Every school of public health aspires to be named after a public health hero or generous benefactor. At the Bloomberg School, we are fortunate to carry the name of someone who is both, Michael R. Bloomberg. Now, to mark our Centennial, Mike has once more demonstrated his commitment to our School and to public health by making an incredibly generous gift of $300 million through the Bloomberg Philanthropies. This magnificent act of philanthropy will ensure that our School will have even more impact in our second century than in our first.
This remarkable gift creates the Bloomberg American Health Initiative and enables us to address some of the most important health issues facing communities in the U.S.:
- Addiction and overdose
- Risks to adolescent health
- Environmental challenges
- Obesity and the food system
The Bloomberg School is already very active in each of these focus areas, but this new, transformational gift will take our work to new levels. The Bloomberg gift provides 25 endowed professorships to support existing faculty leaders and recruit new ones. (This will almost double our current number of endowed professorships.) It will provide sustained funding for research in the five focus areas to ensure important contributions now and into the future. Scholarships will also be available for Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) students.
In addition, BAHI will break new ground by creating a network of students, partner organizations and alumni. Endowed funds from the gift will support 50 new full scholarships each year to support Bloomberg Fellows in our Master of Public Health (MPH) program. Following graduation, the Bloomberg Fellows will work for the partner organizations that nominated them, committing to at least a year of service in one of the initiative’s focus areas. Along with top-tier students and faculty, the initiative will connect community organizations, the private sector and public agencies to meet our ambitious goals. Working with policymakers, we will improve health in America’s communities.
This focus on the health of American communities does not in any way mean a lessening of our strong and continuing commitment to health around the world. We have always been an international school and, in fact, we continue advancing our work globally to meet the ever-growing public health challenges. Over the years, we’ve received significant support to pursue programs and research in low- and middle-income countries from the Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and many other organizations and individuals. While Mike’s most recent gift represents an important opportunity to amplify the School’s domestic focus in ways never before contemplated, seeking support for our international work remains a priority.
This incredible gift launches the next century for the number one school of public health. With it comes a humbling responsibility. Yet I’m also thrilled by the exciting opportunity and challenges it creates. I can’t wait to start moving this initiative forward with all of you. Your ongoing engagement, support and expertise are essential to achieving our ambitious goals.
With Mike Bloomberg’s help and yours, I have no doubt we will continue to succeed in our mission to protect health and save lives—millions at a time—here in America and all over the world.
Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH ’87