Michael Milken - Philanthropist, Financier, Medical Research Innovator, Public Health Advocate  

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Public Health Conference 2014

Mike joins CDC Director Tom Frieden to reaffirm America's commitment to public health
Celebration of Science 2012

Mike launches initiative to support bioscience
Lake Tahoe Innovation Retreat 2011

Harnessing innovation to accelerate medical research and improve public health
The March 1998

Mike led The MARCH in Washington to raise funding for cancer research
Supporting public health since 1982

The Milken Family Foundation has funded medical research for more than three decades
Defeating Disease

Public health efforts have helped stem or eliminate diseases from smallpox to polio and AIDS
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Timeline of Mike Milken and Public Health

1950s – Growing up in Southern California, Mike takes a special interest in the public health scare caused by the polio epidemic. His father's lifelong limp is a daily reminder of an earlier polio infection. At age 10, Mike gets his first taste of community service, bicycling around his Encino neighborhood collecting change for the United Way (then called the Community Chest) to support medical research and public health programs.

Early 1960s – Mike continues his community service throughout high school and receives the Junior Chamber of Commerce award for community service and academic achievement as well as a special award from Birmingham High School for breaking the school's record for community service.

1972 – Mike's mother-in-law is diagnosed with breast cancer.  He begins a modest program of personal philanthropy supporting cancer organizations.

1976 – Mike's father is diagnosed with inoperable malignant melanoma. Mike cuts back on his work schedule to take his father around the country to leading cancer centers in search of a cure. He learns that melanoma is not just a medical riddle, but also a public health problem that can be ameliorated by educating people about risks.

1982 – Along with his brother Lowell, Mike establishes the Milken Family Foundation to formalize earlier philanthropy in support of education and health. Over the next several years, Mike endows a chair at the Harvard Medical School/Dana Farber Cancer Center, is the primary benefactor of the Venice (Calif.) Family Clinic, and gives time and resources to a wide range of medical causes.  The Foundation provides grants to many young cancer researchers who would go on to make breakthrough discoveries and eventually hold leadership roles in the scientific and medical research community, including Dennis Slamon, Steven Rosenberg, Bert Vogelstein, Owen Witte, Lawrence Einhorn, Philip Leder, Charles Myers, and many more.

1993 – Mike establishes CaP Cure and raises awareness of the value of public health through measures including good nutrition, sensible exercise and preventive screenings.

1994 – Increasing his focus on nutrition, Mike tells a scientific retreat that prevention is as important as research aimed at disease cures because it's best to prevent a disease in the first place.  He later funds nutrition research at UCLA as well as in New York and San Francisco.

1995 – Mike organizes the first Cancer Summit in Washington and delivers a keynote outlining
10 goals that span medical research as well as public health and prevention.

1996 – During a CNN interview, Larry King suggests that Mike and fellow guests, including General Norman Schwarzkopf, should "march on Washington." Schwarzkopf agrees to co-chair a march that would take place two years later.

1996 – After urging by Mike and Intel Chairman Andy Grove, President Clinton signs an executive order to fast-track oncology drugs and Congress passes legislation establishing cancer research programs within the Defense Department.

1997 – Mike calls on Members of Congress to advocate greater health funding for agencies involved in medical research, science and public health.

1998 – The March on Washington brings hundreds of thousands from 600 organizations and medical centers to the National Mall and dozens of other sites around the country to demand greater funding for health agencies.  Mike meets with VP Gore and many Members of Congress. Later, Congress nearly doubles the NIH budget (including NCI) and triples budgets of the NSF and CDC.  Programs supported by this funding are now paying off in significant breakthroughs and lowered death rates for many diseases.  Mike also publishes the first of two cookbooks designed to encourage healthy eating.

1999 – The Milken Institute Global Conference includes a series of panels on medical research, public health and global health that would become a regular feature of this annual event.

2001 – Mike tells a TED Conference audience that we need greater dedication to bioscience and prevention; he says he will create a new organization in Washington, DC to accelerate science.

2003 – FasterCures established in Washington as a center of the Milken Institute dedicated to accelerating medical solutions. Over the following decade, it routinely convenes what one pharma CEO calls "the board of directors of the bioscience revolution," including disease- specific organizations; philanthropists; executives of pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical-device manufacturers; academic medical centers; venture capitalists; government agencies; and members of Congress.

2004 – Fortune magazine calls Mike "The Man Who Changed Medicine." The Milken Institute Review publishes first of 22 articles on the economics of public health issues, medical research and healthcare.

2007 – A widely noted Milken Institute research report, "An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease," estimates that obesity costs the U.S. more than $1 trillion a year. In the years following that seminal report, several more Institute reports deal with prevention and wellness issues, aging and American leadership in biomedicine – including a 2014 follow-up to "An Unhealthy America."

2010 – A multimedia report synthesizes several Milken Institute reports and hundreds of Mike's speeches on the role of research and prevention.

2011 – Mike hosts the Lake Tahoe Retreat to accelerate bioscience. One strategy emerging from this event is to advocate a new entity within the NIH to transform the translational science process.  Mike later meets with leaders of both political parties in Congress to explain why this is a cost-effective and potentially life-saving concept. The following year, a bipartisan coalition in Congress passes legislation establishing the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).  President Obama signs the bill.

2012 – Mike hosts the Celebration of Science in Washington on the campus of George Washington University and at the headquarters campus of the NIH.  Senior members of Congress from both parties and members of the Administration join more than 1,000 leaders in bioscience, medicine, public health, industry and philanthropy to reaffirm the importance of bioscience as a way to change the world for future generations. An op-ed article by Mike in the Wall Street Journal reinforces this commitment.

2013 – Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, joins Mike at the Milken Institute Global Conference and at Partnering for Cures to raise awareness of public health issues. Meanwhile, several years of increasingly close collaboration between the Milken Institute and George Washington University (GW) and its School of Public Health leads to planning for a formalized alliance.  Mike and Frieden appear jointly on a panel at GW.

2014 – The Milken Institute and the CDC Foundation co-sponsor the first  Public Health Conference at the CDC headquarters in Atlanta.  Members of Congress, industry leaders, foundation heads, major philanthropists, leading scientists and university presidents join to reaffirm America's commitment to public health.

2014 – The Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University is established following an $80 million gift to GW from the Milken Institute, the Sumner M. Redstone Charitable Foundation and the Milken Family Foundation. The gift also establishes the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness within the school. Mike joins Redstone for an interview with Charlie Rose about the transformative gifts.

2014 – Mike collaborates with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on strategies to deal with the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa. This effort helps assure the uninterrupted flow of healthcare professionals and medical supplies to the affected areas.