University of Miami and Miami-Dade leaders paid tribute to Michael S. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., a legendary Miller School of Medicine researcher, clinician and educator, on
Wednesday, August 15, at the co-designation of the Dr. Michael S. Gordon Plaza on NW 14th Street at Highland Road. The ceremony was presented by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, Vice Chairwoman Audrey M. Edmonson and City of Miami Commissioner Wifredo (Willy) Gort.
“Dr. Gordon exemplified what it means to be a faculty member at our Miller School of Medicine,” said UM President Julio Frenk. “He was a dedicated teacher who instilled in his students a love of technology and an understanding of the human side of medicine. His research saved countless lives, and he was dedicated to serving the entire community.”
More than 100 Miller School professionals, first-responders, family members and friends honored the legacy of Gordon, who spent 41 years on the Miller School faculty from 1966 until his death in 2017. During his distinguished tenure, Gordon created Harvey, the world’s first cardiopulmonary patient simulator; UMedic, an innovative training program; and founded the Michael S. Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education.
“Today’s dedication is a fitting tribute for a great man and a dear friend who transformed the way we provide emergency care here, and around the country and the world,” said Gimenez, who worked with Gordon in the 1990s to transform training for Miami-Dade’s first-responders. “Mike developed life-saving protocols for handling heart attacks and other medical emergencies. Today, we have the finest emergency medical systems in the world, due in no small part to his work.”
Edward Abraham, M.D., Executive Vice President for Health Affairs and CEO of UHealth – the University of Miami Health System, called Gordon “an innovative giant” in medical education and patient care. “He was a pioneer and we are following in his footsteps, as we transform the delivery of medicine,” he added.
Miller School Dean Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A., called Gordon a role model for today’s students to emulate. He cited Gordon’s intelligence, curiosity, creativity, tenacity, leadership and humility.
“When developing his simulator, he didn't call it Michael Gordon,” said Ford. “Instead, he named it for his mentor [cardiologist Proctor Harvey, M.D]. That teaches all of us the importance of giving back.”
After unveiling the new Michael Gordon Plaza nameplate with members of her family, Lynda Gordon thanked attendees for commemorating her husband’s legacy.
“Michael had a saying, ‘If you want to go faster, go alone, but if you want to go further, go together,’” she said. “Michael encouraged his students to go further.”
Over the years, the Gordons have provided ongoing financial support to the Gordon Center and endowed a chair for its director, S. Barry Issenberg, M.D., Senior Associate Dean for Research in Medical Education. They have also funded scholarships for medical students and made donations to the Richter Library, Frost School of Music, Jerry Herman Ring Theatre, Department of Athletics and other programs.
“The Gordons have been generous supporters of UM, donating their time and treasure,” said Frenk. “Now, with the dedication of this plaza, we can honor Michael Gordon’s life and legacy in perpetuity.”