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.

With ambulatory cancer treatment and support services currently located across the Henry Ford Hospital campus under one roof, the new facility will make cancer care more comfortable and convenient for patients, families and seniors through:

  • Express cancer services via a cancer-specific urgent care, and extended weekday and weekend hours of care
  • Cancer-type specific physicians and other specialists working together on the same floor. This includes radiation oncology, medical oncology and surgical services
  • Expanded patient concierge services, nurse navigators, financial navigators and palliative care

The new facility’s design will be centered on supporting patients and their families as they face this journey of care, with a focus on caring for their emotional and physical needs with:

  • On-site exercise, fitness and nutrition planning, with exercise bikes in chemotherapy infusion areas, as well as yoga/eastern medicine programs, nutrition coaches and cooking classes
  • Dedicated personal spaces for lounging and computer access for patients and families
  • Retail cancer services, including expanded aesthetics and personal care items, and food services directed to the tastes of cancer patients and meeting their home food needs.

The center will incorporate technology as well as clinical and translational research that patients seek in a destination center. This will include:

  • Greater integration of translational research programs into the clinical setting
  • Support for components of clinical research necessary as research moves into the next era of personal and precision medicine
  • Dedicated space where patients can speak with research nurses about clinical trial opportunities

In Detroit and beyond, the need for cancer care is expected to continue to grow.

During the past 8 years, Henry Ford’s cancer volume increased 16 percent for outpatient services and 31 percent for inpatient services. And, the Institute of Medicine predicts the incidence of cancer in the U.S. will increase about 20 percent in the next 10 years, and 40 percent over the next 20 years.

The cancer center will serve as the anchor for Henry Ford’s cancer network of facilities. This approach ensures that patients have access to cancer treatments close to home, while providing the most advanced care available in the world in an integrated network.

Along with the cancer center, the neighborhood improvement project’s 10-15 year vision includes green space, commercial, retail and housing development.

Already, we’ve made great strides to pave the way for this new development and eliminate blight in the city by demolishing 100 vacant structures throughout the 300 acre neighborhood. Henry Ford plans to invest in 30 acres, while working to continue to bring new businesses and developments to the neighborhood.

This summer, the $30 million Cardinal Health Distribution Center opened on the site with 100 employees.

Henry Ford was instrumental in attracting Cardinal Health to create a new regional hub in Detroit.

Site planning for the new cancer facility is expected to be completed by the end of the year; groundbreaking is anticipated for spring 2016.

This is a very exciting project and a symbol of optimism as we enter our next 100 years. I look forward to hearing your thoughts about the new cancer center!

Share your ideas and learn more about the new cancer center at

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