The Distinguished Community Service Award annually recognizes exceptional voluntary leadership of a specific initiative that is improving health and health care in the New York metropolitan area. The awardee is selected by a jury process annually, and the award is presented at United Hospital Fund’s fall Gala.

Previous award recipients (see list below) have demonstrated their leadership and service by launching a new project or organization, expanding an existing program, or establishing an effective new partnership.

Please help UHF identify candidates for the 2023 Distinguished Community Service Award, to be presented at UHF’s Gala on Monday evening, October 2, 2023, at Cipriani 42nd Street. Nominee’s initiative should target a specific health or health care need or opportunity and be of significant magnitude to warrant public attention. Nominee should demonstrate vision and commitment. Nominee’s role must be voluntary/unpaid, extending beyond any professional position the nominee may hold.

How to Submit a Nomination

To nominate an outstanding leader for the Distinguished Community Service Award, please send a brief email to with the following information:

  • Nominee’s full name, title and business affiliation (if any), address, and telephone number
  • Description of the nominee’s specific initiative, project, or organization, its significance, and its benefit to the community
  • Summary of the nominee’s role in the initiative, particularly their voluntary leadership
  • Your name and affiliation (if any), contact information, and how you know the nominee
Recent Honorees
Olajide Williams, MD
2022 Distinguished Community Service Award Honoree
Karen Washington
2021 Distinguished Community Service Award Honoree
Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa
2020 Distinguished Community Service Award Honoree
Lynne Holden, MD
2019 Distinguished Community Service Award Honoree
Debra G. Perelman
2018 Distinguished Community Service Award Honoree
Robert Gore, MD
2017 Distinguished Community Service Award Honoree

Previous Honorees

Scott B. Salmirs (2016)
for addressing the urgent need for increased organ donor awareness and registration in New York, and mobilizing the real estate and building services industries, as a founder of Donate Eight. Read more.

Arnold P. Gold, MD (2015)
for significantly changing the culture of medical education and practice and making a profound impact on thousands of health care professionals and the patients and families for whom they provide care. Read more.

Jennie L. and Richard K. DeScherer (2014)
for their pioneering leadership of the SLE Lupus Foundation and Lupus Research Institute, which care for lupus patients and their families and advances lupus research. Read more.

Tracy Reese (2013)
for her important work, with the CFDA and the New York City AIDS Fund, in the continuing battle against HIV/AIDS

Elizabeth J. McCormack (2012)
for her efforts, as founder of the Partnership for Palliative Care, to ensure that all in need of palliative care will receive the comfort and dignity that it can provide

Edgar Mandeville, MD (2011)
for his pivotal role in shaping the work of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health to alleviate health care disparities

Paula Root and Leon Root, MD (2010)
for her leadership of innovative community-based programs at Visiting Nurse Service of New York, and his founding of the Hospital for Special Surgery's Pediatric Outreach Program
J. Ira Harris (2009)
for founding the Harris Obesity Prevention Effort (HOPE) at NYU Langone Medical Center to prevent childhood obesity
Rear Admiral Robert A. Rosen (2008)
for creating The Florence and Robert A. Rosen Family Wellness Center for Law Enforcement and Military Personnel and Their Families at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System
Charles R. Bronfman (2007)
for establishing the Charles R. Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine at The Mount Sinai Medical Center
Henry “Hank” Carter (2006)
for his efforts to improve the quality of life of patients and residents of Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility
Rocco F. Andriola (2005)
for his efforts to raise public awareness about and participation in lifesaving organ donation
John D. Wren (2004)
for his efforts to improve health and wellness in the diverse communities of Brooklyn
Eleanor Hammerman (2002)
for her vision and role in establishing the Initiative for Women with Disabilities at the Hospital for Joint Diseases
Marie Lam (2000)
for her role as a founder and chair of the Chinatown Health Clinic
Brooke Garber Neidich (1999)
for her vision and leadership in creating the NYU Child Study Center
Stan Herman (1998)
for his role in leading the fashion industry’s extraordinary response to AIDS and breast cancer
Richard Cotton (1997)
for his leadership of the Primary Care Development Corporation, a public-private partnership
Alfred B. Engelberg (1996)
for improving primary care services for low-income New Yorkers and primary care training for physicians
Elizabeth S. Pforzheimer (1995)
for co-founding New Alternatives for Children, a medical and social service agency for children
Eleanor T. Elliott (1994)
for creating New York Hospital’s Women’s Health Symposium, a model educational program
James R. Dumpson (1993)
for leading New York City’s municipal hospital system
Randolph Guggenheimer (1992)
for ensuring the survival and rebuilding of North General Hospital
Suzanne Karpas (1991)
for establishing a community health education and information center on Manhattan’s Lower East Side
Irene Diamond (1990)
for supporting AIDS research and developing career opportunities for minorities
Nicholas D'Agostino (1989)
for establishing a model HIV treatment program at St. Clare's Hospital and Health Center
John V. Waller, MD (1988)
for developing a health promotion and educational curriculum in New York City's public schools
Richard R. Shinn (1987)
for bringing his expertise to the challenges facing St. Vincent's Hospital Manhattan