Five Luminaries, Five Emerging Innovators Win Prizes

Contact: Michele McEvoy, 212-292-7293,

Five Luminaries, Five Emerging Innovators Win Prizes

October 20, 2016 (New York) – Ten leaders throughout New York State have been selected as New York Health Foundation (NYHealth) 10th-anniversary award recipients. Five individuals have received Luminary Awards in recognition of their extraordinary contributions to improve the health of New Yorkers over the last 10 years, and five nonprofit organizations have been recognized as Emerging Innovators poised to make radical improvements over the next 10 years.

“For NYHealth’s 10th anniversary, it feels right both to recognize those who have done great work that we’ve supported and to bet on some up-and-comers who are poised to be the next generation of leaders and doers,” said David Sandman, Ph.D., President and CEO of the New York Health Foundation. “The winners are an impressive and diverse group, all working to improve the health of New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable.”

The Luminary Award winners, all past NYHealth grantees who will receive $5,000 grant awards to their organizations, are:

Elisabeth Benjamin, Community Service Society of New York
Paloma Hernandez, Urban Health Plan
Jerie Reid, Clinton County Health Department
James Sutton, Rochester Regional Health
Elizabeth Swain (posthumously), Community Health Care Association of New York State

“The Luminary Award recipients demonstrate commitment to the community, effective efforts to develop diverse partnerships, creative problem-solving, policy savvy, and tenacity in their work,” said James R. Knickman, Ph.D., former NYHealth President and CEO and current Robert Derzon Chair in Health and Public Service at New York University, who served as head judge for the Luminary Awards. “And they’ve had meaningful, measurable impact on the health of New Yorkers: helping to secure health insurance coverage, provide quality primary care, connect refugees to health care, and protect and advance public health. These five leaders represent the very best of the best in New York State.”

Emerging Innovator Award winners will receive $25,000 grants for their organizations:

Center for Active Design (New York City)
Center for Law and Justice (Albany)
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House (New York City)
Patton Veterans Project (New York City)
Soul Fire Farm Institute (Rensselaer)

“The Emerging Innovators are using novel approaches to tackle issues as diverse as food access, criminal justice reform, affordable housing, and post-traumatic stress,” said Jean-Luc Neptune, M.D., Partner at Blueprint Health and head judge for the Emerging Innovator Awards. “If these organizations can bring their work to scale, they could have a huge impact on the health and lives of New Yorkers in the next decade.”

The 10 award recipients were recognized today at an NYHealth anniversary event in New York City. Read about the event.


About the New York Health Foundation
The New York Health Foundation (NYHealth) is a private, statewide foundation dedicated to improving the health of all New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable. Today, NYHealth concentrates its work in two strategic priority areas: building healthy communities and empowering health care consumers. The Foundation is committed to making grants, informing health policy and practice, spreading effective programs to improve the health care system and the health of New Yorkers, serving as a neutral convener of health leaders across the State, and providing technical assistance to its grantees and partners.

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