Doc in the D’s Favorite Business Books

Read, read, and read. I read all the time. As much and as often as I can. Newspapers, books, usually old school real paper, but on the Kindle and iPad as well. Reading provides the experiences that you cannot often have yourself, and an opportunity to stimulate your own thoughts and to learn from others.

In the leadership and business realm, I am often asked about which books have influenced me the most. Not the “best” business books of all time, but those that have stimulated me to form my opinions about the direction that we need to go for success.

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The Yuck Factor

All of us in health care know the importance of cleaning and washing our hands when we care for others. This simple act can prevent injury to patients and save lives.

I am going to give you another reason to wash your hands.

Take a good look at the bacterial cultures of the hands of two of our employees. Hand2You can see those areas that represent growth of bacteria. Bacteria that can be transmitted to others, including our patients, our co-workers, our friends, our spouses, our children and ourselves.

This phenomenon qualifies by a very precise scientific term, YUCK. Continue reading

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A Big Favor

To kick off the return of Doc in the D, I wanted to share something special that truly touched my heart. The journey we take in our professions is personal but also shared. Much of the shared experience is not technical; it is related to the humanity of our roles and calling.

Some among us can provide insights into this far better than others. They can describe the emotional subtleties, the push and pull on our professional and personal lives, and the fundamental thread of our connectivity with our patients.

A brilliant (and award winning) essay by one of our surgical residents, Dr. Ko Un Clara Park, captures this and needs no further introduction. Continue reading

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Doc in the D is Back!

“He’s ba-aa-a-a-ck.”

No, not Poltergeist II. Doc in the D is back.

After an almost six month hiatus, Doc in the D has returned. We all had to recharge the batteries after our centennial celebration that culminated in a magnificent Grand Ball.

Now it’s time for a new century of Henry Ford Hospital and to continue to share stories of our employees and our hospital. Continue reading

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2016: Focused On Our Destiny

2016 holiday card front“Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

  • William Jennings Bryan

It’s become an annual tradition each year that I’ve been President and CEO of Henry Ford Hospital to send my colleagues and my team a New Year’s card with a special – and inspiring – message for the New Year.

After celebrating our 100th anniversary in 2015, it is important that we look to the future in 2016 – our destiny. Continue reading

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Henry Ford Grand Ball: Century Edition

106391_KAG_5317Thank you to all in attendance at the Henry Ford Grand Ball, Century edition, this last weekend.

The night was magical, and a fitting ending to our yearlong celebration.

I would only have wished that all of the Henry Ford Health System team could have been present for the event.

Governor Rick Snyder presents a special tribute to Henry Ford Health System for its 100 years of service.

Governor Rick Snyder presents a special tribute to Henry Ford Health System for its 100 years of service.

The incredible support from the community as a whole and the Ford family, in particular, inspires all of us and is a reminder of what we represent in the community and the history of the last 100 years.

This now refocuses our attention on the next 100 years for our organization. Continue reading

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Henry Ford at 100

The year, 1915…

The one millionth Model T rolled off the assembly line at Ford Motor Company.

Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Watson conducted the first cross-coastal telephone conversation between New York and San Francisco.

A German U-boat submarine sunk the Lusitania.

Babe Ruth hit his first major league home run, and the Tigers narrowly lost the AL pennant to the Red Sox.

Henry Ford Hospital opened as a 48-bed facility in Detroit.

Not that many institutions last 100 years.

Henry Ford Hospital

Henry Ford Hospital. Image courtesy of the Conrad R. Lam Archives

It’s unbelievable at times to look back at the events of 1915, which point out how far we have come.

From the Model T to the Shelby Cobra, from the first phone call to cell phones, from the Tigers not winning to the pennant to…well, you get the picture.

Since Henry Ford Hospital officially opened on Oct. 1, 1915, each page of our history has been filled with groundbreaking achievements in medical science and patient care, all made possible by the amazingly talented people who walk the halls of Henry Ford Hospital. Continue reading

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Building Our Next Century

Make no little plans…Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistence…

That quote by Daniel Hudson Burnham, among my favorites, could not be truer this week, as we celebrate 100 years since the doors to Henry Ford Hospital officially opened on Oct. 1, 1915, and we look forward to the “big plans” we’ve made for our next century in Detroit.

The big plans: A new cancer center and neighborhood improvement initiative on 300 acres south of W. Grand Blvd. and north of I-94.

Conceptual drawing of the planned cancer center.

Conceptual drawing of the planned cancer center.

The planned five-story, 144,000 square-foot cancer center will include a rooftop garden and skywalk to connect it to Henry Ford Hospital, marking another key moment in our history and in the city’s revitalization.

We’re creating a world-class cancer facility supporting the expertise of the Henry Ford Medical Group in the care of cancer patients. Opening is expected in summer 2018.

The facility will be modern in its technology and, most importantly, address the physical and emotional needs of our cancer patients by offering greater flexibility with their care, and expanded support services for the duration of their disease. Continue reading

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A Quote from the Past Inspires the Future

I love to explore the connectedness of people through our history and to make it relevant to something that is topical and related to Henry Ford Hospital.

Some of you know that one of the quotes that inspires me and that I have sitting above my desk is by Daniel Hudson Burnham.

Burnham was an American architect and urban designer in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION, Chicago 1893. Architects by Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted. Photo shows the Lagoon with statues and Agricultural Building on right.

World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893. Architects by Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted. Photo shows the Lagoon with statues and Agricultural Building on right.


He was the father of the Chicago School of Architecture and co-authored the Chicago Plan of 1909, which laid out plans for that city’s future. He was also the Director of Works for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago (often called the “Chicago World’s Fair”).

You may have heard about Burnham from the book “Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson.

The book is set in Chicago around 1893, intertwining the true story of Burnham and the 1893 World’s Fair with the also true story of Dr. H.H. Holmes, a serial killer.

An entertaining book, that you may have also heard is being made into a feature film to be directed by Martin Scorsese to star Leonardo DiCaprio as Dr. Holmes.

So what is the connection with Henry Ford Hospital? Continue reading

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A Detroit Bond Leads to Dr. F. Janney Smith History

As we’ve been celebrating our 100th anniversary this year, I’ve had the great opportunity to hear and read many personal stories about your history at Henry Ford, and reminisce with colleagues about the days when we were interns and residents, just beginning our medical careers.

JS med school skit

F. Janney Smith (middle, with headgear and fake mustache) participating in a skit with other medical students at Johns Hopkins in 1911, where they’ve successfully removed a football from a patient, pleasing their professor.

One personal history, however, stood out for me. It came from a shared Detroit bond, decades in the making.

In early spring, Dr. Richard Dryer forwarded an email to me. The email, from his daughter Mary Beth Dryer, included an interesting conversation between her and Dr. Steven Smith about their shared connection to Henry Ford Hospital.

Both had fathers employed at Henry Ford Hospital. But nearly 60 years separated their fathers’ medical careers.

Amazingly, Dr. Smith’s father was none other than Dr. F. Janney Smith.

As I wrote in a previous blog post, Dr. F. Janney Smith was among the first wave of physicians at the hospital. In fact, he was the first recruit of Physician-In-Chief Dr. Frank Sladen, and the first cardiologist in Michigan.

Dr. F. Janney Smith, who graduated from Johns Hopkins an unbelievable 102 years ago, was the head of cardio-respiratory diseases.

By 1919, he established the hospital’s first inpatient unit for cardio-respiratory disease and brought some new technology, the electrocardiogram, to Henry Ford Hospital. Continue reading

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