The New York Academy of Medicine Honors Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of New York, with Prestigious Public Health Award

The Stephen Smith Medal recognizes Governor Cuomo’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic

New York, New York, UNITED STATES

New York, NY, Nov. 13, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) has awarded its prestigious 2020 Stephen Smith Medal for Distinguished Contributions in Public Health to the Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, in recognition of his leadership of the state during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Governor Cuomo accepted the award at NYAM’s 173rd Annual Meeting of the Fellows, which was held virtually on November 12. The event included the induction of 66 new NYAM Fellows and Members, whose names were read by special guests Dr. Howard Zucker, Commissioner of Health for New York State, and Dr. Dave Chokshi, Commissioner of Health for New York City. View the full event video here and the event program here

“Every day during the height of the pandemic in New York, we looked to Governor Cuomo for his leadership and compassion as we weathered this extraordinary challenge,” said NYAM President Judith A. Salerno, MD, MS. “His priority was to safeguard the people of New York, and for that we are forever grateful and inspired by his leadership. NYAM is honored to recognize Governor Cuomo’s significant contributions to public health with the 2020 Stephen Smith Medal.”

Michael J. Dowling, President and CEO of Northwell Health, introduced the award. Mr. Dowling served in New York State government for 12 years, including as deputy secretary to former governor Mario Cuomo. 

“During a crisis like this, leadership really, really matters,” Mr. Dowling said. “Leadership that tells the truth. Leadership that uses facts and science to guide decisions. Leadership that builds trust. Leadership that unifies, that brings people together, that focuses people on the central mission of how we deal with issues such as this. … Here in New York, as I know you will all agree with me, we have been very, very fortunate indeed because we have Governor Andrew Cuomo, a model of such leadership.”

”When Governor Cuomo designated University Hospital of Brooklyn as a COVID-only facility, we understood the magnitude of that designation and the trust he placed in our frontline staff,” said NYAM Board Chair and SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University President Wayne J. Riley, MD. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, working with the New York State Department of Health and other partners, we were able to significantly flatten the curve and the spread of the virus by following and adhering to public health guidelines.”

“During these darkest days of COVID, we also saw the light,” Governor Cuomo said in his acceptance speech. “We saw 30,000 retired doctors and nurses return to service to battle the pandemic. We saw 10,000 healthcare professionals from around the country volunteer to come to New York at the height of the pandemic. We saw healthcare professionals become battlefield heroes in saving lives. And we saw the people of New York State rise to the occasion. … I hope and pray a COVID-19-type crisis never happens again, but I believe it will. And your challenge, our challenge, our society’s challenge is to be better prepared for that day before it comes. That’s my goal, I know that’s your goal, and I know that together we will get it done.”

About the Stephen Smith Medal for Distinguished Contributions in Public Health
The New York Academy of Medicine’s medal for lifetime achievement in public health, first awarded in 2005, was named for Stephen Smith, a NYAM Fellow and pioneer in the field of public health. The recipient should have led or significantly contributed to work that effected a significant change in public health policy or practice to improve population health, including work on the broad determinants of health, with a special emphasis on eliminating health disparities. Past recipients include Mary T. Bassett, the Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg, Thomas Frieden, Paula A. Johnson, Michael Marmot and Linda Rosenstock. 

About The New York Academy of Medicine 
The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) tackles the barriers that prevent every individual from living a healthy life. NYAM generates the knowledge needed to change the systems that prevent people from accessing what they need to be healthy such as safe and affordable housing, healthy food, healthcare, and more. Through its high-profile programming for the general public, focused symposia for health professionals, and its base of dedicated Fellows and Members, NYAM engages the minds and hearts of those who also value advancing health equity to maximize health for all. For more information, visit and follow @nyamnyc on social media.