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Howard P. Milstein

Howard P. Milstein

In the third generation of an extraordinary New York family, Howard Milstein is carrying on a legacy of vast philanthropic generosity and civic leadership. He is also charting a distinctive path with strategic giving to advance medical research and health care delivery. The result has been leading edge, important scientific and clinical breakthroughs, benefiting patients in New York and around the world.

Over the past five decades, the Milstein family's philanthropy has left an indelible imprint on many of New York City's, and the nation's most prominent civic, educational, cultural, and medical institutions - including the New York Public Library, American Museum of Natural History, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College. Central to the initiatives Howard Milstein leads are the objectives of improving global health, national security, learning and economic prosperity. He is particularly active in the fields of medical research and healthcare delivery and also dedicates time and significant support to higher education, disaster relief, the arts, communal giving and law enforcement and counterterrorism programs.

In the field of medical research and healthcare, Howard's priorities and long-time commitments include the challenges of cancer, a safe and ample blood supply, skin conditions, infectious disease, and reproductive health - as well as improvements in the health care system itself.

As Chairman of American Skin Association since 2003, Howard has sharpened the organization's focus on melanoma and other cancers. There, he funds the Milstein Research Scholar Awards to advance innovation in skin research.

Howard has served as Chairman of New York Blood Center (NYBC) for close to twenty five years. NYBC is one of the largest blood collection, distribution and research organizations in the world, Howard has provided visionary and results-oriented stewardship for decades. Convinced by the potential of umbilical cord blood, which can be used to treat a wide range of diseases, Howard launched the center's National Cord Blood Program in 1992, creating the first and largest public cord blood bank in the world. To date, more than 60,000 of its cord blood units have been banked, providing cures to approximately 5,000 people with life-threatening diseases, and research materials for scientific research. Howard's deep engagement also helped create the 1st FDA approved stem cell therapy.

On the board of Weill Cornell Medical College for almost 30 years, Howard is helping to spur progress in some of the most complex areas of science and biotechnology. Top researchers at the medical school's Abby and Howard Milstein Core Facility and Program in Translational Medicine and Chemical Biology are seeking cures for antibiotic-resistant infections and lethal infectious diseases like tuberculosis and malaria. He also recently established the Abby and Howard P. Milstein Program in Medicinal Chemistry at Weill Cornell Medical College as part of a ground breaking Tri-Institutional Initiative. Earlier, he enabled the Howard P. Milstein Computational Biomedicine Programmatic Core. His latest venture in health-related research is regenerative medicine.

In 2007, Howard and his family created a major new melanoma research initiative at The Rockefeller University in order to improve diagnosis and treatment. He has also channeled important resources to reproductive health research, as Chair of the Howard and Georgeanna Jones Foundation for Reproductive Health.

In 2011, the Milstein Medical Asian American Partnership Foundation (MMAAP Foundation) was created by Howard and Abby Milstein and the Paul Milstein Family to contribute to world health by developing mutually beneficial partnerships between the United States and China, as well as greater Asia. Howard conceived of the MMAAP Foundation after meeting with the Chinese Ministry of Health to facilitate interactions between his medical philanthropic interests in the United States and leading Chinese efforts in clinical care and research. In service of the Foundation, Howard funds fellowships and project awards that bring together top medical talent in the United States and Asia to make scientific progress in fields including geriatrics, dermatology, hematology, translational medicine, and reproductive medicine.

In May 2015, Howard was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

In October, 2016, the China Association for International Exchange of Personnel presented Howard with the prestigious Marco Polo Award, the highest honor given to a non-Chinese citizen.

Other honors include recognition by New York Blood Center (NYBC) as the first individual inductee to NYBC's Hall of Fame in November 2015 and by the United Hospital Fund with the Health Care Leadership Award in October 2015. In April, 2014, Howard received the Insignia of Chevalier in France's Legion of Honor. In addition, Howard was recognized with the Community Builder Award from Phipps Houses, Humanitarian Award from the American Skin Association, JASA Man of the Year Award, Make a Wish Foundation Award, ORT Community Builder Award, Tanenbaum Center Corporate Bridge Builder Award, awards from the Jewish National Fund and B'nai B'rith Youth Services, the Catholic Youth Organization Gold Medal Award, Emerald Isle Immigration Society Robert Briscoe Award, Federal Law Enforcement Foundation Humanitarian Award, and Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award. In March 2012, Howard was sworn in as an honorary FDNY Battalion Chief, in recognition of his significant support for the Fire Department and the people of New York.


The Milstein family launched a major grant supporting the work of Dr. Steven Rosenberg, Chief of Surgery at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Rosenberg, a clinician and a researcher with a degree in biophysics from Harvard, worked on new approaches for treating cancer based on the body's immune system. Based on the research we funded with Dr. Rosenberg, we can now cure 60% of all melanomas, an increase from 0% in 2002, when this effort started.
The Milstein Medical Research Program at The Rockefeller University is launched, led by Dr. James Krueger.  Dr. Krueger's early work led to a revolution in the treatment of psoriasis.  He found that T-cells, rather than an aberration of the immune system, were a triggering mechanism for psoriasis. Dr. Krueger and his team turned to using advanced genetic methods and imaging techniques to learn how "melanocyte" skin cells become malignant.
American Skin Association (ASA) announced the Abby S. and Howard P. Milstein Innovation Award for Melanoma/Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Research. The $2.25 million funding gift encourages research at the highest levels into the causes of melanoma and skin cancer.  Abby S. and Howard P. Milstein Innovation Award candidates are established leaders in the fields of cutaneous oncology and dermatology, who must spend at least 80% of their professional time in research and must be focused on new discoveries in the basic and clinical sciences.   Founder and former president of ASA, George W. Hambrick, Jr., MD, said, "They get very few grants on melanoma at institutions.  There's been no uniform foundation to go after melanoma as a specific killer . . . [Howard P. Milstein] has a vision of curing melanoma. And he's probably going to live long enough to see that come about."   
To heighten awareness of the vital role of skin in human health as well as provide information on preventing skin diseases, Howard and Abby Milstein provided seed money for the Skin History Project at the Smithsonian Institution, where Mr. Milstein served on the National Board.  The Smithsonian Institution viewed this project as a way to get the public enthused about the basic science and biology of skin, raise awareness about health, and teach history.
Howard and Abby Milstein receive the 2010 Humanitarian Award from ASA.  Founder and former president George W. Hambrick, Jr., MD presented the award, ASA's highest honor, and recognized the Milsteins' unparalleled leadership in the fight against melanoma and their indelible contributions to the advancement of research.  The occasion also recognized Mr. Milstein's role as Chairman of the Board since 2002.  
ASA honored leading physician, scientist, and journalist.  Chairman Howard P. Milstein introduced journalist Deborah Norville:  "With her many contributions as a communicator and educator, Deborah Norville is a perfect fit for our Education Award.  Her work is very relevant to ASA's efforts to inform and engage young people with a message about skin health and sun safety." Click to view.
ASA's Milstein Research Scholar Award in Melanoma/Non-melanoma Skin Cancer was awarded to Dr. Raymond Cho for his project titled Dissecting the Temporal Mutational Evolution of Non-melanoma Skin Cancers Using Whole-Genome Sequencing. ASA also announced the funding of 13 other critical research grants for 2012.  
ASA's Board of Directors presented Chairman Howard P. Milstein with the Visionary Leadership Award at the 25th Anniversary Gala.  "Mr. Milstein has brought remarkable growth to the organization, increased its assets and sharpened its focus on cancer and melanoma.  As such, he is in the vanguard of those who are working to combat the deadly effects of climate change on the skin." 

Howard P. Milstein said, "American Skin Association has been a leading force in championing skin health and funding innovative research to defeat melanoma and other skin diseases.  We have supported the vision and drive of 172 outstanding young scientists.  Millions of children, teachers and parents in the country benefited from our education program, which promotes skin health and sun safety.  As we celebrate 25 years of remarkable accomplishments and honor those who have shared our missions, we offer the deepest gratitude to our generous donors and supporters and look forward to continuing our impactful work for the future."  
The 2014 Milstein Medical Asian American Partnership Foundation announced Fellowship and Translational Project Awards in Skin Disease.  The Fellowship Award in Skin Disease is to support one year of training at a prominent sponsor institution in the U.S. for a Chinese scholar in dermatology and the Research Project Award in Skin Disease is to support one such project with potential for immediate impact on improving skin health in China.  
ASA honored three outstanding individuals for their contributions to research and education, including philanthropist and pharmaceutical icon Charlie Stiefel, Chairman of Brickell Biotech, Inc., actor Hugh Jackman for his significant contributions in raising public awareness of the importance of sun safety and skin health, and the Leadership in Melanoma Research Award was presented to Dr. Meenhard Herlyn, Director of the Wistar Institute, Melanoma Research Center, in Philadelphia, PA. Chairman Howard P. Milstein said, ". . . We celebrate another very successful year of continuing to fulfill our vital mission by funding research, educating future generations on skin health and furthering the goal of defeating melanoma, skin cancer and other skin diseases."  
ASA and Chairman Howard P. Milstein announced funding from the Paul and Irma Milstein Family Foundation to support development of automated melanoma detection for skin cancer screening.  Researchers at The Rockefeller University are developing an automated technology that combines imaging with digital analysis and machine learning to help physicians detect melanoma at its early stages.  The work is supported by ASA, the Paul and Irma Milstein Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health.  
ASA's 30th Anniversary Gala celebrated three exceptional honorees.  The annual gala funds critical medical research to fight melanoma, skin cancer and other skin diseases, and education programs that promote skin health. Chairman Howard P. Milstein said, "We are pleased to honor Dr. Pearl Grimes, Dr. David Pyott, and Dr. Martin McMahon for their outstanding dedication to the field of dermatology and commitment to medical advancements.  Whether through education, research or innovation, their contributions help to further our important mission of defeating melanoma, skin cancer and other skin diseases." Click to view.

ASA's Milstein Research Scholar Award in Melanoma/Non-melanoma Skin Cancer was awarded to Dr. Willy Hugo from UCLA Dermatology/Medicine.  Mr. Milstein said, "The doctors and medical students awarded these grants bring hope to the millions suffering from devastating skin cancers and diseases.  ASA vows to continue our efforts so that our vital work can continue." In addition to Dr. Hugo's award, ASA announced the funding of 17 other critical research grants for 2017.