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Public Health

Ensuring safer, longer, healthier lives through proven strategies

Every year, millions of people around the world die from preventable causes – including tobacco use, road crashes, lack of access to reproductive health and emergency care, and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). We must do more to prevent these deaths – and much of the time, we know what’s needed.

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Health program focuses on work in cities and low- and middle-income countries to help save millions of lives by spreading solutions that have been proven to work. In each of these public health initiatives, Bloomberg Philanthropies forms partnerships with some of the world’s leading organizations to spread effective strategies and analyze data to further improve results. In addition, Mike Bloomberg serves as the World Health Organization’s Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases. In this role, he works to draw attention to and rally efforts to address the growing burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) — chronic, noninfectious health conditions like cancer, asthma, and diabetes.

The Public Health program has also launched major efforts to take on the COVID-19 pandemic, including pivoting a number of existing initiatives to tackle the crisis.

Recent News

Reducing Tobacco Use

Tobacco use is the world’s leading cause of preventable death – and left unchecked, it could kill more than one billion people this century, most of them in low- and middle-income countries. But there are proven measures we can take to reduce smoking and help those who want to quit. Over the past decade, Bloomberg Philanthropies has invested $1 billion to fight tobacco use, working with a global network of partners to prevent tobacco-related illnesses and save lives.

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Students attend No Smoking activity to recognize World No Tobacco Day in the Yuquan district of China. Photo credit: AP Images

Promoting Healthy Food Choices

For the first time in history, being overweight is linked to more deaths than being underweight – an avoidable tragedy that also places stress on national health care systems and economies. The Food Policy Program is addressing this issue by raising public awareness of the problem and supporting policies to promote healthier diets.

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Billboards in Mexico highlighting the health risks of sugary beverages as part of an obesity prevention campaign led by local partners.
Billboards in Mexico highlighting the health risks of sugary beverages as part of an obesity prevention campaign led by local partners.

Increasing Access to Reproductive Health Care

Almost 300,000 women die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth every year, and for every maternal death at least another 20 women suffer from injury or illness, often with lifelong consequences. The vast majority of these deaths and injuries are preventable – yet pregnant women around the world continue to suffer because they do not have access to emergency obstetric care. Bloomberg Philanthropies works to address these needs by providing access to quality reproductive health services, and advocating for the provision of these services in the countries where we work.

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"Women in a Bloomberg Philanthropies supported health center’s maternity ward in Tanzania. "
Women in a Bloomberg Philanthropies supported health center’s maternity ward in Tanzania.

Preventing Drowning

Each year, more than 236,000 people drown. The majority are under 30, with children under four at the highest risk. So many of these deaths – and the heartbreak they cause – can be prevented. Bloomberg Philanthropies is working in some of the countries where drowning takes the heaviest toll, and helping ensure that effective strategies are spread globally.

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Children in Matlab, Bangladesh walk to their new community daycare centers, part of a Bloomberg supported Johns Hopkins University study to prevent drownings.
Children in Matlab, Bangladesh walk to their new community daycare centers, part of a Bloomberg supported Johns Hopkins University study to prevent drownings.

Building Public Health Coalitions

Partnerships are a key part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ approach in every area. Mike Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies help to lead a number of global groups that are working to spread effective strategies to improve health, advocate for smart policies, and reduce preventable deaths.

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The city of São Paulo, a member of the Partnership for Healthy Cities, evaluates the effectiveness of communication campaigns encouraging the use of helmets.
The city of São Paulo, a member of the Partnership for Healthy Cities, evaluates the effectiveness of communication campaigns encouraging the use of helmets.

Strengthening Health Data

Today, approximately half of all deaths in the world go unrecorded; accordingly, health policy decisions are often based on inadequate information. Data for Health, co-funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Australian government, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, partners with low- and middle-income countries to improve public health data and use of data for policymaking.

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Bangladesh family participates in Data for Health program, recording birth and death information with local officials to find out how best to allocate resources and find solutions to improve and save lives.
Bangladesh family registers birth of their child with support from Data for Health initiative.

Improving Road Safety

Each year road crashes kill nearly 1.35 million people and injure tens of millions more. But combating road traffic injuries – the eighth leading cause of death globally and the number one cause of death among people ages 5-29 – has not gotten the attention it should. The Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety works in low- and middle-income countries and large cities that have a high burden of road-related fatalities to implement proven safety measures and advocate for stronger policies.

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A busy intersection in Mumbai, India was redesigned with colorful barriers and crosswalks making pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers safer. Photo credit: WRI India
A busy intersection in Mumbai, India was redesigned with colorful barriers and crosswalks making pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers safer. Photo credit: WRI India

Combating the Opioid Epidemic

In 2019, there were more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths. Of these deaths, almost 50,000 involved opioids – more than guns or car crashes. Bloomberg Philanthropies is addressing this urgent public health epidemic and saving lives by supporting high-impact, state-based interventions that can be replicated around the country.

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Mike Bloomberg joins Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in Eastpointe, Michigan to announce the Bloomberg Opioid Prevention Network.
Mike Bloomberg joins Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in Eastpointe, Michigan to announce the Bloomberg Opioid Prevention Network.

Promoting Cardiovascular Health

More than 18 million people die each year from cardiovascular disease – making it the world’s number one cause of death – despite the availability of effective, inexpensive, and safe prevention and treatment. By addressing the leading causes of cardiovascular disease, the Resolve to Save Lives initiative aims to help prevent 100 million deaths over the next 30 years.

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Bloomberg Philanthropies is tackling cardiovascular disease to help prevent as many deaths as possible, with a focus on low- and middle-income countries where the majority of deaths occur. Photo credit: Shutterstock
Bloomberg Philanthropies is tackling cardiovascular disease to help prevent as many deaths as possible, with a focus on low- and middle-income countries where the majority of deaths occur. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Eradicating Polio

Polio once cast a terrifying specter over most of the world. Now, wild polio seen in just two countries — Pakistan and Afghanistan — and is on the verge of being eradicated completely. Since 2013 Bloomberg Philanthropies has supported the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to finally rid the world of polio once and for all.

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A health worker administers polio vaccine to children during a three-day countrywide vaccination campaign in Peshawar, Pakistan.
A health worker administers polio vaccine to children during a three-day countrywide vaccination campaign in Peshawar, Pakistan. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Supporting the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

The Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, founded in 1916, was the first independent graduate school of public health – and over the past century the school has helped lead the way to breakthroughs that have saved millions of lives. In 2001, the school was renamed the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in recognition of Mike Bloomberg’s financial support and commitment to the field of public health – helping to pave the way for another century of innovation and progress.

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Medical professionals in Macha, Zambia conduct testing centers for locals as part of the innovative and impactful research currently underway by the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute.
Medical professionals in Macha, Zambia conduct testing centers for locals as part of the innovative and impactful research currently underway by the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute.

Top photo: The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Malaria Research Institute, founded in 2001 with a gift from Mike Bloomberg, is committed to innovation in understanding, controlling, treating, and preventing this deadly disease.