Detroit business leaders Peter and Julie Cummings have presented Henry Ford Health System with an unspecified seven-figure donation to establish an endowed chair and support its head and neck cancer program.
Peter Cummings, executive chairman and CEO of The Platform real estate company which owns the Fisher Building and several other Detroit properties, is a member of the Henry Ford Health System Foundation Board of Trustees.
His wife, Julie, is the daughter of the late Detroit industrialist Max Fisher and a social worker, academic, and philanthropist with deep ties to Detroit. She is chairman and co-founder of the Lovelight Foundation and a former assistant adjunct professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.
Dr. Tamer Ghanem, division chief of head and neck cancer surgery at Henry Ford Hospital and the Department of Otolaryngology, will serve as the inaugural Cummings Endowed Chair.
“This remarkable gift is a true cause for celebration and an inspiring example of what’s possible when our innovative physician leaders and generous supporters share a vision for progress,” says Mary Jane Vogt, executive vice president and chief development officer at Henry Ford Health System. “We are profoundly grateful to Peter and Julie for their support.”
The head and neck cancer program is part of the Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion, a destination site for expert cancer care including the most advanced treatment options for head and neck cancer.
“It is so exciting to see our physician leaders and committed philanthropists coming together to shape the future of medicine at Henry Ford,” says Dr. Steven Kalkanis, CEO of Henry Ford Medical Group. “The Cummings’ investment will unlock new opportunities for growth and innovation that drive progress for Henry Ford’s elite head and neck cancer program and benefit patients for decades to come.”
Dr. Kathleen Yaremchuk, chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital, says, “We are incredibly grateful for the generous support of our head and neck cancer program and the exceptional care delivered by Dr. Ghanem and our entire dedicated team.”
Ghanem previously treated Peter Cummings.
“Frankly, I could not have said this before I did my own research as I was contemplating where I would seek my own care,” says Cummings. “But as a community, we are fortunate to have Dr. Ghanem and the Henry Ford Head and Neck Cancer Team. They are not only a top-ranked program in the country, but I found their personalized approach to care second to none. Julie and I feel so fortunate that we are able to invest in advancements that will only build on the already remarkable care provided at Henry Ford Health System.”
Ghanem says he is “honored beyond words” to serve as the first endowed chair. “With this generous gift, we will be able to pursue new discoveries in research, expand our excellence in clinical care and establish an even stronger program,” he says.
The gift will be used to support the program’s highest priority strategic needs. This includes funding for surgical innovations and equipment, expanded clinical trials, data analysis to support treatment decisions, facilitating publication of research findings, and other strategic initiatives that drive discovery and improve patient outcomes.