MacArthur Fellows Program

Michael Lerner

Public Health Leader | Class of March 1984

Public Health Leader
Bolinas, California
41 at time of award
Area of Focus
Health Policy
Published March 1, 1984

About Michael's Work

Michael Lerner is the president and founder of Commonweal, a health and environmental research institute in Bolinas, California.

Lerner’s efforts within Commonweal have centered on three areas of program interest: helping children with learning and behavior disorders (and the childcare professionals who work with them); providing psychosocial support services for adults with cancer, as well as professional development programs for physicians who provide care for people with a life-threatening illness; and contributing to the quest for a socially just and ecologically sustainable future.


Lerner also serves as president of the Smith Farm Center for the Healing Arts in Washington, D.C., president of the Jenifer Altman Foundation, and president of the Barbara Smith Fund.  Before starting Commonweal in 1976, he co-founded Full Circle in 1973, a residential treatment center for delinquent children.  Lerner is the author of Choices in Healing: Integrating the Best of Conventional and Complementary Approaches to Cancer (1992).  He served as a special consultant to the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress for its 1990 report, Unconventional Cancer Treatments.

Lerner received a B.A. (1965) from Harvard University and a Ph.D. (1971) from Yale University.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

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