Featuring work by: Kay Hickman, Kevin Miyazaki, Ayesha Kazim

Taking over a hospital to demand better patient treatment. Translating COVID-19 protocols into 10+ Indigenous languages. Staying present and offering healthcare to your community. Desegregating medical education and healthcare facilities. Rehabilitating an abandoned park for safe community space. 

These are all actions taken over the past decades to keep New York City well. While doctors treat people who are sick, public health practitioners work proactively to keep people and their communities well. For a city of 8 million, public health requires a multitude of approaches working together – community activism, research & innovation, information sharing, mentorship and more.  

Historically, the public health narrative has focused narrowly on advances within the system. This narrative, however, excludes the many people who have fought to make the system more public – accessible to more and more people. This exhibition aims to reframe and widen the historical narrative of public health, by spotlighting individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to public health milestones. The project will explore and highlight stories of these hidden figures who have played a role in shaping health equity, racial equity, and social justice. These are stories of perseverance and dedication to moving the needle for their community, building off the work of those who came before them, and shaping a healthier future for those to come.

For educators who want guidance for how students can engage with this exhibit or are seeking to develop a lesson plan around the exhibit, download the Exhibit Educator Guide and Professional Development Lesson Plan.

Artist Bios

  • Kay Hickman

    Kay Hickman

    Kay Hickman is a New York City based documentary photographer and visual artist. With an inquisitive eye, she offers a unique and empathetic perspective into the everyday lives of the people she photographs. Her work largely focuses on documenting the human experience as it relates to identity, human rights and health issues. Hickman’s work has been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Vogue, Utne Reader, Ms. Magazine, OkayPlayer, Coeval, Jazz Halo and Photographic Journal: MFON Women Photographers of the African Diaspora. Hickman also Joined the Everyday Project’s Advisory Board where she works on various initiatives, as well as helps curate Everyday Black America’s instagram feed.

    Hickman is inspired by works of Gordon Parks, Vivian Maier and Carrie Mae Weems, to name a few. She fell in love with visual arts at a young age and often went to the museum with her Mom. She found it to be a great method of documenting the era, while also gaining insight of the person who created the work. From these experiences, Hickman realized the importance of representation and seeing through an empathic lens.

  • Kevin Miyazaki

    Kevin Miyazaki

    Kevin J. Miyazaki is an artist and photographer based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His artwork focuses on issues of ethnicity, migration and place, often addressing family history and the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War ll. Miyazaki was born and raised in suburban Milwaukee, culturally and physically far from ancestral roots in Japan, Hawaii and Washington state. His photographs have been exhibited at venues including the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Griffin Museum of Photography, Museum of Wisconsin Art, The Center for Photography at Woodstock and the Hyde Park Art Center.

  • Ayesha Kazim

    Ayesha Kazim

    Ayesha Kazim is a photographer working between New York City, Cape Town, and London. She utilizes analog and digital mediums to capture the intimate, transient moments of everyday life. Her British, Nigerian, and South African background influences her desire to create nuanced portraits that speak to a wide range of audiences and communities. Ayesha’s creative practice balances introspection and curiosity as she photographs subjects exuding resilience, power, and quiet confidence.


  • New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH)

    New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH)

    With an annual budget of $1.6 billion and more than 6,000 employees throughout the five boroughs, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is one of the largest public health agencies in the world. It is also one of the nation’s oldest public health agencies, with more than 200 years of leadership in the field.

    Every day, the NYC DOHMH protects and promotes the health of 8 million New Yorkers. The work is broad-ranging, from inspection grades of dining establishments, to the licenses dogs wear, to the low- to no-cost neighborhood health clinics to birth certificates for our youngest New Yorkers.

    The NYC DOHMH is also behind the scenes with its disease detectives, investigating suspicious clusters of illness. Their epidemiologists study the patterns, causes and effects of health and disease conditions in New York City neighborhoods. These studies shape policy decisions and the City’s health agenda.

    The challenges the NYC DOHMH faces are many. They range from obesity, diabetes and heart disease to HIV/AIDS, tobacco addiction, substance use and the threat of bioterrorism. The health agency also works to address enduring gaps in health between white New Yorkers and communities of color. Structural racism is at the root of these health inequities, which is why the NYC DOHMH has made racial justice a priority.

  • Photoville


    Founded in 2011 in Brooklyn, NY, Photoville was built on the principles of addressing cultural equity and inclusion, which we are always striving for, by ensuring that the artists we exhibit are diverse in gender, class, and race.

    In pursuit of its mission, Photoville produces an annual, city-wide open air photography festival in New York City, a wide range of free educational community initiatives, and a nationwide program of public art exhibitions.

    By activating public spaces, amplifying visual storytellers, and creating unique and highly innovative exhibition and programming environments, we join the cause of nurturing a new lens of representation.

    Through creative partnerships with festivals, city agencies, and other nonprofit organizations, Photoville offers visual storytellers, educators, and students financial support, mentorship, and promotional & production resources, on a range of exhibition opportunities.

    For more information about Photoville visit,

Unsung Heroes of Public Health

 archive : 2023

Featuring: Kay Hickman Kevin Miyazaki Ayesha Kazim

Presented By: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH)
  • Photoville


View Location Details Old Fulton Street and Prospect Street

Old Fulton Street and Prospect Street
DUMBO, Brooklyn 11201

Number 57 on the official photoville map Click to download this year's map

This location is part of Brooklyn Bridge Park
Explore other locations and exhibitions nearby

Location open 24 hours

Snug Harbor Cultural Center

Cottage Row, Snug Harbor Cultural Cetner
1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301

Number 87 on the official photoville map Click to download this year's map

Location open 24 hours

Archival Imagery courtesy of: The New York Public Library, The Library of Congress, New York Historical Society, and the Latino Commission on AIDS

This website was made possible thanks to the generous support and partnership of Photowings