One Week Proves Why We’re So Much More Than Just a Hospital

It only took one week to prove a point that I regularly tell people: Henry Ford Hospital is so more than just a hospital, a place to care for patients.

We’re a destination in Detroit for education, culture and some truly unbelievable events for our employees, patients and the community. (And it all happens while our health care teams do what they do best: provide the absolute best care and service to each and every one of our patients – each time, every time, every encounter.)

Many of my regular blog readers have already gotten a glimpse at some of the amazing things that have happened recently at Henry Ford Hospital.

It all started with a community event to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which showcased some of the amazing choral talent in our city (and in our hospital), as well as a keynote address by Bankole Thompson, the senior editor of the Michigan Chronicle.

God's Hands of Praise performs at Henry Ford Hospital

If you have not heard Mr. Thompson speak, you have missed the brilliance of passionate commitment and challenge. Sam Logan, rest in peace; your charge will continue.

And the choirs from the Mosaic Singers, Detroit Rescue Mission, God’s Hands of Praise, and our own Martina Gifford and the Henry Ford Health System Choir stirred the blood as much as the soul.

Each year, this event is better than the last, and serves as an important reminder of how Dr. King’s visions and principles continue to drive and inspire us in the work we do every day. 

Only a few days later, our employees welcomed the Detroit Tigers 2012 Winter Caravan to our hospital. With Miguel Cabrara, Brennen Boesche and several other Tigers stars in attendance, we were reminded why baseball is such an important part of the growing excitement surrounding our city.

Ramon Santiago with Marla Hull, Inpatient Case Management.

Baseball is one of the constancies in American life (all respect to James Earl Jones and Field of Dreams).

Those of us around in 1968 know the way baseball and the Detroit Tigers calmed and soothed a battered city. 

Dr. King’s vision was seen in the stands of every home game, and showed us that how even in the most polarizing situation most of us are alike with common goals, aspirations, and dreams.

Countdown to Opening Day at Comerica Park: 11 weeks.

Employees at the Cirque du Soleil event.

In between those two events, Cirque du Soleil, the internationally known performance troupe, visited Henry Ford Hospital. How fitting that the Henry Ford Innovation Institute was the host of a group that has innovated the traditional concept of a “circus” to a more contemporary model that has had unparalleled success. 

It’s interesting to note that the founding performing troupe almost was disbanded in the early 80’s due to financial hardship. Through vision and a bit of outside assistance, Cirque du Soleil was created in a theatrical character driven show without animals.

What a lesson for all industries as they face challenges.

DIA Inside/Out Program at Henry Ford Hospital

And, the Detroit Institute of Arts installed its “Inside/Out” exhibit on the main floor of our hospital. This program brings 80 reproductions of masterpieces from the DIA’s collection out into the Detroit community.

Our hospital is hosting about a half-dozen of these masterpieces, including a reproduction of Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait of Postman Roulin.

I walked by the exhibit and saw two young employees studying the van Gogh. I always have loved the archives we have created in that hall, but I was struck by the power of artistic expression, one strong enough to call to two people across a century.

The exhibit marks the start of our new relationship with the DIA, a true gem in Detroit and the fifth largest art museum in the country.

Working with the DIA, we hope to grow our Healing Arts Program at the hospital to offer not only beautiful exhibits for employees and the community to enjoy, but also hands-on projects for our patients to enhance their hospital experience.

But the week of events doesn’t end there.

On Jan. 26, we’ll welcome internationally known NASA astronaut and research engineer Dr. Leroy Chiao to the Innovation Institute at Henry Ford. Dr. Chiao will host a meet and greet with our employees to discuss his work and innovation.

Astronaut Chiao is a true rock star and one of the most influential Chinese Americans living today.  He even has great stories about the eighth person in space, Cosmonaut Pavel Popovich, who I obviously have keen personal fondness.

In one week we saw artwork, performances, sports and innovation…and it all happened at a hospital.

Not a bad way to start 2012.

If you attended any of these events, please feel free to post your experiences below in the comments section.

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