Chronic diseases like diabetes and dementia, resulting from poverty or harmful activities such as smoking, are among the planet's biggest health burdens. But these and many other global health concerns won't be solved by researchers in labs. Gains in public health require an entire ecosystem of solutions involving policy, research and science, business and economics, media and communications.
An enormous amount of money doesn't hurt, either.
The Milken Institute's Center for Public Health recently received a $25 million booster shot from business barons Lynda and Stewart Resnick, longtime friends of the institute. In recognition, the Washington, D.C.-based CPH has been renamed the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Center for Public Health.
Milken said the Resnick Foundation grant will enable them to "greatly expand and accelerate the Institute's public health programs in the United States and other nations."
According to Milken, the CPH is a "global clearinghouse for best practices among more than 100 schools and programs in public health; a driver of actionable public health information; a center for rigorous research; and a convener of individuals and institutions.... Recognizing the crucial role of prevention in reducing healthcare costs, the Center brings together the government, academic and nonprofit sectors with consumer products companies, retailers, manufacturers, other large employers, health insurers and the media to focus on public health issues such as smoking and obesity."
While notable for its size, the new gift is hardly the Resnicks' first contact with health-focused philanthropy—Lynda has been on the board of UCLA Medical Sciences and the Milken-founded Prostate Cancer Foundation.
Arts and education are leading areas of focus for the couple, along with health. But Lynda has a longtime grasp of the relationships between the many factors of community wealth, lifestyle, education and public health. She's headed philanthropic initiatives to boost community vibrancy and strengthen K-12 education in California's Central Valley, where employees of the Resnicks' several agriculture-based companies live.
Lynda is widely considered a marketing visionary, who turned businesses like Teleflora, Franklin Mint commemorative plates and Pom Wonderful fruit juice into successful, nationally known brands. With their name now attached to the Milken Center for Public Health, the Resnicks have another brand in their portfolio.