Michael Bloomberg Donates $300 Million to Johns Hopkins to Support Public Health

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The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health announced that Bloomberg Philanthropies, founded by businessman, philanthropist, World Health Organization Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases, and three-term mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg, will give $300 million to create the Bloomberg American Health Initiative.

Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the school, the gift sets the school and its partners on a path to transform our national approach to modern public health challenges, according to a press release from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

“Michael Bloomberg’s commitment to this transformational initiative is testament to his vision that, as our nation’s public health challenges have evolved, so too must our model of public health,” says Ronald J. Daniels, president of the Johns Hopkins University. “The Bloomberg American Health Initiative builds on Michael’s visionary legacy at Johns Hopkins and sets the bar ever higher in the next 100 years to transform our national response to modern public health challenges and bend the trajectory of the lives of individuals and communities across the United States.”

“People are living longer lives than ever before in history, thanks in no small part to the pioneering public health work done at Johns Hopkins over the last century. But we can and must do better, starting here in the U.S., where life expectancy is lagging behind much of the developed world,” says Bloomberg. “By spreading smart public health strategies that save lives and bringing people together to try new approaches, we can make the same strides in the 21st century against health threats like air pollution, gun violence, and obesity that we did in the 20th century against polio and other infectious diseases. There’s no institution better equipped to lead the charge than Johns Hopkins, and it’s an honor to be able to help launch the school’s next 100 years with this gift.”

The gift focuses on five areas affecting public health — drug addiction, obesity, gun violence, adolescent health, and environmental threats. It provides for:

  • A $100 million endowment to fund 50 public health fellows each year, nominated from organizations located around the nation, to receive their Master of Public Health degrees and be committed to returning to their communities to work in the practice of public health for at least one year. This arrangement will create a public health triangle of collaboration between the master’s student, the home community, and the school. The initiative funds their education, training, and living expenses while in the program. By its 10th year, the program will have a network of more than 400 fellows.
  • A $125 million endowment is intended to fund faculty and their research within the five focus areas outlined above, as well as jump start immediate research needs. This network of 25 faculty members will extend well beyond the Bloomberg School of Public Health, including 10 of the funded faculty members receiving joint appointments in other schools at Johns Hopkins and 12 receiving joint appointments that span more than one department at the Bloomberg School. Further, the Bloomberg American Health Initiative will generate catalytic research outcomes with the potential to spur additional funding from other organizations, foundations, or philanthropists.
  • $75 million to establish scholarships for Johns Hopkins University’s new school-wide Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program and support a biennial public health summit that will bring together Bloomberg fellows, faculty, and partnering organizations to share findings from research and practice to solve major health issues. DrPH candidates play a critical role in practical implementation and evaluation of public health programs at the local and national level.

“We are deeply grateful to Michael Bloomberg for this incredibly generous gift that launches our next century,” says Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH ’87, dean of the Bloomberg School. “It will have an impact on the school that bears his name and on public health in the United States for generations to come. The Bloomberg American Health Initiative will build a broad network of innovative experts in all parts of the country committed to protecting health and saving lives, millions at a time.”

With this new commitment, Bloomberg — chairman of the university’s board of trustees from 1996 to 2002 and previously chair of the Johns Hopkins Initiative fundraising campaign — has now given Johns Hopkins $1.5 billion in the 52 years since he graduated. Bloomberg is believed to be the first person ever to reach this level of giving to a single U.S. institution of higher education. His first Johns Hopkins gift was $5 in 1965, a year after he received his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the university. His support has benefitted students and faculty throughout the university. Most notable are the Bloomberg Distinguished Professors, appointed across two or more schools to ensure collaboration at the highest levels, and the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center, a 12-story, 560,000-square-foot tower at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, which opened in 2012.

Bloomberg’s generosity has had an extraordinary impact on Johns Hopkins in every way – in terms of facilities and infrastructure, research and academic achievement, student body quality, and diversity. Applications for undergraduate admissions at the university’s Homewood campus have nearly tripled since 2001, and selectivity has increased from a 34% admittance rate to 12%. In the same period, the number of underrepresented minority members in the freshman class has increased from fewer than seven percent to 23%. The university’s Bloomberg School of Public Health and School of Nursing (master’s degree programs) are each top-ranked in the U.S. News & World Report “best graduate schools” rankings, the School of Medicine is third, and the university has been ranked for two straight years in the top 10 of national universities in U.S. News’ “best college” rankings.

The Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health was founded in 1916, making it the first independent graduate school of public health. In 2001, the school was renamed for Bloomberg in recognition of his financial support and commitment to the field of public health. Throughout 2016, the school has been celebrating its Centennial year.

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