June 5, 2019

Faculty members named 2019 Health Care Heroes

Two members of the Wayne State University School of Medicine faculty have been named 2019 Health Care Heroes by Crain's Detroit Business magazine.

Elisabeth Heath, M.D., FACP, Wayne State University School of Medicine Professor of Oncology and associate center director of Translational Sciences at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, was named the Health Care Hero in the Physician category.

Thomas Forbes, M.D., clinical professor of WSU Pediatrics and director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, won in the Innovation category.

Dr. Heath is the associate center director of Translational Sciences and leads the Genitourinary Oncology Multidisciplinary Team at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. She is the medical director of the Infusion Center and director of prostate cancer research.

She has had a distinguished career as a prostate cancer researcher, focusing on clinical and translational research trials in genitourinary oncology with critical attention to the area of health disparities. In addition, she has served as president of the KCI Medical Executive Committee, a member of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate for the Wayne State University School of Medicine and is a member of the board of directors of the state-sponsored Michigan Cancer Consortium.

In metropolitan Detroit, she has become the face of caring treatment and concern for prostate cancer patients. The media has learned that if it needs information on prostate cancer, Dr. Heath is their go-to expert. She and her colleague, Dr. Isaac Powell, have gone into the community to spread the word about prostate cancer and its symptoms for several years, often meeting in settings designed to put men at ease, including Harley-Davidson dealerships.

In naming Dr. Heath a Health Care Hero, Crain’s cited how in 2009 she developed the national Prostate Cancer Advocacy Program, which trains 10 cancer survivors and caregivers annually to “enhance Karmanos’ community education, awareness and screening efforts, especially within the African-American community.”

Read the Crain’s profile on Dr. Heath here.

Dr. Forbes was selected for leading one of three teams nationally to implement a new less-invasive technique to address patent ductus arteriosus. In babies born with the condition, a connection between the aorta and pulmonary artery doesn't close. The condition affects a majority of pre-term infants.

Instead of surgically opening the chest to correct the situation, Dr. Forbes is utilizing a new procedure that relies upon catheter through a vein in the leg to place a specialized plug developed by Abbott Laboratories. Children's Hospital of Michigan began the Food and Drug Administration trials of the procedure in 2017.
Dr. Forbes will soon train other surgeons about the device and procedure.

Read the Crain’s profile on Dr. Forbes here.