The ASPPH Harrison C. Spencer Award for Outstanding Community Service was created to honor Dr. Spencer, who had a long-standing commitment to principles of social justice with a focus on community engagement to address the social determinants of health. This annual award is given to an ASPPH-member, CEPH- accredited school or program of public health demonstrating a major institutional commitment to addressing community needs through education, practice, and/or research.
Harrison Spencer Award Winner Image
Harrison Spencer Award Winner Image

2023 Award Recipient

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health

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Criteria for Award

Nominations should include a description of the nominee’s outstanding contributions in:

  • Addressing community needs through education, practice, and/or research;
  • Development and implementation of exceptional programs that engage a community to improve public health; and
  • Ongoing commitment to community service as reflected in programs and initiatives that are responsive to community needs and exhibit a meaningful partnership with the community (or communities).

The types of programs appropriate for consideration may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Demonstration of innovative leadership for enhancing excellence, health equity, and inclusiveness in their communities; 
  • Demonstration of the institution’s mission, vision, and core values as it relates to community engagement; 
  • Community service projects developed and delivered by faculty, staff, students, practitioners, and alumni that are explicitly part of the institution’s mission; 
  • Innovative, scholarly, evidence-based programs that engage a community to improve health;
  • Development, integration, and application of new knowledge to improve public health in the population and practice in the community; 
  • Scholarship that includes discovery, synthesis, integration, and application to public health practice;
  • Leadership focusing institutional and community resources to prevent injuries and diseases and to respond to public health needs; 
  • Programs that use the unique assets and resources of the institution to address continuing educational, economic, and/or community identified needs; and
  • Programs that address social justice issues in a public health-related context. 


Nominees must be a current ASPPH-member, CEPH-accredited school or program of public health. View the list of ASPPH-member institutions.

ASPPH-member schools and programs are eligible to be nominated if they have not received the award previously. Schools and programs selected as finalists can reapply in two years.

Required Materials

Nominations can be submitted by any individual (inside or outside the nominated institution), but self-nominations are expected. The nomination package must contain the following materials: 

  • Nominee and nominator contact information; 
  • An overview statement introducing the program(s) and outlining why the institution should be considered (limit 800 words); 
  • A narrative description (not to exceed six pages) of the nominee’s community-based program(s), including: an overview of the institution’s commitment to community-based programs; descriptions of the programs and their impact on the institution and the community; the participation of faculty, staff, students and/or alumni; and a description of how the activities are supported; 
  • Two letters from outside the institution, preferably from community-based partners, describing the programs and their impact on the community. 

Award Details

$5,000 Cash Prize (intended to be distributed by the awardee to one or more community partners)

Award Plaque

Recognition at the Awards Ceremony

Past Winners


University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences


CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy


National Taiwan University College of Public Health and University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health


The University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health


Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health


Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health