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Power of Public Health Philanthropy

Board Chair Sees Public Health as a Powerful Lever To Change the World

Taking a break from cleaning up the destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Ian in October, 2022, Bloomberg School Health Advisory Board Chair Stephen G. Moore, MD, MPH ’93, was struck by two things—the vast amount of wreckage that was piled everywhere in his community, and that he was not alone.

Post-Hurricane Ian destruction in southwest Florida neighborhood in October 2022

From inside Moore's car, looking at post-Hurricane Ian destruction in his southwest Florida neighborhood (October 2022)

In fact, amidst a scene of almost surreal destruction, he and his neighbors were seeing a steady stream of state and local workers, community helpers, even people from other states and cities, literally everyone pulling together to rebuild his and others' neighborhoods. 

“I’m naturally a bit of a cynic,” he continued, “but this situation reminds me that when we use a public health approach—when we come together as a community to solve a problem—we can leverage individual effort to move mountains, even piles of debris like this.”

When asked to reflect on his eight years as chair, he shared how he repeatedly witnessed the way public health model can leverage science and practice to improve peoples’ lives around the world.

  1. What are some highlights of your board involvement?

The School’s faculty and staff inspire me every day. They are deeply committed to educating leaders in all aspects of public health—from practice in the field and research at the lab bench to policy implementation and advocacy. Their drive for knowledge in the pursuit of improving peoples’ health is formidable. I’m also constantly impressed by my fellow board members’ accomplishments. They are wholeheartedly devoted to their volunteer work and to driving change in their communities. Seasoned in this way, new board members show up on day one ready to support the School’s work, bringing their unique skillsets to help the School take on big challenges.

  1. How does the board best serve the School?

The board’s primary role is to advise the dean and her leadership team. As such, we try to ensure our members have a variety of personal and professional expertise, and not just in public health. We have folks with backgrounds in communications, finance, hospital and healthcare services, and non-profit leadership, to name a few. That way, when the dean needs to consider an issue or address a need, she has “go-to” experts who are ready and willing to talk through issues—and they are just a phone call away. Having a deep bench is key to the success of any leadership team, particularly for strategic planning.

Tanzania Community Health Promo Initiative

Steve (blue shirt, front row) and fellow School board members visited Dr. Frank Manase, MPH ’12, and his team at the Community Health Promotion Initiative in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 2018. The program supports community health workers' efforts in the region.

  1. What advice do you have for new members?

Simply put, engage broadly as well as deeply. Attending meetings gives you a good sense of the School’s work from a macro level, but it’s also very rewarding to learn about a public health topic you’re personally interested in. In my case, I’ve been very involved with the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse. Understanding the faculty’s work and learning about research and how it is translated into policy interventions has been fascinating. And when those policies are adopted, it’s so rewarding. I think this “engaged philanthropy” approach transforms and amplifies any individual’s contributions. When you back a good idea with both your active involvement and even modest financial support, it creates powerful results. Bottom line, find a topic and get into the weeds—it’s worth it.

As he slipped his gloves back on, Moore pointed to the side of the road where fresh green mangrove shoots were pushing up through the wreckage. "Look," he said, "Mother Nature is already back at it." And with that, he grabbed his shovel and walked over to rejoin his neighbors and the cleanup effort.

For more information about the School’s Health Advisory Board, please contact Heath Elliott, associate dean for development and alumni relations, at