Commencement 2023

CUNY SPH graduates taking the public health pledge

2023 CUNY SPH Commencement Ceremony

Tuesday, May 30, 2023  2pm – 5pm  |  Apollo Theater

Livestream  |  Ceremony Program

Our commencement ceremony will be livestreamed on the CUNY SPH YouTube channel. Please tune in at 2pm on Tuesday, May 30 and follow along with our digital program.

Keynote Speaker and Honorary Doctor of Science in Public Health Degree Recipient

Peter J. HotezPeter J. Hotez, MD, PhD
Dean, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine

Peter J. Hotez, M.D., Ph.D. is dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and professor of pediatrics and molecular virology & microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine where he is also co-director of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) and Texas Children’s Hospital endowed chair of tropical pediatrics. He is also university professor at Baylor University, fellow in disease and poverty at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, senior fellow at the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at Texas A&M University, faculty fellow with the Hagler Institute for Advanced Studies at Texas A&M University, and health policy scholar at the Baylor Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy.

Dr. Hotez is an internationally recognized physician-scientist in neglected tropical diseases and vaccine development. As co-director of the Texas Children’s CVD, he leads a team and product development partnership for developing new vaccines for diseases affecting hundreds of millions of children and adults worldwide, while championing access to vaccines globally and in the U.S.

He obtained his undergraduate degree in molecular biophysics from Yale University in 1980, followed by a PhD degree in biochemistry from Rockefeller University in 1986, and an MD from Weil Cornell Medical College in 1987.

Dr. Hotez has authored more than 600 original papers and is the author of five single-author books, including Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases (ASM Press); Blue Marble Health: An Innovative Plan to Fight Diseases of the Poor amid Wealth (Johns Hopkins University Press); Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism (Johns Hopkins University Press); and Preventing the Next Pandemic: Vaccine Diplomacy in a Time of Anti-science (Johns Hopkins University Press).

Dr. Hotez previously served as president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and he is founding editor-in-chief of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. In 2006 at the Clinton Global Initiative he co-founded the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases to provide access to essential medicines for hundreds of millions of people. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (Public Health Section) and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (Public Policy Section). He served in the Obama Administration from 2014-2016 as U.S. envoy, focusing on vaccine diplomacy initiatives between the U.S. government and countries in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2018, he was appointed by the U.S. State Department to serve on the Board of Governors for the U.S. Israel Binational Science Foundation, and is frequently called upon to testify before the U.S. Congress.

In 2022 Hotez and his colleague Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for “their work to develop and distribute a low-cost COVID-19 vaccine to people of the world without patent limitation.”

Most recently as both a vaccine scientist and autism parent, he has led national efforts to defend vaccines and to serve as an ardent champion of vaccines going up against a growing national “antivax” threat. In 2019, he received the Award for Leadership in Advocacy for Vaccines from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. In 2021 he was recognized by scientific leadership awards from the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) and the AMA (American Medical Association), in addition to being recognized by the Anti-Defamation League with its annual Popkin Award for combating antisemitism.


Champion of Public Health Awardee

Richard GottfriedRichard N. Gottfried
Former chair of the New York State Assembly Health Committee

Richard N. Gottfried retired as a member of the New York State Assembly in December 2022. He had chaired the New York State Assembly Committee on Health since 1987. He was a Democrat representing a Manhattan district including Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown and part of the Upper West Side. He was first elected to the Assembly in 1970 at the age of 23, while in law school, and served in the Assembly for 52 years. He was the longest-serving member of the Legislature in New York State history.

Gottfried worked to protect funding for Medicaid, community health centers, school health clinics and other health concerns, and to create and expand public health insurance programs in New York, including Child Health Plus and the Essential Plan. He sponsored the New York Health Act to create a universal “improved Medicare for all” single-payer health plan for the state. He was a leading proponent of patient autonomy and reproductive freedom. He sponsored the law to allow medical use of marijuana in New York and the HIV Testing and Confidentiality Law.

Gottfried’s legislative work included promoting primary and preventive care; creating and expanding the Child Health Plus program, the Health Care Proxy Law and the Family Health Care Decisions Act; managing care reforms; giving patients access to information about a doctor’s background and malpractice record; establishing midwifery as a licensed profession; insurance coverage for midwife services and expanding and strengthening the professional stature of nurse practitioners, physician assistants and midwives.

He is a graduate of Cornell University (BA, 1968) and Columbia Law School (JD, 1973).  He is licensed to practice law in New York but did not maintain a private practice; his only occupation was assembly member.  He is a member of the New York Academy of Medicine, the National Academy for State Health Policy, the Public Health Association of New York City, the New York Civil Liberties Union and the China Institute.


Dean’s Student Awards

Valedictorian and Dean’s Merit Award for Scholarship
Julia Greene (MPH, Public Health Nutrition)

Dean’s Merit Award for Excellence
Lara Balick (MPH, Community Health)
Madelyn Carlson (MPH, Epidemiology and Biostatistics)
Pasani Dharmasena (MPH, Health Policy and Management)
Hannah Grunfeld (MPH, Community Health)
Victoria Isquith (MPH, Health Policy and Management)
Abigail Lyons (MPH, Epidemiology and Biostatistics)
Gerald Mastroianni (MS, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences)
Mukta Mohnani (MPH, Epidemiology and Biostatistics)
Elizabeth Orlandini (MPH, Community Health)
Chelsea Rose (MPH, Community Health)
Shawon Shahriar (MPH, Health Policy and Management)
Victoria Sunseri (MPH, Health Policy and Management)
Nina Zadushlivy (MS, Population Health Informatics)

Dean’s Merit Award for Commitment
Kimberly Mitchell (MS, Health Communication for Social Change)

Dean’s Merit Award for Research
Daniela Cruz Salazar (MPH, Public Health Nutrition)

Dean’s Merit Award for Service
Tracy Sun (MPH, Epidemiology and Biostatistics)
Ann Winters (MPH, Epidemiology and Biostatistics)

Dean’s Dissertation Award
Claudia Calhoon (DPH, Health Policy and Management)
Christina Nieves (PhD, Epidemiology)

Dean’s Departmental Award
Department of Community Health and Social Sciences
Anna Szilagyi (MPH, Community Health)
Department of Environmental, Occupational, and Geospatial Health Sciences
Nicholas Dalzell (MS, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences)
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Madelyn Carlson (MPH, Epidemiology and Biostatistics)
Department of Health Policy and Management
Pasani Dharmasena (MPH, Health Policy and Management)

Dean’s Faculty Awards

Dean’s Merit Award for Teaching
Pedro Mateu-Gelabert (Associate Professor, Department of Community Health and Social Sciences)
Mustafa Hussein (Assistant Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management)

Dean’s Merit Award for Mentoring
Kathleen Cravero (Distinguished Lecturer, Department of Health Policy and Management)
Suzanne McDermott (Professor, Department of Environmental, Occupational, and Geospatial Health Sciences)

Dean’s Merit Award for Research
Nevin Cohen (Associate Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management)
Chloe Teasdale (Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics)

Dean’s Award for Community Participation
Sasha Fleary (Associate Professor, Department of Community Health and Social Sciences)

Additional details will be shared as they are confirmed.
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