In this pandemic year United Hospital Fund's annual fall Gala, one of New York's premier health care events, was held virtually on October 5. The hour-long celebration featured musical tributes to New York’s health care heroes—one performed by health care workers themselves—while five exceptional New York-area leaders were honored: TIAA CEO Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., Warby Parker Co-CEOs Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa, and, posthumously, Stephen and Constance Lieber of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.
Brian Stokes Mitchell dedicates "The Impossible Dream" to health care workers
“The past seven months have been an extraordinarily challenging time. The COVID-19 pandemic has touched every aspect of our lives and challenged our region’s health care system as never before in modern history,” UHF president Anthony Shih, MD, told the Gala attendees. “So, this year our Gala features a special tribute to our health care workforce as well as our three signature awards.”
Throughout the event, photo montages showed health care workers from institutions across the New York region as they bravely fought COVID-19 this spring and summer.
The program kicked off with a moving version of “The Impossible Dream” from the musical Man of La Mancha, performed by the star of the 2002 revival, Broadway legend Brian Stokes Mitchell. Mitchell, himself struck by COVID-19 earlier this year, sang “The Impossible Dream”to front-line workers every night this spring from his Manhattan apartment window while recovering. He closed the Gala program with a rendition of the Louis Armstrong standard, “What a Wonderful World.”
Three awards were presented at the Gala to New Yorkers who have shown extraordinary leadership to advance health and health care.
HEALTH CARE LEADERSHIP AWARD
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.
President and CEO, TIAA
In recognition of his personal leadership and TIAA's role as one of the largest and most respected financial services providers in the world, with a special commitment to the health care workforce.
DISTINGUISHED COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD (underwritten by TIAA for the 15th consecutive year)
Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa
Co-Founders & Co-CEOs, Warby Parker
In recognition of Warby Parker's work to provide underserved New York City schoolchildren with free vision screenings and glasses
Stephen and Constance Lieber*
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
In recognition of their visionary philanthropy to advance scientific research and treatment to improve the lives of those with mental illness
The event included a stirring rendition of Andra Day’s “Rise Up”, performed by eight NY-area health care professionals: Collin E.M. Brathwaite, MD, NYU Winthrop Hospital; Caroline Bredthauer, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital; Kristin Goodkin, PA-C, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Elizabeth Kao, MD, SUNY Downstate Medical Center; Julia Klein, Weill Cornell Medicine; Annalissa Vicencio, MA, LCAT, The Children's Hospital at Montefiore; Nathan Wood, MD, Yale New Haven Hospital; and Marcia Wooden, LCAT, NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull.
Health care workers from NY area hospitals sing "Rise Up" in tribute to fellow health care heroes
Proceeds from the Gala, which topped $1.1 million, support UHF’s work to build a more effective health care system for all New Yorkers, one that is affordable and accessible, provides a better patient experience and the highest quality of care, and achieves optimal health outcomes, with a special focus on those who are disadvantaged.
Click here to view the full program.
The gala journal can be viewed here.