Reduce barriers to health care with a “yes vote”

Cars. This is how we get to work, run errands, visit family and take our kids to school.

A “yes vote” for the Regional Transit Authority Master Plan will improve access to health care for everyone.

A “yes vote” for the Regional Transit Authority Master Plan will improve access to health care for everyone.

Well, not all of us.

Approximately 26 percent of Detroit households are without a vehicle.

So how do they handle the basics like shopping for healthy food, attending doctor appointments or filling prescriptions?

That’s the $3 billion question and one we hope to solve with a regional transportation plan.

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Dr. King Inspired Groundbreaking Work at Henry Ford

“Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a better person for yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.”
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This year marks the 15th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at Henry Ford Hospital.

It’s become an important tradition for us each year to take time to honor and celebrate the life of Dr. King – his words, rhetoric and actions. It’s truly one of the greatest days that we have here on campus.

The Mosiac Singers with the Mosiac Youth Theatre of Detroit gave an amazing performance at the event.

The Mosiac Singers with the Mosiac Youth Theatre of Detroit gave an amazing performance at the event.

Dr. King inspired a nation and he influenced much of the groundbreaking work in racial relations and equality accomplished in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s at Henry Ford Hospital. 

Throughout our history there have been many employees who have made a “career out of humanity” at Henry Ford.

In honor of Dr. King’s legacy, I want to share with you some of the individuals and groups who hold a special place in our hospital’s history for moving ahead the cause of equality:

After completing high school in the 1950s, Dennis Archer moved to Detroit to find work to finance his college education. He wanted to become a school teacher.

While working to achieve his goal, former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer held many jobs; one of which made history at Henry Ford Hospital.

He became the first African American to work in the medical records department at Henry Ford Hospital.

Before Dr. King arrived in Detroit in 1963 to give a version of his “I Have a Dream” speech and lead 25,000 people on a peaceful “Walk to Freedom,” the “Fordsmen” were working to create a more harmonious work environment at Henry Ford Hospital. Continue reading

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A Few Words on Colorectal Cancer

Can we talk?

I know it’s not a topic that you want to address, but people are dying not to talk about it.

That topic is your colon, specifically about colon cancer and how to improve diagnosis and cure of the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

Improving survival in this cancer is greatly increased by early detection and polyp removal by colonoscopy.

I know you may have a fear of this procedure.

Trust me; I wasn’t the first to step to the line either.

The preparation the day before is not quite as bad as the rumors, although it is important to stay close to a “facility.”

The procedure itself is painless, quick and easy. After mine, I asked the recovery nurse when we about to start – that was about 30 minutes after the procedure was finished. Continue reading

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Henry Ford Hospital Celebrates Dr. King

Each year at Henry Ford Hospital we take time to honor and celebrate the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“50 Years on the Road to Freedom” by Words I Speak Entertainment at the HFH event.

“50 Years on the Road to Freedom” by Words I Speak Entertainment at the HFH event.

Growing up in the 1960s, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a profound impact on me and so many others in our country.

His teachings during the civil rights movement approached the inequalities present throughout this country.

He was an incredible spokesman in dealing with the injustices of the war we were fighting in Southeast Asia that many of us didn’t understand, especially when we had so much to accomplish at home.

For those of us at that time who were looking to become health care professionals, his themes resonated and influenced the way in which we would approach and practice medicine, as well as policies.

The statement that Dr. King made at the 1966 convention of the Medical Committee for Human Rights is worth repeating:

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health
care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

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Doc in the “M”

Some of you may be wondering: “Where is Doc in the D?”

Production from the “Doc in the D” studios has been somewhat less this past year, but I want to assure you that “Doc in the D” has been working on a number of projects and we are ready to let you know what’s happening.

During the next week on the blog, I’ll be posting about a few of our team’s behind-the-scenes activities:

  • Doc in the M: Covering my road trips with the Referring Physicians Office and Out State Growth team to drive business across Michigan to our hospital;
  • Doc in the W-E: Working with our friends and neighbors “south of the river”, particularly in Windsor-Essex County, to create relationships in education, patient care, employment, research and perhaps other trade; and
  • Doc in the HS: Wearing the System Chief Medical Officer “hat” at Henry Ford Health System, we’re making great strides in linking our physicians and clinicians in a more integrated sense.

So let’s begin with “Doc in the M.”

Coincidence or karma? Our air ambulance was making a run just as we arrived in Alpena.

Coincidence or karma? Our air ambulance was making a run just as we arrived in Alpena.

Our Centers of Excellence produce the “Miracles on the Boulevard” that touch all of us.

Henry Ford Hospital and our Specialty Centers are a major resource in caring for patients with the most complex of diseases. Few hospitals in the state and region have the full capabilities of HFH, nor produce the results that we do.

To provide this level of care, we must have the services, the expertise, the technology and the facilities.

That is not enough for patients to choose us for their care. Continue reading

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Adopting MLK Park in Detroit

This past Saturday, the weather – sunny, around 70 degrees – was perfect for an important project taking place near Henry Ford Hospital: the beautification of Martin Luther King Jr. Park at the corner of W. Grand Blvd. and Rosa Parks Blvd.


Volunteers from Henry Ford Hospital, Mayor Dave Bing’s Office, the Virginia Park CDC, Union Grace Church and the West Grand Boulevard Collaborative “adopted” the park and worked together to spruce it up as part of Detroit’s Annual Motor City Makeover.

Putting down mulch at MLK ParkThey laid 90 yards of mulch (that’s four truck loads!), planted dozens of flowers and painted the park’s fence with designs created by local artists.

Our volunteers also had the support of local businesses – D&B Landscaping and Grunwell-Cashero Co. – that donated labor, mulch and other supplies, as well as provided additional clean-up services to help with the park beautification. Their support was invaluable. Continue reading

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Honoring Dr. King with Service

“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I grew up in a time when there was a threat of weapons of mass destruction, an unpopular war in a far-away country, economic uncertainty, and violence amongst our people. I was influenced, as a child, by John F. Kennedy, who as President dared us to do what we could only dream.

Martin Luther King, Jr.As the years have passed, I am now more greatly influenced by another noble man, the most eloquent and articulate spokesman of peace and justice and one of the most courageous Americans of our time: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

He dared us to dream of what we could collectively be. His messages are as vibrant, powerful and meaningful today as they were nearly 50 years ago.

His life has special impact for me and every American, for he helped to free us of the illusion that we can somehow lift ourselves up by holding others down.

He filled a great void in our nation, and answered our collective longing to become a country that truly lives by its noblest principles.

He spoke to me when he preached that the yoke of oppression shackled the oppressor as well as the oppressed. He realized that oppression was more the result of a culture afraid of change than the result of hatred, and that the hearts and minds of well-intentioned moderates were more important to change than the actions of extremists.

He knew that a country could not truly be great when it did not live by its professed values, nor could any country truly be free when any of its people were not provided the freedoms and opportunities of the most privileged.

This was the same American dream that my Grandparents sought when they came to this country almost 100 years ago. Continue reading

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Detroit Top 10

The “Walk in My Shoes” experience with Delise Baker, a member of our concierge team at Henry Ford Hospital, inspired me to think about some of my favorite local spots in and around Detroit.

The DIA is No. 1 on my Top 10 list for places to see in Detroit. What’s your No. 1 pick for Detroit?

After all, one of the questions asked of every concierge – whether working at a hospital or a hotel – is “where should I visit while I’m in town?”

So here are two of my “Top 10” lists, one containing locations within Detroit city limits, and the other venturing out into the surrounding area of metro Detroit.

Feel free to add some of your favorite Detroit and metro Detroit locations in the comments section below.

Top 10 Things to See in the City of Detroit

1. The Detroit Institute of Arts (5200 Woodward Ave.)

2. Belle Isle (8109 East Jefferson Ave.)

3. Eastern Market (2934 Russell St.)

4. Fisher Building (3011 West Grand Blvd.)

5. Riverfront Walk (600 Renaissance Center)

6. Motown Historic Museum (2648 West Grand Blvd.)

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Every Vote Counts

Tuesday, Nov. 6  is an important day for all.

Patient Bernie Mack with hospital volunteer Lizette W. on Monday during the Bedside Voting Project.

It is a day that can change the course of our nation, merely by what you choose to do on that day.

Many in our country may be disillusioned by politics.  Many may feel that an individual vote may not matter in a sea of other voters in a national election.

I will not bore you with the details of the times in which one person, one action or one vote changed the course of an election or the course of history.

Others have fought, been imprisoned and died for the right to vote.  Each of our votes are a critical acknowledgment of the importance of those sacrifices.

I do not care for whom you vote.

I trust in the collective wisdom of our people to choose wisely and in the best interest of our City, State and Nation.

My message is simple: Take time to vote on Tuesday.

The voting process is so vital that Henry Ford Hospital has taken major efforts to ensure our patients who are hospitalized on election day can still get out their vote.

Our volunteers on Monday assisted countless patients with emergency ballot applications, faxing it to the patient’s respective clerk’s office where a ballot is generated, and then driving to the clerk’s office to pick up the ballot and returning the sealed ballot after the patient completes it.

It’s quite an amazing process.

I want to thank all of our volunteers and staff  involved with the bedside voting project for their work to make every vote count this election.

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Rallying the Detroit Food Trucks

I was looking at an email blast last July promoting the 20th Anniversary of the Concert of Colors at the Max M. Fisher Music Center.

Rather than being drawn to the great artists like the Don Was Detroit All-Star Revue, Tito Puentes and George Clinton, I immediately looked at the Detroit-based food trucks that would be attending the concerts.

You can see how Maslow’s hierarchy works in the Popovich brain: Physiological needs (food, drink), stop there.

You also know that I love the past, and food trucks make me think of the great experiences I had when I was younger, in a distant century, far, far away.

Trucks like “the ice cream truck.” Ice cream just tasted better after running headlong to the curb and waving down the driver who looked like Steve Buscemi on a bad day.  Creamsicle, ice cream sandwiches – wow!

Or, seeing the food trucks outside of the auto plants (my grandfather called them “car shops”), serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner. Big men, gathered around the truck, to get coffee, donuts, sandwiches and the latest gossip before going on or off shift.

So the convergence of these needs, memories and Detroit-based pride created the idea: Henry Ford Hospital Food Truck Rally.

After a bit of thought and negotiation, our first rally happened on a cool, crisp fall day on the tennis courts on our hospital campus.

It’s not every day you can walk outside for lunch and enjoy some of Detroit’s finest, homemade food truck cuisine: spinach pierogi, braised beef short rib tacos, cookie monster ice cream and lightly fried dill pickle spears calledfrickles.”

While the above mentioned foods are certainly not on my published list of essential food groups for hospital employees, I may be willing to modify that previous pyramid to include the culinary delights of People’s Pierogi Collective, Treat Dreams, Concrete Cuisine and Jacques’ Tacos. Continue reading

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