Miller School Donors Help Build Enhanced Services for Sylvester/UMHC Patients

This spring the Miller School of Medicine will welcome two exciting expansions to Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center/University of Miami Hospital and Clinics (UMHC). While the two projects, one supporting pediatric oncology and the other neurology, are as different as the donors who made them possible, they both strengthen the Miller School’s commitment to investing in leading-edge facilities and equipment that enhance our position as a premier academic medical center.

Thanks to a $2 million gift from businessman, philanthropist, and UM alumnus Alexander “Alex” Daly, UHealth-University of Miami Health System’s youngest cancer patients soon will receive outpatient care in a brand new, state-of-the-art facility that caters to the unique needs of children. Alex’s Place—a 3,200-plus-square-foot pediatric hematology-oncology clinic—is set to open at Sylvester this spring.

More than a treatment site for children with cancer and blood diseases, Alex’s Place is designed to empower young patients and support their families. Each chemotherapy bay will be equipped with a flat-screen monitor that can be used to watch videos or as a computer; the ceilings in each exam room are decorated with soothing images and kid-friendly colors and themes; and the common areas are designed to be interactive with fun games and activities for children and their families.

“Children are different than adults,” says UM President Donna E. Shalala, “and they need a health care system that understands that.”

“From the moment a kid walks into the doctor’s office and gets a cancer diagnosis, he or she knows from that moment forward their life has changed,” says Daly. A father himself, Daly was motivated to support the project by the opportunity to make a tangible difference. “It’s so easy to write a check and be done with it, but I want to make sure this is more. The gift I made to start Alex’s Place at UHealth turned out to be the biggest gift I ever gave myself.”

Also debuting this spring will be the Robert M. and Judith K. Cornfeld Neuroimaging Research Program, which will be housed in large part in a new wing on the rear south side of Sylvester. A gift from Robert Cornfeld, D.D.S., and his wife Judith funded the space for an additional MRI system specifically dedicated to neurological research.

A former orthodontist, Cornfeld, who left dentistry 20 years ago to build a thriving commercial real estate business, knows a good investment when he sees one. “I’m very excited,” says Cornfeld, “because, from what I understand, this new MRI technology will enable the Miller School to attract more researchers and clinicians into the area of neurology. The Miller School is an excellent resource for research and clinical treatment, and a resource of the Miller School’s quality is sorely needed here in South Florida.”

“These two projects exemplify the direction in which we are headed here at the Miller School of Medicine,” says Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D. Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and CEO of UHealth “It gives me goose bumps when I think of what is going on here now—and what will happen in the future—in terms of research, care, and treatment. Alex’s Place and the Cornfeld Neuroimaging Research Program mark a huge step in the history of health care and further UHealth’s position as a world-class center for healing and care—and hope for future generations.”

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