Priorities & Partners

We support our communities thanks to the generous help of organizations and individuals

The CUNY SPH Foundation operates at the intersection of the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, employing a multi-dimensional approach to build partnerships and secure investments that bolster public health students’ achievement and promote health equity broadly. Relying on philanthropic gifts and grants, the Foundation achieves it’s mission through purpose-driven student support funds and sponsored programs. Our funded activities promote public health ventures, while creating new opportunities for our students and growing alumni network.

Working in support of CUNY SPH, New York City’s public school for public health, we raise funds to promote the success and well-being of CUNY SPH students and our shared city, with a priority emphasis on the Harlem community.

CUNY SPH Students

It is our priority to ensure that a graduate education in public health is attainable and accessible for all students. Core initiatives include empowering students to make a powerful impact in public health through scholarship, fellowship, networking, and mentorship from top leaders in the public, government, and private sectors and providing emergency support to alleviate socioeconomic barriers, such as short-term financial hardship.

Below we have outlined some of our core programming:

Student Resiliency Fund

Launched in 2020, through this fund, the CUNY SPH Foundation issues three types of grants to mitigate financial hurdles that may prevent current students from continuing and completing their education:

  • Emergency grants to overcome episodic financial crises
  • Continuing scholarship awards to alleviate the burden of tuition due to economic hardship
  • Tuition debt relief grants to ensure students who finished their degree can receive their diploma despite lingering account balances

The Fund is led by Dr. Lynn Roberts, Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Alumni relations and managed by a committee of CUNY SPH staff. This body works to make sure all emergency grants are responded to rapidly through a fair and objective lens.


If you are a student in need of emergency financial support, please click here to learn more about the application process.

Current & Prior Partners

William Randolph Hearst Foundation

Josiah Macy Foundation

Dr. Richard Park

CUNY SPH Foundation Annual Fund Donors

Career Skills Academy

The Career Skills Academy (CSA) is the first and only program of its kind in the country. This groundbreaking program was launched in response to the Covid-19 pandemic to better prepare CUNY SPH students to enter and excel within the public health workforce.

Students participate in a competitive application process to prioritize individuals who have not yet had the opportunity to develop professional skills. Enrolled students participate in monthly extra-curricular seminars and workshops to dive deep into specific professional development topics. Interactive master classes, led by individuals from senior levels of leadership in the private, nonprofit, and goverment sectors, expose CSA members to industry expertise and diverse career narratives. Students are offered opportunities for mentorship, coaching, networking and soft skills practice. The Career Skills Academy is currently overseen by Hannah Stuart Lathan, MPH, Director of the Office of Career Services at CUNY SPH. An Advisory Committee supports the CSA to identify speakers, mentors, volunteers and funding to advance the program.

Visit our website to learn more about the Career Skills Academy.

Current & Prior Partners

BNY Mellon


Dr. Lyndon Haviland

Gramercy Surgical Center (Career Skills Academy Presenting Sponsor)

The Career Skills Academy Advisory Council

Student Scholarship & Fellowship Opportunities

The CUNY SPH Foundation is committed to supporting student success through a diverse range of scholarship and fellowship opportunities. These initiatives enhance students’ educational opportunities and introduce students to new domains of study. A full list of currently available scholarship and fellowship opportunities be found here. Some of our recent opportunities are featured below.


Dr. Michael Apa Scholarship Fund in Oral Population Health

Launched in 2021 by visionary philanthropist and aesthetic dentist, Dr. Michael Apa, the Apa Scholarship Fund created a new area of public health study at the intersection of oral health and public health. As the first program of its kind in the world, the Apa Scholarship Fund welcomed 10 scholars and 1 doctoral fellow to learn under the guidance and mentorship of Distinguished Professor of Epidemiology, Dr. Luisa N. Borrell, DDS, PhD. Scholars receive full awards to attend CUNY SPH tuition free. Applications are currently being accepted for a new cohort of 10 scholars and 1 doctoral fellow to continue the excellence of this program and promoting it as a new and necessary area of focus in public health education. This program has laid the groundwork to institutionalize oral population health as a specialization for CUNY SPH’s masters level students in the coming years.

“Being a recipient of the Apa Scholarship has had a huge impact on me. I’ve always had a passion for public health and dentistry, but I’ve never known a real-world way to apply those ideas. This program has allowed me to explore paths that I never knew existed and is giving me the tools that I need to make a real impact for those who need it most.”

— Mark Makiling, DDS (MPH ’24 candidate)

Dr. Lyndon Haviland Endowed Doctoral Fellowship in Migrant Health

Created by CUNY SPH Foundation Board Chairman and renowned public health leader, Dr. Lyndon Haviland, the Haviland Fellowship is awarded to one student every three years and includes full in-state tuition and an annual stipend of $35,000. Endowed by the CUNY Board of Trustees in 2019, the Haviland Fellow works in partnership with faculty and staff experts at the school’s Center for Immigrant, Refugee and Global Health and is mentored and advised by Dr. Kathleen Cravero, the Center’s Director. Haviland Fellows are enrolled in the Community Health and Health Policy doctoral program and pursue dissertation topics related to migrant health.

“I will always be grateful to both Dr. Haviland and CUNY SPH for the Haviland Fellowship. The fellowship’s focus on migrant health addresses an unmet need and has prepared me well for this work in my future career. This was a valuable opportunity that opened doors to many unique and diverse experiences. Throughout my time at CUNY SPH I was able to present at conferences across the country, work with accomplished faculty, and hone essential research skills with real world application.”

— Erinn Bacchus, MPH (PhD candidate)

Dr. Marilyn Aguirre-Molina and Dr. Carlos W. Molina Endowed Scholarship in Health Equity

Launched by the Molinas in 2022 and endowed by the CUNY Board of Trustees in December 2023, the Molina Scholarship Fund in Health Equity was established by the country’s foremost experts on public health and health equity in Hispanic and Latino/a communities. Designed to improve public health outcomes for Spanish-speaking communities of New York City, the scholarship fund welcomes new recipients each year. Applicants are asked to demonstrate their commitment to working towards health equity and their experience working in Hispanic and Latino/a communities. Molina Scholars receive a generous annual scholarship toward their tuition for four consecutive semesters. The Scholarship Fund includes an annual Molina Health Equity Summit, and welcomes current and prior scholarship recipients to learn about the latest public health efforts in support of US Hispanic and Latino/a populations. The fund is led by Distinguished Professor of Epidemiology, Dr. Luisa N. Borrell.

“My overall goal in working with Latino/Hispanic and vulnerable populations is to limit health inequities and ensure everyone receives quality medical care. This fellowship has significantly impacted my career/education in a positive way and has brought me one step closer to achieving this goal. It has helped me to understand that the work I do does not go unnoticed. It has also contributed to my academic development by alleviating the financial burden I was facing as a first-generation Latina starting graduate school.”

— Mariana Barajas (MPH ’24 candidate)

New York City

Through funding strategic initatives, the Foundation is dedicated to integrating the values of teaching, research, and service into dynamic, multi-faceted programs aimed at engaging and supporting the public health needs of key communities within our city. We support activities that address public health inequities in marginalized neighborhoods by connecting community leaders and workforces to resources including our faculty, students, and partners.

As an integral part of an academic institution, we recognize and champion the valuable opportunities community-engaged programming offers our students, allowing them to learn alongside grassroots organizers and direct service providers.

Our priority focus is on Harlem, the school’s home neighborhood and an area of ongoing place-based public health need. At the core of this effort is the school’s Harlem Health Initiative (HHI), launched by the Foundation in 2020. HHI has become a core element of the school’s community mission, led by Deborah Levine, LCSW, ACSW, a respected leader in health equity in Harlem and beyond with over 20 years of experience building coalitions and capacity with community organizations. Aligned with our commitment to student success, Deborah has facilitated the academic and professional development of over 40 students through fieldwork, fellowship and employment placements within her programming.

Health Equity and Literacy Program

The Health Equity and Literacy Program (HELP) harnesses an effective model of community partnership and co-design employed throughout the pandemic by the Foundation-funded Vaccine Literacy Campaign (VLC).

HELP collaborates with community organizations and leaders to identify and address pressing health communication needs through iterative design processes. Working across community-engaged programs as part of the Harlem Health Initiative while offering project-based fieldwork placements for CUNY SPH students, activities include promoting knowledge about immunity and the importance of routine vaccinations, raising awareness of mental health concerns and resources, and offering operational support and technical assistance to community-based organizations around navigating new health information, recommendations, and policies.

The NY Vaccine Literacy Campaign produced a white paper and guide on the implementation and best practices of community-academic partnerships.

Current & Prior Partners

Booth Ferris Foundation

New York Community Trust


New York Health Foundation

Altman Foundation

Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust

The New York State Immigrant Provider Action Center

Launched in partnership with the school’s Center for Immigrant, Refugee and Global Health, the NYS Immigrant Provider Action (IMPACT) Center is a first-of-its-kind mapping project and resource navigation tool for migrant-serving organizations.

Built and operated by CUNY SPH alumna, doctoral students, and fieldwork students, the IMPACT Center is designed to respond to the complex and evolving needs of migrant-serving organizations, including the need for a comprehensive information source to identify migrant-focused service providers, resources, and data. The resource center aims to strengthen and support the work of migrant-serving organizations across New York City and State by providing an accessible and inclusive space for organizational staff to exchange best practices, learn new skills, review the latest in immigrant health policy and research, and connect with similar organizations across the state.

Visit the IMPACT center on the Center for Immigrant, Refugee and Global Health website here.

Current & Prior Partners

Mother Cabrini Health Foundation