Baptist Health South Florida, Baptist Health Foundation, Miami Cancer Institute

Miguel B. Fernandez Family Foundation Grants $5 Million to Baptist Health Foundation to Support Miami Cancer Institute

February 24, 2022

MIAMI, FL – February 24, 2022 – Baptist Health Foundation announced today that the Miguel B. Fernandez Family Foundation has made a $5 million grant to Baptist Health Foundation in support of programs at Baptist Health’s Miami Cancer Institute. The grant will be recognized by the naming of the Fernandez Family Foundation Main Entrance at the Institute.

“We are extremely grateful to the Miguel B. Fernandez Family Foundation for this extraordinary grant,” said Alex Villoch, CEO of Baptist Health Foundation. “Their generous philanthropic support will go far in helping Miami Cancer Institute advance life-saving research and strengthen the well-being of our community.”

Of the total amount of the grant, $3 million will support a breast cancer trial that provides access to contemporary radiation therapy treatment to underserved South Florida women with early-stage breast cancer, as well as other breast cancer research.

The $2 million balance of the grant will establish the Fernandez Family Foundation Endowed Chair in Cancer Research, the Institute’s first endowed chair, to support the work of Manmeet Ahluwalia, M.D., M.B.A., deputy director, chief scientific officer and chief of solid tumor medical oncology at Miami Cancer Institute. Dr. Ahluwalia’s focus is on developing therapeutic clinical trials for primary brain tumors and brain metastases. Since joining Miami Cancer Institute in 2021, he has also worked to fulfill the Institute’s mission of increasing minority enrollment as principal investigator in clinical trials.

“It is truly an honor to be recognized with Miami Cancer Institute’s first endowed chair,” said Dr.Ahluwalia. “The grant will further our goal of enrolling more local cancer patients in clinical trials, focusing on the types of cancer that disproportionately affect minority groups, in order to improve outcomes.”

Miami Cancer Institute, which opened in 2017, cares for an average of 1,200 patients each day. The Institute provides unparalleled expertise in individual cancers, and access to the world’s latest cancer discoveries, most effective treatments and best outcomes – all right here in South Florida.

“This grant marks a milestone for Miami Cancer Institute,” said Michael J. Zinner, M.D., CEO and executive medical director. “In addition to helping advance research into breast cancer as it affects underserved patients, it will elevate the stature of the Institute and allow us to draw luminary physicians and researchers from around the world.”

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

About Miami Cancer Institute

Miami Cancer Institute brings to South Florida access to personalized clinical treatments and comprehensive support services delivered with unparalleled compassion. No other cancer program in the region has the combination of cancer-fighting expertise and advanced technology—including the first proton therapy center in South Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean, and one of the only radiation oncology programs in the world with each of the newest radiation therapies in one place—to diagnose and deliver precise cancer treatments that achieve the best outcomes and improve the lives of cancer patients. The Institute offers an impressive roster of established community oncologists and renowned experts, clinical researchers and genomic scientists recruited from the nation’s top cancer centers. Selected as Florida’s only member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer (MSK) Alliance, Miami Cancer Institute is part of a meaningful clinical collaboration that affords patients in South Florida access to innovative treatments and ensures that the standards of care developed by their multidisciplinary disease management teams match those at MSK.

Miami Cancer Institute is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 12 hospitals, more than 24,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to its faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.

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