Michael R. Bloomberg, WHO Global Ambassador for noncommunicable diseases and three-term New York City mayor, is giving $300 million to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to address critical issues affecting American health.
The gift, from Bloomberg Philanthropies, will create the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at the School.
"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,” Bloomberg said.
The gift finances an ambitious effort to specifically target addiction and overdose; obesity and the food system; violence; risks to adolescent health; and environmental challenges. BAHI has “a broad goal of improving America’s mediocre world ranking for life expectancy,” according to an exclusive story published online this morning in The Wall Street Journal (paywall). The U.S. ranks 31st globally in life expectancy, with Americans born in 2015 living an average of 79.3 years, according to the WHO. Trailing well behind Japan, which boasts life expectancy at 83.7 years, the U.S. falls just below Costa Rica and just above Cuba.
“We are a global school. We work around the world. But we have always worked in our local community, in Maryland, and across the U.S.,” says Bloomberg School Dean Michael J. Klag. “The value of this gift is that it will allow us to focus more on domestic problems. Much more.”
The gift, which comes during the Bloomberg School’s Centennial year, provides for:
- A $100 million endowment to fund 50 Bloomberg Fellows each year, nominated from organizations nationwide. The fellows will earn their Master of Public Health degrees and commit to returning to work for their nominating organizations 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 funding faculty and their research within the five focus areas and jumpstarting immediate research needs.
- $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.
“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 gift is a legacy of the enlightened work that Bloomberg did as mayor in New York, Klag says, adding “He knows the power of public health.”
Bloomberg has long been committed to spreading evidence-based public health strategies that save lives and bringing people together to try new approaches. “There’s no institution better equipped to lead the charge than Johns Hopkins,” he says, “and it's an honor to be able to help launch the school's next 100 years with this gift."