2020 COVID-19 Response Awards
This year, the Foundation decided to make special COVID-19 response awards to staff in City agencies to honor outstanding work in meeting the administrative and program challenges posed by the pandemic. With over 60 nominations for these special prizes from 28 City agencies, we made 20 awards and recognized an additional 23 for honorable mentions.
As with our standard Prizes, we were deeply impressed by the scope and innovation of the work recognized—and by the extraordinary dedication to public service we found. Among the special COVID-19 response award-winning efforts:
Creating a 14,000 -space day care program at the Department of Education for children of essential workers.
Expanding the City’s clinical lab capacity with 9 new labs to speed testing results,
Developing 11 food centers distributing at a peak one million meals daily.
Please visit our COVID-19 Response Awards page for more information on the honorees.
2020 Hayes Prize Recipients
The Hayes Prize Foundation is pleased to announce the following winners of the 2020 Hayes Prize:
Hannah Byrnes-Enoch at the Health+Hospitals Corporation for her active leadership of the large-scale e-Consult project that has had astonishing success in reducing access times for patients for visits to the right specialists and that has also made important gains in clinical decision-making. Ms. Byrnes-Enoch received her Master of Public Health from the Yale School of Public Health and her B.A. in Biology from Bard College.
The team of Andrew Leszko and Andrew Weeks, who have developed a big data platform at the Department of Transportation that puts together literally billions of data pieces from bus, taxi, Uber and other GPS systems and other traffic monitoring to provide real-time analytic pictures of traffic flow in the City. Mr. Leszko received his Master of Science in Geology from CUNY City College of New York and his B.S. in Geology from Eastern Illinois University. Mr. Weeks received his B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Connecticut.
Runners up are:
Vivian Cortés at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for leading the “Ask Before You Act” public awareness campaign on sexual consent for New York City teenagers. She incorporated an interesting and extensive use of community youth teams to select issues and create messaging. Ms. Cortés received a Master of Public Health as well as her undergraduate degree from Columbia University.
Delma Palma, an architect with the NYC Housing Authority who has led a design effort to make novel and captivating use of public spaces in NYCHA projects that serve to link these to their neighborhoods. Delma’s effort was also marked by extensive community participation. Ms. Palma is a Registered Architect and received her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Notre Dame.
The team of Minhaj Mahmud and Brian Lindsay, both Apprentice Inspectors, Highways and Sewers at the Department of Transportation for their scrappy and effective development of an IT system now in use at the Department to identify and prioritize work to fix sidewalks. Mr. Mahmud graduated from Louis D. Brandeis High School in New York, York. Mr. Lindsay received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Savannah College of Art & Design.
The team of Ramneet Kalra and David Tepel have reinvigorated the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's oral health program. Through their efforts, there has been a six fold increase in school services since 2015, benefitting over 75,000 children. Ms. Kalra received her MBA, Master of Public Health, and undergraduate degrees from Stony Brook University, and is a DrPH candidate at Columbia University. Dr. Tepel received his D.M.D from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and undergraduate degree from Brandeis University.
Two runners up were also recognized: The team of Shevani Patel and Jacob Watkins of the Mayor’s Office of Operations, who oversaw the development and implementation of the Raise the Age and Jails to Jobs cross-agency initiatives, and Jennifer Geiling in the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services, who established the Nonprofit Resiliency Committee to strengthen health and human services nonprofits. Ms. Patel received her Master of Public Administration degree from the Wagner School at New York University and her undergraduate degree from New York University as well. Mr. Watkins received his undergraduate degree from New York University. Ms. Geiling received her Master of Public Administration degree from the Wagner School at New York University, JD from George Washington University School of Law, and her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkely.
Finalists for the prize included Kelly Davis at DOHMH who heads the Birth Equality Initiative to reduce racial disparities in maternal mortality and morbidity and Arban Vigani at DOT, who spearheaded traffic calming measures. Ms. Davis received her Master of Public Administration degree from the Wagner School at New York University and her undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Mr. Vigani received his Master Science in Urban Affairs and undergraduate degrees from Hunter College.
Janet Amaro, Director of the Department of Corrections Project Management Office, has spearheaded initiatives to help bring positive reform to reduce violence and promote culture change, particularly through the implementation of Service Desk - an integrated console that serves as a central hub for receiving, tracking and responding to all constituent complaints. She has an extensive background in city government, starting as a high school Cooperative Education Program student and working her way up through a variety of roles. Prior to DOC, she worked at the Department of Environmental Protection where she led the development of an online permitting tool to streamline water and sewer connection repairs and replacements. Ms. Amaro has a Master of Public Administration degree from Long Island University.
David Dubovsky, Associate Project Manager, and Daniel Wood, Associate Staff Analyst, played an integral role in the development of the new Subway Performance Metrics Dashboard that allows the public to check in on New York City Transit subway performance via an intuitive, user-friendly interface. Mr. Dobvsky's led the development of the dashboard's design and coordinated efforts on the various data sources used. Mr. Wood implemented the systems that calculate the dashboard's new passenger-focused performance metrics and developed the database structures to handle the large amount of data produced by the model. Mr. Dubovsky has a Master of Business Administration from Binghamton University. Mr. Wood has a Master of Science degree in Transportation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Three teams were recognized as runners up: From the Department of City Planning, Chris Whong, Manager, DCP Planning Labs, IT Division, and Arundathi Amirapu, Team Leader of the Planning Coordination Division, modernized technology tools that have enhanced planning functions and transparency. From the Mayor's Office of Contract Services, Jenne Rennie, Deputy Director of Business Optimization, and Brandon Chiazza, Chief Technology Officer, launched PASSPort, the Procurement and Sourcing Solutions Portal that immediately transitioned a 30-year paper-based process online and established a common procurement platform for vendors and Agencies to share and vet information in real time. From the Department of Small Business Services, Asma Guerrab, Project Management Director, and Rachel Van Tosh, Deputy Commissioner, led the implementation of the Mayor's Small Business First Initiative, which makes all City government information that's relevant for a small business owner available to New York City businesses online.
Finalists for the prize included Idowu Odedosu, Assistant Director of Resident Business Development at the New York City Housing Authority, Inbar Kishoni, Deputy Director of Public Engagement, and Jeffrey Malamy, Director of Street Improvement Projects, at the Department of Transportation, Kim Wiley-Schwartz, Assistant Commissioner for Education and Outreach at the Department of Transportation, and William Moffat, Supervisor, and Shyam Bajracharya, Computer Systems Manager, at the Department of Sanitation.
Evan Levine, as Assistant Commissioner of Data Analytics at the New York City Police Department, has been responsible for integrating analytics and data science into the Department’s operations and has built tools for predictive policing, pattern identification, and crime data visualization. His efforts have significantly enhanced decision-making at all levels of the Department. He has been with the NYPD since 2012, prior to which he was a Presidential Management Fellow at the Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Levine has a Ph.D. In Astrophysics from the University of California at Berkeley.
Susana Vilardell, as Director of Educational Services, Department of Homeless Services Office of Public, Private Partnerships, played an instrumental role in the first ever data matching process between DHS and DOE that has expanded access to transportation services for students residing in temporary housing, which has improved their school attendance as a result. She also spearheaded an initiative that has brought literacy services directly to families with children residing in shelters. She has worked in education and housing in the city since 2005, and has Master of Public Administration degree from Baruch College.
Two finalists were also recognized: Margot Walker, Managing Director, Green Infrastructure Planning and Partnerships at the Department of Environmental Protection and Dawn Miller, Chief of Staff, at the Taxi and Limousine Commission.
Rachel Johnson served as the Director of Monitoring and Evaluation for the Housing Services Unit within the Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She was primarily responsible for overseeing the programmatic evaluation of approximately $65 million in federal housing grants. Together these grants provided housing services to almost 40,000 low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS. In addition, Rachel worked to revamp the assessment tool that all providers use to assess client need and vulnerability, helping the City to better monitor the health and behavioral outcomes of service recipients and ensure that those who most need housing assistance through the program will receive it.
Vindya Pinnaduwa was Director of Policy and Planning in the Bureau of Mental Health at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Vindya took a leading role in the transitioning of behavioral health services in New York State into Medicaid managed care plans. Her efforts helped to build a health care system that focuses on strong outcomes and recovery for those with serious mental illness.
Michael Frumin served as Deputy Director of Recovery & Resiliency at New York City Transit, Department of Subways. Michael was the lead engineer on the MTA's highlight successful 'Bus Time' project that makes real time bus location information from North America's largest bus fleet available to MTA's 3 million daily bus customers. He also coordinated complex costs/benefit analyses to help determine optimal investments to provide continuity of subway service to New Yorkers in the face of increasing frequent extreme weather events.
Ruby Choi was a policy advisor in the Mayor's Office of Operations where she focused her work on using data to solve problems that lead to better results in city government. Her work contributed to a number of important initiatives including the NYC Stimulus Tracker, citywide fleet optimization, producing the city's first ever workforce profile report, and building the city's first capital projects dashboard. Her work has had a meaningful and lasting impact on City operations and public access to information on how the government is performing.
The team of Theresa A. Caragine and Adele A. Mitchell has developed a statistical tool to describe the results of complex DNA analysis undertaken at crime scenes. The tool is used to evaluate evidence presented in court. The team works in the Chief Medical Examiner’s Department of Forensic Biology, where Ms. Caragine is a Deputy Director and Ms. Mitchell is a Research Scientist. Ms. Caragine holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Oncology and Immunology, and Ms. Mitchell holds a Ph.D. in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology.
Morgan Monaco serves as the Director of MillionTreesNY in the Department of Parks and Recreation. She leads all elements of the program that will plant a million new trees across the City, including the management of internal staff and coordination with dozens of outside organizations. She has been in City service for five years after several summers with the Department, and holds a bachelors degree in international studies.
Constadino Sirakis is a Director of Engineering in the Department of Buildings who developed the Department’s program for ensuring the high quality of concrete placed in public and private buildings constructed in the City. He leads that program, which is important in enforcing the safety of construction throughout the City. He holds a bachelor of science in civil engineering and had been in the Department for nearly four years.
Kerim Odekon was a Policy Analyst in the Office of Development of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Kerim conducted analyses to support the City’s new construction program as well as its programs for preserving affordable housing during a period of widespread distress in the housing markets. Kerim entered City service in 2006 with degrees in mathematics, regional planning, and economics.
Sara Zuiderveen is the Assistant Commissioner of Prevention in the Department of Homeless Services. She is an originator of the City’s program of community-based services aimed at preventing homelessness. A hallmark of Sara’s work is an emphasis on collaboration with service providers. She began her City service in 2004 after several years as a program analyst and writer on issues of child abuse.
Benjamin Jones was the Assistant Commissioner for Strategic Planning and Implementation in the New York City Buildings Department when he was awarded the Prize. BJ led the first comprehensive revision of the City’s building code in decades, and he has been instrumental in bringing an emphasis on safety across the Department’s programs. He entered City service in 2003 after working as a management consultant.
Mitchell D. Silber was the Director of Intelligence Analysis in the Police Department. In his four years in the NYPD, Mitch has pioneered new approaches to counterintelligence analysis which have helped in the formulation of strategies to confront terrorist threats facing our City. Mitch came to the NYPD after work in the financial sector and earning an MA in Middle Eastern Studies and International Security Policy.
The team of Nina Aledort and Sarah Bass in the Department of Juvenile Justice devised and then implemented a new program of community based mental health care for detainees released from the Department’s facilities. Assistant Commissioner for Program Services Aledort and Director of Medical and Mental Health Services Bass had been in City service for only two years when they became Prize winners. Both had considerable experience in the delivery of health and mental health services prior to their City service.
The team of Margaret Sheffer and Carlecia Taylor (more recently Carlecia Wright) in the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Division of Alternative Management Programs was awarded the Prize for having made important contributions to the City’s programs of transferring City-owned residential properties to stable private ownership. Huge numbers of residential properties came into City ownership as a result of tax delinquencies during the 1970s, and nearly all have now been returned to non-governmental management. Sheffer had been with the Department for seven years, Taylor for four years.
R. Jason Henry was the Chief Administrator in the Division of Contracts and Purchasing of the Department of Education. Jason had worked in progressively responsible positions in the Department's for nearly ten years, and was selected because of his innovative approaches to the Department’s multi-billion dollar procurement processes.
Jennifer McArdle Hoppa was Deputy Director of Planning in the Parks and Recreation Department when she was awarded the Fred Hayes Prize, having served in the Department for four years. Currently, Jennifer serves as the Administrator of Northern Manhattan Parks. She was recognized for her extensive contributions to a wide range of Departmental projects and programs.
Patrick Sullivan had served as counsel in the Economic Development Corporation for two years when he won the Prize. He worked on many EDA projects, and was selected because of his broad analytic and creative approach to problem solving, legal and otherwise. Patrick was also called upon to lead management efforts on development projects around the City. He had previously served in other governmental positions, and is currently in private law practice here. He remains very active in the activities of the Prize.