Baptist Health Foundation Presents Endowed Chair Ceremony for Manmeet S. Ahluwalia, M.D.
MIAMI, FL – September 29, 2023– Manmeet S. Ahluwalia, M.D., MBA, FASCO, Chief of Medical Oncology, Chief Scientific Officer and Deputy Director of Miami Cancer Institute and Baptist Health Cancer Care, part of Baptist Health, was installed as the Fernandez Family Foundation Endowed Chair in Cancer Research in a ceremony and dinner on September 28, 2023, hosted by Miguel (Mike) and Constance Fernandez in Coral Gables, Florida. The program was led by Bo Boulenger, president and CEO of Baptist Health; Joe Natoli, EVP and chief administrative officer of Baptist Health; Alex Villoch, CEO of Baptist Health Foundation; and Michael Zinner, M.D., CEO and executive medical director of Miami Cancer Institute and Baptist Health Cancer Care.
The endowed chair was established in 2022 with a $2 million gift from the Miguel B. Fernandez Family Foundation, part of a $5 million grant to Baptist Health Foundation that will support other cancer research initiatives and clinical trials at the Institute.
“We are thrilled to be a part of this important occasion supporting Dr. Ahluwalia’s vision at Miami Cancer Institute,” said Alex Villoch. “The generosity of the Fernandez Family Foundation will have an enormous impact on cancer research, benefiting our patients and community today and for decades to come.”
The endowment will support the work of Dr. Ahluwalia, whose research focuses on developing therapeutic clinical trials for primary brain tumors and brain metastases using novel identifying markers to determine whether a patient will respond to a new therapy. Since joining Miami Cancer Institute in 2021 as Chief Scientific Officer, he has also worked to fulfill the Institute’s mission of increasing minority enrollment in clinical trials.
Dr. Ahluwalia has been a leader in organized efforts in oncology. He currently serves as the chair of the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) South-West Oncology Group (SWOG) Brain Tumor Working Group and co-chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of SWOG. He also chairs the Scientific Review Committee of the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. He also serves as a member of the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) Roundtable Committee and as founder PI of the coordinating site for the International Radiosurgery Research Foundation.
He is recipient of several prestigious awards including the Fellowship of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the National Cancer Institute/CTEP Career Development Award via the American Brain Tumor Consortium (ABTC), ASCO Leadership Development Program and the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin Most Distinguished Physician award.
“I am honored to officially accept this endowed chair,” said Dr. Ahluwalia. “Ever since I was a young child, when I lost my grandmother to cancer, my goal has been to find a cure for cancer and treat those who bravely fight this disease. This endowment will fund the groundbreaking research and clinical trials to provide the most advanced treatment options to our patients.”
The gift establishing the endowed chair was provided through the philanthropic support of the Fernandez Family Foundation under the auspices of Mike Fernandez, founder,
CEO and chairman of MBF Healthcare Partners. Mr. Fernandez, who emigrated from Cuba in 1964, has led the creation and successful divestiture more than two dozen healthcare companies.
Inspired by their immigrant success story, Mr. Fernandez and his family believe in giving back to the community that have embraced them. The Fernandez Family Foundation supports causes they care most about, including education, immigration and healthcare.
“The decision to establish the Fernandez Family Endowed Chair in Cancer Research made complete sense, because it truly reflects our core values,” said Mike Fernandez. “Dr. Ahluwalia is himself an immigrant from India who came to the U.S. with a dream, and his research is making an impact on cancer treatment, particularly for minority communities. His team’s discoveries will educate the next generation of oncologists and lead the future of cancer medicine.”
About Baptist Health Foundation
The mission of Baptist Health Foundation is to inspire philanthropy and build extraordinary donor relationships in support of excellence, innovation, community wellness and global leadership in healthcare at Baptist Health South Florida. Through philanthropy, the Foundation supports and expands Baptist Health’s ability to provide outstanding patient care and bring the latest treatments to patients and families affected by a serious illness. Donor contributions also allow the Foundation to assist Baptist Health facilities in keeping pace with technology and equipment advances, perform cutting-edge research and offer continuing education opportunities to medical staff. Learn more at BaptistHealth.net/Foundation and connect with us on Facebook and Instagram.