The U-M Cardiovascular Center will be named in honor of the late Samuel and Jean Frankel, whose foundation provided early support of the center’s innovative model for caring for people with cardiovascular disease.
The Board of Regents approved the naming March 21 to recognize the Frankels’ groundbreaking support of the CVC. Their gifts to advance health care and culture at U-M are among the most generous in school history, and their heritage of philanthropy has elevated scholarship and culture worldwide.
A $25 million gift from the Samuel and Jean Frankel Foundation to the Cardiovascular Center was announced anonymously when the center opened in 2007, and this marks the first time the donor has been named publicly.
The gift offered immediate support for the Cardiovascular Center’s clinical approach, a model never before attempted by a health care institution, which emphasizes cooperation among health care providers and puts patients and families first.
An additional $25 million was pledged on condition the Cardiovascular Center met certain goals agreed upon by the donor and leaders of the center. Pleased with the success in meeting those goals, the family has committed the latest gift.
“It is with enormous pride that we are affiliated with Samuel and Jean Frankel, whose belief allowed us to create a path for others to follow,” said Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, executive vice president for medical affairs and CEO of the U-M Health System.
“The gift guarantees that innovative approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of patients and families with cardiovascular disease will continue at Michigan and provide a national model,” Pescovitz said.
Highlights of that model are patient- and family-centered care, and cooperation, excellence and results in all areas of the center’s operations: clinical care, research and education.
The Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center’s four physician directors and chief administrative officer call the gift an investment in the future of health care.
“Medical professionals often work in the ‘silo’ of their own specialty, partly because of tradition and partly due to financial incentives that encourage an ‘everyone-for-themselves’ mentality. The directors of the Frankel Cardiovascular Center are striving to change that, and prove that there is a better way,” according to the leaders.
In addition to providing world-class care for their own patients, Cardiovascular Center members are leading efforts to improve the quality of heart attack care, heart failure care, heart surgery, angioplasty, stroke care, and peripheral arterial disease care at numerous Michigan hospitals, and to publish results of those efforts so that doctors and hospitals nationwide can learn from them.
The Frankel Cardiovascular Center brings together all of UMHS’ specialists in preventing, treating and studying heart disease, blood vessel disorders and stroke — from cardiac surgeons and intensive-care nurses to laboratory scientists, cardiologists and heart-imaging specialists.
No matter where they are treated, patients are cared for by teams that include members of different medical and surgical specialties — all working together to determine the best course of diagnostic testing, medication, procedures, operations and preventive strategies for each patient.
This represents a change of culture for medicine because it emphasizes teamwork among health care providers, patients and families.
Once students at LSA, Jean Frankel (B.A. ’36) and her husband, a longtime Detroit-area real estate developer, provided funding in 2004 to create the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies, which was the largest gift to LSA at the time.
“Jean and Samuel Frankel have made a lasting impact on our university with their generosity. Their deep support of the CVC has had an equally profound effect on the lives of patients and their families, which makes their gift all the more transformative,” said President Mary Sue Coleman.
In line with the donor’s vision, the Frankel Cardiovascular Center will continue to be led by a team: physician leaders who work together to steer its operations. There are four directors — cardiologists Dr. Kim Eagle and Dr. David Pinsky, cardiac surgeon Dr. Richard Prager, and vascular surgeon Dr. James Stanley — who will ensure the gift is used to further the CVC’s mission and vision.
Dr. Melvin Lester, special assistant to the executive vice president for medical affairs, has served as an adviser to the UMHS leadership and center directors on major gifts and program planning.
“The ultimate test of the wisdom of this venture is the Frankel Cardiovascular Center’s contribution to the improvement in the well-being of those who are threatened by the world’s leading cause of death, cardiovascular disease,” Lester said. “We are poised for this challenge and are ready to make a difference.”
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