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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A Celebration a Century in the Making

Wow, what a day!

Today marks our 100th year of operation.

On July 13, 1915, the first patient was admitted to Henry Ford Hospital, long before the hospital was “officially” ready to receive patients on Oct. 1, 1915.

Henry Ford Health System's first-ever float, which will make its debut in America's Thanksgiving Day Parade presented by Art Van.

Henry Ford Health System’s first-ever float, which will make its debut in America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade presented by Art Van.

As I wrote in a post on Doc in the D one year ago, several patients were admitted to the basement area of the unfinished hospital (today’s M-Unit) because of the great needs of patients in our city at that time.

Since then, Henry Ford Hospital, and subsequently Henry Ford Health System, has continuously worked to transform health care for our patients, most notably through the development of the Henry Ford Medical Group, and our significant role in medical education, research and innovation.

None of this would be possible, however, without our employees.

Today marked the first of many employee events scheduled throughout Henry Ford Health System to celebrate our 100 year anniversary.

Today marked the first of many employee events scheduled throughout Henry Ford Health System to celebrate our 100 year anniversary.

You are the lifeblood of this institution. Your commitment is truly the reason why so many of us have spent the entirety of our careers here, myself included.

Today we had the opportunity to celebrate and thank you – for your tireless work and unwavering dedication – at the first of many employee events to commemorate our 100 year anniversary scheduled through the end of August across Henry Ford Health System. Continue reading

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Drive-Thru Polio Clinic

Late 1940s brought a new concept to American dining: the drive-thru window.

The drive-thru was a quick, convenient take on the popular drive-in restaurant of the time, best remembered by its carhops on roller skates and trays attached to the car window during the heydays of cruising in the 1950s and 1960s.

So why talk about the advent of the drive-thru window in a blog largely focused on health care and medicine?

June 24, 1962: Henry Ford Hospital's drive-thru Oral Polio Vaccine Program in the hospital parking garage. From the Conrad R. Lam Collection, Henry Ford Health System.

June 24, 1962: Henry Ford Hospital’s drive-thru Oral Polio Vaccine Program in the hospital parking garage. From the Conrad R. Lam Collection, Henry Ford Health System.

In the early 1960s, medicine borrowed a page from the drive-thru window’s concept of fast, “don’t-even-need-to-leave-your-car” convenience in a radical effort to eradicate polio – a crippling disease that sicken tens of thousands of Americans in the early 20th century.

Most people infected with the polio virus had no symptoms; however, for the less than 1% who developed paralysis it resulted in permanent disability and even death.

Henry Ford Hospital was one of many hospital across the nation to host a drive-thru polio vaccination program in the 1960s. The Oral Polio Vaccine Program was directed by Dr. Edward L. Quinn, founder of the hospital’s division of Infectious Diseases.

During the three-hour event on June 24, 1962, 438 cars made their way through the hospital’s parking garage. In all, 1,595 doses of the Sabin Oral Vaccine were administered. Continue reading

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Clara Ford & The School of Nursing

This week we celebrate the role of nursing in health care and at Henry Ford Hospital.

Henry Ford Hospital School of Nursing Class of 1927

Henry Ford Hospital School of Nursing Class of 1927, courtesy of the Conrad R. Lam Archives.

In previous blog posts, I’ve described the creation of the Henry Ford Medical Group, an idea that Henry Ford moved forward as influenced by meeting with the Mayo brothers.

Many of Henry’s other ideas about health care and the medical practices needed to support Detroit during Henry Ford Hospital’s formative years were directly influenced by his wife, Clara.

Most importantly, Clara was the major advocate of developing excellence in nursing that continues to this day at Henry Ford.

Being a great believer in the caring nature of nursing and its pivotal role in the medical care provided to patients, Clara was the driving force in developing the Henry Ford School of Nursing and Hygiene on the hospital campus.

The school included two new buildings, both designed by renowned architect, Albert Kahn: the 300-room Clara Ford Nurses Home (today’s Clara Ford Pavilion) and the Education Building (now home to the Innovation Institute).

Clara also worked closely with a designer to ensure that both the private rooms and the common areas were outfitted with precision.

Most notably, the parlor of the Clara Ford Nurses Home was elegantly designed with ornate chandeliers.

To get a feel for how magnificent the parlor, take a look at the 1978 film, “The Betsy,” which was filmed, in part, on the first floor of Clara Ford Nurses Home. In addition, the Education Building featured classrooms, a pool, squash courts and a gymnasium with a stage for special events.

In 1925, the School enrolled its first class of 93 students. Two classes were admitted each year, one in January and the other in September. The class size was limited to 100 students.

Women came from all over the U.S., Canada and Europe to attend the prestigious 28-month program. Students accepted into the tuition-free school lived free-of-charge at the Clara Ford Nurses Home. Continue reading

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Celebrating a “Century of Life” at Detroit Historical Museum

It’s one thing to look at photos and read about our history.

It’s quite another to have the opportunity to walk through the past 10 decades and experience our institution’s driving, sustaining force in clinical care, research, medical education and innovation.

In celebration of the 100-year anniversary, the Detroit Historical Museum has offered the opportunity to do just that with the opening of the special exhibit “Henry Ford Health System: 100 Years Measured in Life.”

On display in the museum’s Community Gallery through Jan. 3, 2016, the exhibit chronicles the birth and development of Henry Ford Hospital, one Detroit’s best-known and one of the nation’s most-respected healthcare institutions.

The exhibit begins in 1915 with auto pioneer Henry Ford taking control of the stalled 48-bed Detroit General Hospital project (today’s Henry Ford Hospital).

Nancy Schlichting, Henry Ford III, the great-great grandson of our hospital's founder, and I tour the exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum.

Nancy Schlichting, Henry Ford III, the great-great grandson of our hospital’s founder, and I tour the exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum.

It tracks the health system’s century of growth with 100 stories of transforming health and life through medical innovation and unwavering dedication to quality and community.

I had the opportunity to visit the exhibit last week.

I was blown away by the experience – the attention to detail, the historic artifacts, incredible images and interactive displays. Continue reading

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