Ready to Ride: Tour de Ford

Henry Ford hosts numerous fun and generous philanthropic events, but there’s one “grass-roots” effort that really stands out from the rest: Tour de Ford.

Tour de Ford was started by two cycling enthusiasts who also happen to be Henry Ford ER physicians, Dr. Gerard Martin and Dr. Ronny Otero. This year’s event on Sunday, Sept. 9 at Henry Ford Hospital promises to the biggest and the best yet.

Tour de Ford is the perfect balance of fun and charity. This will be the third year I’ll be riding too, and I even got my wife to join me in the 35-mile route.

Unlike other rides, anybody can participate in the Tour de Ford (and you aren’t required to wear those spandex shorts or have a particularly fancy bike either).

If you aren’t able to do the 10-, 35-, or 70 -mile ride, the Tour de Ford offers volunteer opportunities so employees and community members alike can be involved.

While the event is a great opportunity to give back to the community, it simultaneously offers an amazing tour of Detroit.

Cyclists of all experience levels have the opportunity to tour some of the best sites of our city – Belle Isle, Eastern Market, the new CHASS facility and more – all while benefiting the Tom Groth Patient Medical Needs Fund, which provides health care, medication, medical supplies and social services to underinsured patients at Henry Ford. Continue reading

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The Humble Task of Transforming Detroit

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along not only by the might shoves of its heroes but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.”
– Helen Keller

The beauty of the work at Henry Ford is we have people performing great and noble tasks as well as humble tasks as though they were great.  The beauty of what is transforming our city is the same, and here is an example of a great “humble task.” 

The following was sent to me by Patrick Irwin, vice president of Human Resources:

Students paint the train viaduct at Trumbull and Holden, near Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

On the way back from a meeting today, Kathy Macki and I ran into a group of amazingly enthusiastic and energized teenagers dedicated to making a difference in the “D.”

This summer youth volunteer group is part of an organization calledSummer in the Citywhich is based out of Southwest Detroit but does volunteer work across the “D.”

Predominately high school students, they are painting and fixing the “D” one viaduct, one graffiti wall, one over-grown field at a time.

In the above picture, the students are painting every inch of the train viaduct near Trumbull and Holden in the shadow of Henry Ford Hospital.  Continue reading

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2-Year Anniversary, Part 2: Plans for the Future

View “Part 1” of the two-year anniversary video here.

So what do you think about the future plans for Henry Ford Hospital and our accomplishments during this past year? Share your comments below.

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2-Year Anniversary, Part 1: Celebrating What We’ve Accomplished


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Doc in the B (Beijing)

One of the great opportunities presented to us as a world class hospital and system are the multiple requests for us to share our knowledge and expertise around the country and the world.

Our international reputation has brought delegations from many countries to learn about our institution and to use that knowledge to improve care in their own environments.

Several months ago, a team from Wuxi, China visited Henry Ford Hospital and Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital to see how we approached our clinical care, wellness and general services. They had interest in developing facilities similar to ours and wanted to see firsthand the “Henry Ford Experience.”

In turn, several of us were invited to China to experience the health care system there, and better provide them with our opinions in how to transform lives and communities.

Before you say what a great little junket this was, I will let you know that three of us left on a Monday morning (after waiting eight hours at Metro Airport, only to have the flight delayed until the next morning), flew to Shanghai non-stop, traveled to Wuxi, flew to Beijing for one day, flew back to Shanghai (after waiting four hours due to a cancelled flight), got four hours sleep, flew to Tokyo and then back to the “D.”

I truly wasn’t sure if I was coming or going, and the jet lag seemed to last for the next week.

That being said, we established some great relationships, learned a great deal about health care in China and how this care is evolving.

All of this helps us to understand what our role can be in providing health care to our patients from the region, State, country, and beyond.

We had the opportunity to shoot a bit of video footage to give you a flavor of our trip, which is posted above.

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The Stanley Cup of Patient Care

I spend a fair amount of time going “South of the Border,” talking to hospital and academic leaders, physicians and others about Henry Ford Hospital – the great doctors, nurses and programs of the Flagship.  

We are very respectful of the Canadian health care system and the great care it provides. When alternatives cannot be provided from Canadian resources, Henry Ford Hospital is there to provide the best of care to the sickest of patients.

As such, we provide clinical support for this extraordinary patient care, at the request of the doctors and providers in Windsor and Essex County, whenever it is needed. 

Most notable of this clinical support is the work that we have done in cardiovascular disease, especially in acute myocardial infarction.

No amount of my discussions of the value of our partnerships compares to this story, especially the video of a true “Miracle on the Boulevard.”

To our cardiovascular surgical team, the surgeons, the anethesiologists, the nurses, and the technicians: This story is better than winning the Stanley Cup.  Continue reading

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Work Beyond Our Walls

If you follow Doc in the D, you know that I talk a great deal about Henry Ford Hospital being “more than a hospital.”   

In my talks about Henry Ford, I often speak of the academic health sciences center that we represent. The values that are deeply imbedded in Henry Ford are learning and innovation.

Over the last several years, we have created a great deal of the underpinnings to support those values. 

Our relationship with Wayne State University, especially our major affiliation with its School of Medicine, has allowed us to tap into the creativity, enthusiasm and the academic culture driving a learning organization such as ours. 

The Henry Ford Innovation Institute was born from an idea, with our imagination as the only limitation of what can be created. 

It asked the question of all of us at Henry Ford:
“What would you build for the world?”

The short video posted above from the World Health Student Organization of Wayne State University School of Medicine shows the power of learning and innovation, as well as the importance of Henry Ford serving as a facilitator of great work beyond our walls.

In the video, you’ll see how a donation of Aquapaks from the Henry Ford Innovation Institute to the World Health Student Organization made an incredible impact on the village of Agua Blanca in Ecuador.

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Medicine and Golf

It’s April and it’s time for the Masters.

The greatest golf tournament, not because it is the hardest or has the greatest field, but because it is the most magnificent venue in golf.  It also is the official start of spring.

I love golf.

At the annual HFHS golf outing with Dave Hill, President and Owner of Superior Ambulance; Rich Montefusco, Executive VP of Siemens Enterprise Communications; and Bob Riney, President & COO, HFHS.

No, not because it is the only game a 62-year-old CEO can continue to play at his late age. I love golf because it is my stress relief, my yoga.

There is something primordial about hitting a projectile and landing it where you intend. Of course, not always; sometimes, not frequently at all, but enough times to keep you coming back to hit the ball again.

Golf is also a great metaphor for life.

For example, the golf movie “The Legend of Bagger Vance,” starring Will Smith, Matt Damon and Charlize Theron, is roughly based on the Hindu sacred text the Bhagavad Gita, where the Warrior/Hero Arjuna refuses to fight.  It is a story about the challenges we all face to be true to ourselves.

Another example is the movie “Caddy Shack,” which is based on the lives of several of my friends at Red Run Golf Club.  It is a story about the challenges we all face when we are true to ourselves. (Frightening, in an odd way.)

I am often asked how medicine is like golf, or how it differs.

Here is my take on the similarities:

— There is no substitute for practice and repetition, in golf or in medicine.

— In both medicine and golf, a great teacher/mentor can get you better faster than new technology, although some technology can revolutionize the practice and the game. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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Tour de Ford 2011

I had the pleasure of participating along with 300 other cyclists in the second annual Tour de Ford bike ride.

Cyclists of all experience levels had the opportunity to tour our city while benefiting the Tom Groth Patient Medical Needs Fund, which provides health care, medication, equipment medical supplies and social services to underinsured patients at Henry Ford.

Participants had the opportunity to ride in their choice of a 70-mile, 35-mile or 10-mile route. You can view a photo slideshow of the event here.

Now no one would confuse me for Lance Armstrong or Greg Lemond, but I did take the training wheels off to make it the 35 miles on an absolutely glorious late summer Michigan day. (I am sure Tom Groth negotiates the weather for us for each of our events.)

Each route started and ended at Henry Ford Hospital, and traveled to a number of our sites throughout Henry Ford Health System — Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital,  Henry Ford Medical Center–Cottage and Henry Ford Medical Center-Fairlane. Riders also got to see a number of Detroit’s landmarks along their routes, such as Eastern Market, The Dequindre Cut and The Heidelberg Project.

As I rode through the Detroit Lions’ tailgaters at Eastern Market and along the River Walk, I felt proud of our organization, our city and all that this event was able to accomplish.

Continue reading

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