ANN ARBOR — The University of Michigan 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 University’s Board of Regents approved the naming last week to recognize Samuel and Jean Frankel’s groundbreaking support of the UM CVC. Gifts from the Frankels to advance health care and culture at the 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 U-M Cardiovascular Center was announced anonymously when the Center opened in 2007, and today 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 that 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 Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D., executive vice president for medical affairs at the University of Michigan and chief executive officer of the UM 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.”

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.

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 the UM Health System’s 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.

Samuel and Jean Frankel were generous donors to the Center for Jewish Studies in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.  The Center was renamed Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies in recognition of their support.

Once students at LSA, Jean Frankel (BA ’36) and her husband, long-time Detroit-area real estate developer Samuel Frankel, provided funding in 2004 to create the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies, which was the largest gift to the LSA at the time.

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 — cardiologist Kim Eagle, M.D.; cardiologist David Pinsky, M.D.; cardiac surgeon Richard Prager, M.D.; and vascular surgeon James Stanley, M.D. — who will ensure the gift is used to further the CVC’s mission and vision.

Melvin Lester, M.D., special assistant to the executive vice president for medical affairs at the UM, has served as an advisor to the UMHS leadership and Center directors on major gifts and program planning.


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