Cohen.

SPH affiliated faculty:
Sandra Echeverria
Chris Palmedo
Emma Tsui

Affiliated faculty from other CUNY colleges:
Felix Cardona, Hostos Community College
Hector Cordero-Guzman, Baruch College, Graduate Center
Alyshia Galvez, Lehman College
Janet Poppendieck, Hunter College

CUNY Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health

The central mission of the CUNY Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health (ISPH) is to translate research into sustainable, cost-effective population-level interventions, strategies, initiatives, and policies with the potential to improve health and reduce health disparities at scale around the world. We do this by understanding biological mechanisms, subtypes and major drivers of disease, identifying program/service/policy implementation gaps driving suboptimal health outcomes at the population level, and by designing and conducting rigorous experimental and observational studies of the impact of strategies aimed at improving population health outcomes. We rigorously assess the effectiveness of these strategies when implemented at scale. Given that many forces shape population health, including those outside the health sector (e.g., political, economic, sociologic, environmental, demographic), we seek and generate knowledge, collaboration and expertise to achieve our mission of improved population health through better implementation.

Executive Director:
Denis Nash, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology

SPH affiliated faculty:
Christian Grov
Daliah Heller
Ashish Joshi
Elizabeth Kelvin
Grace Sembajwe
Levi Waldron
Hongbin Zhang

Affiliated faculty from other CUNY colleges:
Sarit Golub, Hunter
Renee Goodwin, Queens College
Nancy Sohler, Sophie Davis School of Medicine

Healthy CUNY Initiative

This initiative is a collaboration with the University Student Senate. Designed by CUNY students, faculty and staff, the goal is to make the City University of New York the healthiest urban university in the United States. Acknowledging the strong connection between educational achievement and health, Healthy CUNY seeks to ensure that students leave college healthier, and better able to protect their future health, than when they entered.

SPH affiliated faculty:
Nicholas Freudenberg
Spring Cooper
Daliah Heller
Chris Palmedo

Center for Innovation in Mental Health at the CUNY University of New York School of Public Health

The Center for Innovation in Mental Health at the City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy is designed to support the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Mental Health Innovation Lab on all aspects of mental health quality improvement, technical assistance, evaluation, best practices dissemination, and data development, analysis, and management.

The Center for Innovation in Mental Health is funded by New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to serve as the academic arm of the Mental Health Innovation Lab and to coordinate between the Lab and other researchers, investigators, and academic institutions.

Based at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, the Center is directed by Jennifer Wisdom, PhD MPH, a clinical psychologist and mental health services research whose research focuses on improving the organization, delivery, and quality of mental health treatment. The Center for Innovation in Mental Health builds on a wealth of scholarly expertise in the University, including:

  • Mimi Fahs, PhD MPH, health economist
  • Bill Gallo, PhD MBA MA, health and labor economist
  • Christian Grov, PhD MPH, sexual and mental health of gay and bisexual men
  • Sean J. Haley, PhD MPH, substance abuse policy and practice
  • Dahlia Heller, PhD MPH, public health approaches to drug use
  • Ashish Joshi, MD PhD MPH, population health informatics
  • Christopher Palmedo, PhD MBA, public health communications
  • Diana Romero, PhD MA, reproductive health and health care access
  • Gordon Shen, PhD SM, mental health reform
  • Katarzina Wyka, PhD MA, statistical methods for mental health research

Current projects include:

CUNY Center for Systems and Community Design

The CUNY Center for Systems and Community Design seeks to serve as a hub of research excellence and innovation in health promotion and disease prevention through systems and community design. The mission of the Center is to develop and test innovative strategies for effective, sustainable systems and community change to transform health. In order to achieve this, the Center aims to understand the important interdepencencies, structures, and goals inherent in complex organizational and community systems underlying health and, is founded on the principle that a solution-oriented complex systems approach is necessary for achieving lasting, transformative health and for improving health equity within New York City and beyond.

As such, there are four overarching functional objectives that the Center seeks to achieve:

  • Research: Foster and conduct collaborative and trans-disciplinary research through the lens of systems science and design thinking, leverage theories and methods from diverse disciplines.
  • Educational: Train the next generation of systems thinkers and practitioners in public health through engagement in the Center’s work.
  • Convening: Serve as a think-tank and forum of multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral dialogue and solution generation for urgent and complex public health issues.
  • Practice: Provide expert consultancy to communities and organizations in diverse sectors on strategies for creating and evaluating systems change.

Center Director:
Terry Huang

SPH affiliated founding faculty:
Nevin Cohen
Sergio Costa
Sandra Echeverria
Karen Flórez
Sean Haley
Glen Johnson
Sheng Li
Chris Palmedo
Diana Romero
Gordon Shen
Jim Stimpson
Kasia Wyka

NYU-CUNY Prevention Research Center (PRC)

A core mission of the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) is to shape policy and practice in public health for all, and promote and sustain healthier populations in New York City and around the world. In direct alignment with that mission, the NYU-CUNY Prevention Research Center (NYU-CUNY PRC) was established in 2014 to implement, evaluate, and disseminate community-clinical linkage interventions to reduce cardiovascular disease disparities in ethnically diverse communities in NYC. The Center emphasizes collaborative research with multi-sector stakeholders and translation of research findings into sustainable and scalable policies and programs.

The NYU-CUNY PRC draws on faculty expertise in applied public health practice and research, including implementing provider-based and community-based health interventions, as well as monitoring and evaluation of large public health initiatives and policies. A new strength of the partnership is substantive and research expertise in cardiovascular risk in Latino populations, and the promotion of physical activity through applied, community-engaged interventions.

The NYU-CUNY PRC also leverages CUNY’s longstanding tradition of serving and educating New York City’s racially/ethnically diverse and low-income populations. Across 5 graduate centers, 11 senior colleges and 7 community colleges, CUNY trains nearly 270,000 degree-seeking students each year. There is a sizeable Asian American and Latino student body in the MPH and DrPH programs, most of whom are committed to working in NYC, and who will serve as important resources to support PRC activities, while benefiting from PRC internships and related training opportunities.

For more information please visit the NYU-CUNY Prevention Research Center website. You can also contact Sandra Echeverria, PhD, MPH (CUNY Principal Investigator) or Anna Divney (Senior Research Associate) for more information.