It’s time to end this chapter

Well, it is finally time to end this chapter. This will be the last Doc in the D posted as CEO, as I officially retire as of Sept. 4.

I have said this before but my foremost thought is gratitude. I am grateful for all of you, and grateful I had the opportunities presented to me during my career at Henry Ford. It was a great run.

You remain part of one of the greatest health care organizations in the country. Never forget the reason that you are here, for our patients and for each other.

I wish you nothing but personal and professional successes. Blue skies, calm winds, green grass, smiles and warmth.

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Why we’re here is really simple

I often try to see if something very simple can best describe a very complex set of ideas. One of these complex ideas is our purpose as a hospital and medical group.

I recently heard Dr. John Noseworthy talk about the purpose of the Mayo Clinic, and his words resonated with me because they similarly described the heart and soul of Henry Ford Hospital.

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The Legends Interviews: Dr. Lisa Newman

Henry Ford Hospital President and CEO Dr. John Popovich, Jr. interviews Dr. Lisa Newman in the next edition of “Interviews in Front of the Living Wall: Legends Interviews.” In this segment, Dr. Newman, Director of the Breast Oncology Program at the Henry Ford Cancer Institute, discusses advances in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

“The Legends Interviews” segments were filmed in the Henry Ford Hospital Atrium. To view past videos, click the “Legends Interviews” tag at the bottom of this post.

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The moment.

The incomprehensible can occur in a moment. Something unexpected, let alone unimaginable, happens, reminding all of us that all we ever have is the moment we are in. Reminding all of us how precious that moment we live in truly is. Reminding all of us that we are a heartbeat away from eternity.

There are no words or thoughts that provide comfort or bring an explanation to the inevitable question of “why?” There is no answer. There is only the reality that is faced in dealing with senseless loss, a life ended too soon, a lifetime of remembrances never formed.

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Celebrating doctors today and every day



Today is National Doctors Day. As I noted in a previous blog post, this celebration was started humbly in 1933 by the wife of a Georgia doctor. Nearly 60 years later President George H. W. Bush signed Proclamation 6253 establishing National Doctors Day to recognize physicians for “their leadership in the prevention and treatment of illness and injury…”

There are many celebrations of other professions, causes and holidays. So why single out doctors?

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Doc in the D’s favorite health care-inspired books

So you want some recommendations about books to read, but you’re not interested in the business books that I recommended in a prior blog?


I hear you and thought I would keep some of the books in the realm of medicine and health care. I may eventually provide you with a list of my casual reading. But I’m afraid this might provide too much insight into my psyche than I am comfortable to reveal.

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Doc in the D is Back!

“He’s ba-aa-a-a-ck.”

No, not Poltergeist II. Doc in the D is back.

After an almost six month hiatus, Doc in the D has returned. We all had to recharge the batteries after our centennial celebration that culminated in a magnificent Grand Ball.

Now it’s time for a new century of Henry Ford Hospital and to continue to share stories of our employees and our hospital. Continue reading

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Perfect Match

At Henry Ford, we stress the importance of our employees treating patients like family.

But this week, I heard a story about two Henry Ford Hospital employees that reminded me of the equal importance of treating our colleagues as such.

Kim Alexander and Erika Bomar

And these amazing women not only treat each other like family, but will do anything – and I mean anything – to support each other.

After working together for five years in the Neuroscience Department at Henry Ford Hospital, Kim Alexander and Erika Bomar are both friends and colleagues.

When Erika’s husband, Damon, was diagnosed with kidney failure in January 2010, the Neuroscience team gave Erika immense amounts of prayers, love and support; Kim took it one step further.

Kim was tested to learn her blood type and found that she was a match for Damon, Erika’s husband of 16 years.

Without hesitation, Kim decided to donate her kidney, the ultimate gift of life

But the giving doesn’t end there.

After hearing about Kim’s decision, our Neuroscience team and several other departments rallied behind the two women, and donated more than 300 hours of their vacation time to the pair, so they would have enough time to recover and care for loved ones.

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Sophie’s Gifts of the Heart

Sophie Melnek (right) with co-worker

Some days are just more special than others.

A day last fall was exactly one of those for me, when I was asked to meet with the son-in-law of a former Henry Ford Hospital housekeeper who had recognized Henry Ford Hospital as the beneficiary of a gift from her estate.

As one of our former Board Chairs has said about philanthropy, “No gift is too large.” I am of the opinion that no gift is too small either.

The idea of receiving a gift to Henry Ford Hospital is naturally exciting, and the idea of receiving a gift from a former employee is always inspiring; it is one of the greatest tributes and act of gratefulness.

However after hearing the heart-warming story of Sophie Melnek and her devoted daughter Helen, it quickly becomes evident just how meaningful the donation is.

Sophie Melnek immigrated to the United States from the Ukraine as a young teenager and spent her early married years on a farm north of Detroit. At the outbreak of World War II, the family decided to give up farming and her husband was given the opportunity to support the war effort by working for Chrysler Corporation.

Sophie was delighted to move to the city and begin her career at Henry Ford Hospital in the housekeeping department.

As Sophie became acclimated to Henry Ford Hospital, it was clear this was more than “just a job” to Sophie.

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Every Day Heroes

Everyone in health care has an opportunity to do heroic work. 

But some people go above and beyond.

In two separate incidents, four Henry Ford Hospital employees – a doctor and a nurse, and two transport workers – were heroic in ways many of us can only imagine.

The Doctor & The Nurse

While driving home from the hospital, a radiologists and a nurse saw a young man hit by a vehicle. 

The young man was running away from an angry group of high school students when he was struck by a vehicle and flung into the median of the road. 

The doctor and nurse stopped to attend to the young man’s injuries and called 911. 

But the group that was chasing the young man, now becoming a mob, yelled to them: “Leave him alone. Let him die.”

Personal epithets were escalated to physical threats.   Continue reading

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