CUNY SPH’S Sexual and Reproductive Justice Hub receives a major boost in NYS budget

Apr. 30, 2024
Governor Kathy Hochul visits CUNY SPH

The Sexual and Reproductive Justice (SRJ) Hub at the City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) has received $500,000 in the New York State enacted FY2025 budget, providing new and necessary support for its educational, scholarly, and advocacy efforts.

The SRJ Hub at CUNY SPH represents the first coordinated effort in New York State, and one of few nationwide, to advance SRJ through a centralized academic unit that emphasizes not only scholarship, but also leadership development and advocacy. The SRJ Hub aims to take an innovative approach to SRJ through solutions-oriented scholarship, leadership training, and evidence-based advocacy that centers the lived experiences of women of color and elevates and funds their and other marginalized people’s work.

SRJ is a longstanding framework that embodies the idea that the health and well-being of all girls, women, and people who can become pregnant are intrinsically linked to a variety of intersecting factors, including socioeconomic inequities, environmental justice, abortion rights, and access to sexual and reproductive health services. The work underway at the SRJ Hub reflects this holistic vision through its research training, and advocacy efforts. This work has become even more urgent since the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the subsequent erosion of reproductive autonomy and rise of reproductive health injustices that disproportionately burden people of color and marginalized populations.

Over the course of her political career, Governor Hochul has time and again championed programs and policies that protect reproductive freedom and address the crisis in maternal and infant morbidity and mortality, particularly among women and children of color. She, along with Senator Cordell Cleare, a supporter of the SRJ Hub, visited CUNY SPH last Monday and reaffirmed her commitment to investing in the health and well-being of women and children in New York.

Many elected state officials in both the Assembly and the Senate championed the SRJ HUB during the state budget process, particularly Assemblymembers Jessica González-Rojas and Deborah J. Glick.

From left to right: Ira Memaj, Danielle Green, NYS Senator Cordell Cleare, Governor Kathy Hochul, Dean Ayman El-Mohandes, Senior Associate Dean Terry McGovern, Associate Dean Lynn Roberts
From left to right: Ira Memaj, Danielle Green, NYS Senator Cordell Cleare, Governor Kathy Hochul, Dean Ayman El-Mohandes, Senior Associate Dean Terry McGovern, Associate Dean Lynn Roberts

“Support for the establishment of the SRJ hub at CUNY SPH in Harlem is a bold move by the NYS Governor that will allow us to cultivate the next generation of public health leaders committed to ensuring the human right to bodily autonomy and reproductive justice for all New Yorkers, especially the most minoritized and marginalized women, femmes and girls.” said Lynn Roberts, CUNY SPH Associate Dean for Student Affairs and SRJ Hub founding faculty member.

“The generous support from Governor Hochul in this state budget will empower us to grow our SRJ curriculum, hire staff, provide seed funding for sexual and reproductive justice-focused research, organize events, and expand our capacity for enabling social media and other communications mechanisms on these critical issues,” said CUNY SPH Senior Associate Dean and SRJ Hub founding faculty member Terry McGovern. “With these funds, we are committed to promoting reproductive autonomy, combating health disparities, and fostering a future where every person has the right to make informed decisions about their own bodies and lives.”

“In these post-Roe times, we cannot stand by and witness the steady disintegration of women’s bodily autonomy and the calamitous impact on maternal health outcomes,” said NYS Senator Cordell Cleare. “CUNY SPH’s SRJ Hub is already hard at work on education and advocacy efforts to raise awareness and address the roots of reproductive health disparities in New York.”

“I was proud to lead the effort to advocate for funding for the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Hub at CUNY SPH,” said Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas. “Reproductive rights are currently under attack in this country, and we have to reinforce the freedoms and health care justice protections in New York State. When we invest in sexual and reproductive justice, we are supporting essential health care and socioeconomic stability for every New Yorker. Centering the rights, health care, and well-being of all girls, women, and people who can become pregnant, benefits everyone. This victory is a great step in the right direction as we continue to address inequities facing low-income people, women, and birthing people as well as people of color.”

“Resolving the health inequities facing LGBTQ individuals and women and girls of color in New York State is a top priority,” said Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick. “We are ready to do all we can to ensure the rights of our constituents to health, safety, and bodily freedom, and I am so pleased we were able to direct funding to support this critical endeavor.”

“The erosion of policies that protect sexual and reproductive freedom is an increasingly urgent but too often overlooked matter of public health, and one that magnifies longstanding racial, gender and socioeconomic inequities,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez.  “New York State’s funding for CUNY SPH and the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Hub will greatly aid the school’s mission-driven commitment to exposing and mitigating these impacts. CUNY thanks Governor Hochul for her consistent support of this University and investment in the health of all New Yorkers.”

“Our heartfelt thanks to Governor Hochul, and the many members of the legislature including Senator Cleare and Assemblymembers González-Rojas and Glick, who have been ardent supporters of CUNY SPH’s efforts to advance sexual and reproductive justice,” said CUNY SPH Dean Ayman El-Mohandes. “Kudos to Senior Associate Dean Terry McGovern and Associate Dean Lynn Roberts for leading the launch of the SRJ Hub, which aligns perfectly with our school’s social justice and health equity mission.”

Press contact:
Barbara Aaron

The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) is committed to promoting and sustaining healthier populations in New York City and around the world through excellence in education, research, and service in public health and by advocating for sound policy and practice to advance social justice and improve health outcomes for all.