Faculty and Staff Support the U: Medical Education Pioneer is a Donor for All Seasons
Over his long and distinguished career at the University of Miami’s Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, Michael Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., revolutionized medical education around the world. He created Harvey, the world’s first cardiopulmonary patient simulator, and UMedic, an innovative computer- and web-based program, to train physicians, emergency responders and military personnel to save countless lives.
“Our University has given me every opportunity to apply my ideas to education and supported these innovations,” says Gordon, the founder and director emeritus of the Michael S. Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education. “I will always be grateful to the U.”
With his wife, Lynda, Gordon provides ongoing financial support to the Gordon Center and raised funds to endow a chair for its director, S. Barry Issenberg, M.D., Associate Dean for Research in Medical Education and the Michael S. Gordon Professor of Medicine.
A donor for all seasons, Gordon also has funded scholarships for medical students, and contributed to the Richter Library, Frost School of Music, Jerry Herman Ring Theatre, Department of Athletics and other programs.
“My mother, Dorée, was a leading lady on Broadway at age 17 who gave up her career to marry my father, Lee,” Gordon recalls. “By supporting the University’s theater and music programs, we honor her memory. I also love watching the ‘Canes play football and bought the best season tickets as soon as I could afford to do so.”
A native of Chicago, Gordon planned to become a research biochemist and earned his doctorate before training with renowned cardiologist Proctor Harvey, M.D., his mentor and the “godfather” of the patient simulator. Robert Boucek, M.D., the chair of cardiology at the time, invited Gordon to join the UM faculty in 1966, launching his remarkable academic career.
Gordon’s first cardiology patients included several airline pilots who had honed their piloting skills on flight simulators. Recognizing that simulators also could help medical students improve their bedside cardiac examination skills, Gordon built his first version of Harvey in 1968. Today, at the touch of a button, the life-sized mannequin realistically simulates nearly every cardiac disease by varying blood pressure, pulses, heart sounds, murmurs and breathing.
In the 1980s, Gordon went on to develop a computer-based learning system, now called UMedic, which provides web-based training for cardiology, neurology and emergency medicine skills worldwide. Through the Gordon Center, the University also trains thousands of paramedics, Army field surgeons and other personnel in many advanced life support procedures.
Last year, Gordon received the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s most prestigious healthcare honor, the AXA Advisors Lifetime Achievement Award.
“By helping those who serve and protect our citizens and our country, we have been able to reduce mortality tremendously,” says Gordon, who stepped down as director in December. “The Miller School of Medicine plays a unique role in medical education, and it is a privilege and pleasure for me to give back to our University.”
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