Harrison C. Spencer Award

The ASPPH Harrison C. Spencer Award for Outstanding Community Service is presented annually and honors an ASPPH-member school or program with a long-standing, major institutional commitment to engage with communities to improve public health. The award recognizes exceptional community service initiatives that address community needs.

Criteria for Award

The ASPPH Harrison C. Spencer Award for Outstanding Community Service is awarded 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. The commitment should be demonstrated through the development and implementation of exceptional programs that engage a community to improve public health. The award recipient must have an 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). Such communities do not need to be geographical in nature or geographically adjacent to the school or program.

The award is not intended to honor any one specialized service program or individual, but rather to recognize instances where a broad-based collaboration has developed between the nominee and the community served.

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

  • Demonstration of the institution’s mission, vision, and core values as it relates to community engagement;
  • Community service projects developed and delivered by faculty, 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 institution.

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.

Nomination Process

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 5,000 characters);
  • 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)
  • An Award Plaque
  • Recognition at the Awards Luncheon
  • Free Awards Luncheon registration to community partners of the awardee
  • Ability to show video of awardee’s community engagement at the Awards Luncheon

Application Dates

The nomination period for the 2020 cycle has closed.