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Howard P. Milstein

Howard P. Milstein

Leading the third generation of an extraordinary New York family, Howard Milstein carries on a legacy of vast philanthropic generosity and civic leadership.

Charting a distinctive path with strategic giving to advance medical research and health care delivery, Howard has been actively involved in bringing about cutting-edge scientific and clinical breakthroughs benefiting patients in New York and around the world.

Since 2003 he has served as chairman of American Skin Association, sharpening the organization’s focus on melanoma and other cancers. Annually he funds the Milstein Research Scholar Awards and the Milstein Innovation Awards to advance innovation in skin research.

Howard has been on the board of Weill Cornell Medical College for almost 30 years and has helped 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, such as tuberculosis and malaria. As part of a groundbreaking Tri-Institutional Initiative, he established the Abby and Howard P. Milstein Program in Medicinal Chemistry at Weill Cornell Medical College. Earlier, he enabled the Howard P. Milstein Computational Biomedicine Programmatic Core. His latest venture in health-related research is regenerative medicine.

Howard is former chairman of New York Blood Center, providing decades of visionary stewardship. 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, as well as materials for important scientific research. Howard also drove creation of the first FDA approved stem cell therapy, HEMACORD®, which uses cord blood stem cells to treat certain disorders of the hematopoietic, or blood forming, system.

In 2007, Howard and his family created a major new research initiative at The Rockefeller University to improve diagnosis and treatment of melanoma. As former Chair of the Jones Foundation for Reproductive Medicine, he has also channeled important resources to reproductive health research. In service of his international vision, through the Milstein Medical Asian American Partnership Foundation, he 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, translational medicine, reproductive medicine, and hematology. In recognition of these efforts, Howard recently received China’s prestigious Marco Polo Award, the highest honor a non-citizen can achieve.


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.