Higher education has the capacity to change the world. Innovative ideas and the great teams behind them can make this crucial resource more accessible and impactful.
— Gary K. Michelson, M.D.

Gary Karlin Michelson, M.D., is a distinguished Board Certified Orthopedic Spinal Surgeon and a Diplomate of that the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, who has devoted his life to helping others.

Dr. Michelson was born and raised in Philadelphia.  He left home at 17 years of age and put himself through college and medical school.  He attended Temple University and Hahnemann Medical College (now Drexel University).  He did a fellowship in spinal surgery at St. Luke’s, in a joint program of Texas Medical Center in association with Baylor University.

Disappointed with the very low success rates and unreliability of the spinal surgical procedures at that time, he spent the next 20 years developing new implants, surgical procedures, and the instruments required to carry out those procedures.  These technological breakthroughs have made spinal surgery far less invasive and far more effective.  The Michelson procedures diminished the blood loss, pain, disability, and recovery time associated with the older procedures.  These new procedures require minimal hospital time even to the point where many of them can be done on an outpatient basis.  The likelihood of success for these newer procedures has been consistently very high, and the time for return to full activity has been substantially reduced.  Throughout the world these new procedures have become the most dominant means of treating both the common spinal disorders as well as those which are the most debilitating.  Millions of patients have already benefitted from these inventions.

Dr. Michelson is the most prolific inventor in the history of medicine, and is the sole named inventor of more than 950 already issued patents throughout the world.  He is one of a very few people ever inducted into both the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and the National Academy of Inventors.

Dr. Michelson founded, funded, continues to fund and direct three private foundations.

The Michelson Medical Research Foundation was established by the doctor in 2005 by an initial gift of 100 million dollars.  The foundation does not accept outside contributions but has received follow up contributions by the doctor.  The foundation funds cutting edge medical research that would be considered too avant garde to be funded by NIH or likely to receive funding by other conventional sources.

The Found Animals Foundation, (FAF), also founded in 2005, is directly involved in saving and improving the lives of companion animals.  Decreasing the number of animals coming into the municipal animal shelters to be destroyed by creating  and  funding  both  no and  low cost spay & neuter facilities including mobile units to bring those services to where  the need is the greatest.

The Doctor and F.A.F. were main drivers and supporters of the creation and qualification of the California Pet Lovers License Plate, the funds from which go to support no cost spay and neuter services.

F.A.F. provides microchips and registration for the life of the animal at no or extremely low cost so that lost pets can be returned to their owners rather than be destroyed.   Foundation, grants and awards have been used to raise millions of dollars for use by the local shelters and rescues.

In another program the foundation goes into the municipal animal shelters and collects animals that would have been destroyed the following day and adopts them out from  their own Adopt and Shops.   Found Animals has grown into 60 full time employees and several hundred volunteers and has touched the lives of 1.5 million pets and counting.  

Founded in 2010 Twenty Million Minds, (20MM), has been catalytic and financially supportive of creating  the first 25  high quality, digital, fully downloadable,  and  interactive college level textbooks.  These textbooks correspond to more than 50% of the courses required at the community college level or the first two years of a four year program.  These high quality digital textbooks would represent a cost savings to students the value of which exceeds the actual cost of community college tuition.  

20 MM is also involved in a program to make accessible to prisoners the remedial education  required for them  to be able to function outside of prison.  A lack of education is one of the prime prognosticators for a high rate of recidivism.  This basic level of education is essential to the successful reintegration of these people back into society.

In another 20MM program a practical intellectual property textbook and course appropriate for instruction at the college level have been created de novo.

The doctor has personally funded two major reforestation programs resulting in the planting of more than seven million trees on approximately 50 square miles.

In conjunction with many others and on behalf of independent inventors, Dr. Michelson worked to help shape and ultimately to have passed the America Invents Act of 2011.  In recognition of his efforts Dr. Michelson was invited by President Obama to attend the signing of that historical legislation at the White House.

In 2014 Dr. Michelson and his wife Alya personally gifted 50 million dollars to the University of Southern California to fund  the creation of a convergent bioscience center to produce real world medical breakthroughs in real time.

Dr. Michelson has been a longtime promoter and supporter of entrepreneurial competitions at various business schools throughout the country.

Dr. Gary Michelson is also the largest private underwriter of the Sabin Institute’s research program to develop immunizing vaccines against the various parasitic worms that afflict more than one billion of the world’s most destitute people, mostly women and children, to devastating effect.