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.
2014 – Mike and Lori presented with the 2014 Dr. Armand Hammer Philanthropy Award at the STOP CANCER Annual Gala for four decades of initiatives in medical research and public health.
2016 – PCF funds a $50 million Veterans Administration partnership to establish 18 Centers of Excellence that ensure that all veterans receive the best-quality prostate cancer care and that the VA’s immense database can be leveraged to accelerate medical research.
2016 – A two-year effort by Mike, FasterCures and PCF helps achieve passage of the bi-partisan 21st Century Cures Act, designed to boost funding for medical research, ease the development and approval of experimental treatments, and reform federal policy on mental health care.
2016 – At the first Milken Institute Public Health Summit in Washington, D.C., Mike was joined by NIH Director Francis Collins, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, and CDC Director Tom Frieden. In 2017, the event was rebranded as the Future of Health Summit.
2016 – Mike, Lori and the Institute host a Giving Pledge Learning Session at UCLA titled, “Maximizing Medical Research and Public Health Philanthropy to Save, Extend and Improve Lives.” The two-day retreat was attended by more than 75 Giving Pledge members and included a series of discussions and tours of UCLA’s state-of-the-art VR Surgery Training program, its Simulation Center and the Brain Mapping Center.
2018 – The Institute kicked off its first Conservation Philanthropy Retreat with a focus on a range of issues related to conservation and a goal of driving collaboration to accelerate positive change. Among the leaders of the retreat were the legendary Jane Goodall and Brian Sheth, president of Vista Equity Partners and founder of the Sheth Sangreal Foundation.
2020 – Mike and the PCF team launched PCF South Africa, a new initiative to fund medical research in South Africa and ensure that the best quality care is available. PCF’s participation was part of the Institute’s first South Africa Summit in partnership with the Motsepe Foundation.
2020 – Under Mike’s direction, all 10 centers of the Milken Institute turned their focus to providing information and collaborating on a response to the Covid-19 virus. Among other actions, the Institute established a Covid-19 Treatment and Vaccine Tracker that monitored hundreds of potential treatments and vaccines, and Mike launched a daily podcast, “Responding to Covid-19: Conversations with Mike Milken.”
2020 – Despite the cancellation of the 2020 baseball season, PCF celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Home Run Challenge with a digital campaign during the month of June.