A Lasting Tribute to a Loving Physician
November 10, 2022
Every day, physicians throughout Hackensack Meridian Health display devotion, compassion and sincerity when they care for patients. For 35 years, beloved physician Michael B. Harris, M.D., director emeritus of the Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health Children’s Cancer Institute, former director of the Cure and Beyond Survivorship Program and a founder of the pediatric cancer program at Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, did just that.
To celebrate his legacy and to give back in honor of all that Dr. Harris gave to the children under his care, former patients and current friends and family gathered to celebrate his retirement over the summer. In gratitude for his compassion and dedication, they made generous gifts in honor of Dr. Harris, including one in the amount of $1 million from an anonymous donor that established the Michael B. Harris, M.D., Professorship at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine and the Children’s Cancer Institute, to make certain that his legacy will be carried on forever.
The professorship is an endowed position - one of the most prestigious in academia - that will be awarded to the physician serving in the role of chief of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant/Cellular Therapy at the Children’s Hospital and faculty at the School of Medicine. It will support the chief’s academic goals in clinical investigations and translational research and fund key positions that encourage further growth and evolution in the treatment and care of children with blood disorders and cancers.
Hackensack Meridian Health maintains a strong commitment to world-class education and training for medical students, residents and fellows. This gift will further support this mission while etching Dr. Harris’ legacy into the organization’s history books and directly impacting the cutting-edge care our youngest and sickest patients need and deserve.
Dr. Harris developed the Children’s Cancer Institute 35 years ago with the goal of providing cutting-edge therapy to children with blood disorders and cancer, and establishing an atmosphere conducive to their care and cure by creating a strong psycho-social presence. In addition to physicians and nurses, the Children’s Cancer Institute team is made up of social workers, child life specialists, psychologists and educational liaisons who take care of the patients and their families’ needs. Today, the Children’s Cancer Institute remains dedicated to performing careful clinical and translational research that brings discoveries found in the laboratory, directly to the bedside.
Dr. Harris also co-developed the Cure and Beyond Survivorship Program at the Children’s Cancer Institute, which has provided patients with continued care needed beyond their cancer diagnosis and cure. To date, thousands of patients have been treated.
Dr. Harris has brought pediatric cancer care and research to new heights in New Jersey and beyond, and we cannot thank our donors enough who so graciously supported the creation of the Michael B. Harris, M.D., Professorship.