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Building Hope: Henry Ford’s New Cancer Pavilion

A Healing Environment That Will Transform Cancer

The Henry Ford Cancer Institute is taking a bold step forward in the fight against cancer: a destination site in Detroit for ambulatory cancer treatment, precision medicine, clinical trials and research, and enhanced support services for cancer patients.

Creating an innovative healing environment that matches the world-class care provided by Henry Ford Cancer Institute experts has been a long-time vision.

For our patients, our survivors, our families and all those who travel from near and far, this vision became a reality when we broke ground on June 6, 2017 for the new the Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion. It is expected to open in early 2020.

The Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion

Building hope for the eradication of cancer in Detroit and beyond.

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Our cancer program is one of the largest in Michigan. We treat nearly 5,000 new cancer patients each year. And that number continues to grow. Nationally, cancer cases are expected to increase 20 percent by 2025 - and 40 percent by 2035, according to the Institute of Medicine.

To address this growing need, the Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion is being built south of West Grand Boulevard and north of Interstate 94. The pavilion will include:

  • Approximately 187,000 square feet of space
  • Six floors, including a rooftop garden
  • Skywalk connection to Henry Ford Hospital

Designed by Detroit-based SmithGroupJJR, the new building will feature a contemporary architecture style rich in detail with brick, metal and limestone exterior. It will be flanked entirely by six-stories of glass on the east and west sides to flood the building with natural light.

A shaded, third-floor garden terrace will provide a comfortable and calming experience to patients, families, and employees.

The campus will have ample parking for patients and families and will also feature special gathering places for patient and caregiver support groups, yoga classes, music and art therapy. Turner Construction, also based in Detroit, is managing the project.

Patient services at the Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion

The Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion is designed to create a truly seamless experience that’s unique to each person’s cancer journey.

The new facility will offer person-centered cancer and support services from a central location, giving all patients access to:

  • Nurse navigators specially trained in their specific cancer type, to manage the entire care process
  • All of their cancer doctors and specialists – including radiation oncology, medical oncology, and surgeons – working together on the same floor
  • Extended weekday and weekend hours
  • Integrated lab services with rapid test results
  • Streamlined access to clinical trials, featuring a dedicated area where patients can speak with research nurses about clinical trial opportunities
  • On-site exercise, nutrition, and wellness planning
  • Integrative medicine and personal care items, including food services directed to the tastes of cancer patients.
  • Counseling, spiritual and other support services
  • Lounge areas with computer access

Part of a $500 million, 300-acre vision for revitalizing part of our city, the building will serve as the anchor for Henry Ford Cancer Institute’s network of facilities. This approach ensures that patients have access to cancer treatments close to home, while providing the most advanced care available in the world in an integrated network.

Mort & Brigitte Harris

brigitte harris cancer pavilion donors mort and bridget harris

The building is backed by a $20 million gift from Detroit businessman and philanthropist Mort Harris, in honor of his late wife Brigitte.

The largest individual gift in Henry Ford’s history, the donation is part of a $40 million package to support the building project and three specific program areas: precision medicine, pancreatic cancer and brain cancer.

"Brigitte and I had a real love affair from the moment I met her until her last day,” says Harris. "I was Brigitte’s caregiver for 21 months while she was sick. This was an intimate position to observe the suffering this awful disease caused her, and felt the pain that pancreatic cancer causes its victims and their families. I don't want any other families to have to go through that. I have to do this for her and for them."

Brigitte was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2014 and received care at Henry Ford Hospital. Even during treatment, Harris says, Brigitte never slowed down, caring for her family and tending to her prized rose garden until her final days.

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Building Hope: Henry Ford’s New Cancer Pavilion