CUNY SPH awarded grant to fund Harlem Health Fellowship Award

May. 25, 2022
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Strategic communications leader Ruth Wooden to fund the $125,000 program

New York, NY – The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) Foundation has been awarded a $125,000 grant to connect students with local nonprofits to develop and implement health communications strategies for the organizations.

The Harlem Health Fellowship Award in Health Communication for Social Change establishes a new partnership between CUNY SPH and Harlem-based nonprofit organizations seeking professional and effective communications strategies. CUNY SPH students in the Health Communication for Social Change track completing their Capstone project, a culminating requirement of their degree program, will be matched with local organizations as a consultative and strategic partner.

The award was conceived, advanced and funded by Ruth Wooden, a member of the CUNY SPH Foundation Board of Directors and a renowned marketing and communications strategist.

“The CUNY SPH Foundation has been the recipient of Ruth’s peerless guidance that has long been to engage our students and the Harlem community in collaborative communications initiatives,” says CUNY SPH Foundation Board Chair and Distinguished Scholar Lyndon Haviland. “We are enormously pleased to implement her vision with Harlem nonprofit organizations that are so critical to the public health and wellness of our neighbors,”

 “This is an exciting opportunity for our students to fulfill their intent to deepen public health communications in our Harlem community, and to gain valuable insights into the goals, challenges and accomplishments of Harlem nonprofit organizations in communicating with their constituents,” says Dr. Ayman El-Mohandes, Dean of CUNY SPH.

Students will agree to work with their organization during the Capstone semester on planning, and for 12 weeks afterward for consultation and hands-on implementation. CUNY SPH faculty and Wooden will provide guidance throughout the process and Harlem Health Initiative Director Deborah Levine will work closely with the partner organization to ensure that the work meets the organization’s needs.

“We have learned through the pandemic that nonprofit community leaders are key to establishing trusted public health dialogue with residents,” says Adam M. Doyno, executive director of the CUNY SPH Foundation. “The Foundation is proud to advance an opportunity for our students to participate and contribute to the communications piece of that relationship.”

Wooden has made a significant impact in the U.S. marketing and public policy communications arena including in the realms of health care and public health. Throughout her career and into the present, Wooden has served as a director for a number of nonprofit organizations. These have included CARE, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Partnership for Drug Free Kids, St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, Columbia University School of Health Sciences and the Mailman School of Public Health, Research!America, Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative, Demos, and The Public Good Projects Inc. She is the Chair of the Board of Futures Without Violence (formerly the Family Violence Prevention Fund), as well as a board member of the Union Theological Seminary. In addition to senior leadership roles in advertising and branding, she served as President of the Advertising Council and President of Public Agenda, the New York City-based research and public policy think tank.

For media inquiries contact:
Ariana Costakes
Communications Editorial Manager
CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy


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.

About the CUNY SPH Foundation

The CUNY SPH Foundation’s mission is to advance the achievement of CUNY SPH’s mission, vision, and values as New York City’s public school of public health through fundraising, building strategic partnerships, and providing services as a champion for the school’s students as they embark on public health careers and its faculty as they work to educate the next generation of public health professionals.