Urban Institute Selects City Health Works Executive Director Manmeet Kaur for New Janice Nittoli Fellowship

The one-year fellowship pairs practitioners with Urban researchers to answer questions about inequality and advance evidence-based solutions

WASHINGTON, DC – The Urban Institute has selected Manmeet Kaur, executive director and founder of the Harlem-based community health organization City Health Works, for the inaugural Janice Nittoli Practitioner Fellowship. Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Nittoli fellowship is awarded to practitioners working directly with communities to alleviate inequities. Fellows will partner with Urban Institute senior researchers to advance evidence-based solutions.

The fellowship was established to honor Janice Nittoli, former associate vice president and managing director of the Rockefeller Foundation.

“Throughout her career, Janice combined a commitment to increasing opportunities for people and families who had the odds stacked against them with an abiding belief in the importance of producing measurable results,” said Urban Institute president Sarah Rosen Wartell. “We’re pleased to honor that legacy with the selection of Manmeet Kaur as our first Nittoli fellow. Her efforts have helped make City Health Works an innovative model for addressing the social determinants of health in communities.”

“The powerful combination of rigorous research and real results represents Janice Nittoli so well,” said Peter Madonia, chief operating officer of the Rockefeller Foundation. “I was proud to be a colleague of Janice, and I am excited to see her commitment to more inclusive economies continue and grow through this fellowship. Congratulations to Manmeet Kaur, and I hope this fellowship will further advance the positive impact her work is bringing to low-income families in Harlem.”

City Health Works helps create healthier, stronger neighborhoods in Upper Manhattan while reducing health care spending through health coaching and care coordination. Working in concert with health care providers and health systems to enable effective care for chronic illness, the organization allows people to self-manage their health and navigate medical and social services through one-on-one coaching and ongoing check-ins. City Health Works extends the reach of overburdened clinics by serving as eyes and ears for clinicians and empowering them with critical insights to better serve their patients.

“In the three years since its inception, Manmeet’s organization has already achieved tremendous improvements in clinical and quality-of-care measures, as well as cost savings, through its innovative approach to health care in Harlem. Now, as the organization is preparing to grow, we believe it is an opportune moment to partner with Manmeet to help her realize even greater impact at a larger scale,” said Elaine Waxman, senior fellow at the Urban Institute and project lead for the fellowship.

The Janice Nittoli Practitioner Fellowship plans to competitively choose one practitioner each year who focuses on inequality and economic and social mobility and can pose a critical research question about their work to be answered—or at least advanced—by the research, evidence-based analysis, and evaluation done at Urban. The fellowship reflects Urban’s efforts to foster a culture of researcher-practitioner collaboration so that more research draws on experience from the field and more organizations make decisions grounded in evidence.

Urban will collaborate with Kaur and City Health Works to share the insights gained from the fellowship project over the coming year.

“Working at the intersection of policy and practice, City Health Works’ vision is to implement a high-quality community health system at scale,” Kaur explains. “Joining Urban as a Nittoli fellow will allow us to apply our practical insights and data toward policy efforts that sharpen the national dialogue regarding ways to improve health care and address the social determinants of health.”

Kaur founded City Health Works in 2012 after serving as an advisor to the One Million Community Health Worker Campaign and working on community health and workforce initiatives in South Africa, India, and New York City. She earned an MBA from Columbia University and a BA from Barnard College, where she was selected as a Third Millennium Foundation Human Rights fellow. Kaur is also a GLG Social Impact fellow, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation social entrepreneur, and a PopTech Social Innovation fellow and serves on the board of directors of the Sikh Coalition.

The nonprofit Urban Institute is dedicated to elevating the debate on social and economic policy. For nearly five decades, Urban scholars have conducted research and offered evidence-based solutions that improve lives and strengthen communities across a rapidly urbanizing world. Their objective research helps expand opportunities for all, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the effectiveness of the public sector.