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Braving the elements – a snowstorm that shut down the city and caused massive flight delays – more than 200 distinguished participants convened at the world headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a first-of-its-kind event hosted by the Milken Institute and the CDC Foundation. Members of Congress, industry leaders, foundation heads, major philanthropists, leading scientists and university presidents joined together to reaffirm America's commitment to public health.

The goal of this invitation-only event – which continued the Celebration of Science initiative launched in Washington in 2012 and built on the Lake Tahoe Retreat – was to help shape solutions to pressing public health challenges and to explore the CDC's role in protecting people from threats foreign and domestic.

The human and social value of safeguarding health is clear. It's also important to business and to international prosperity. Over the past two centuries, advances in public health and medical research have accounted for as much as half of all economic growth. The CDC – along with its partners from industry, foundations, universities, NGOs and governments – has been a global leader in many of those advances. Recognizing that we're all connected, the agency is directly engaged in efforts around the world.

In January 2014, leaders from multiple sectors convened in Atlanta to celebrate those efforts and reaffirm the value of public health.