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UM Health-West announces landmark gifts totaling $3.1 million, leading the way to new era in cardiovascular care

A group of community leaders has invested in the health of West Michigan with gifts totaling $3.1 million, opening a new era of cardiovascular care and advanced open-heart surgery, University of Michigan Health-West officials announced today.

The gifts collectively are among the largest the nonprofit health system has ever received. Contributions have come from a group of West Michigan leaders, including UM Health-West Foundation emeritus board member Stephen Klotz and family, and a transformational gift from the Steve and Amy Van Andel Foundation.

“This is a landmark moment in the lives of heart patients for generations to come,” said Dr. Peter Hahn, UM Health-West president and CEO. “A new era of cardiovascular care begins today, thanks to a group of people who have invested in making West Michigan a vibrant and thriving community.”

UM Health-West launched the state’s newest open-heart surgery program in 2022 at its hospital in Wyoming through the Cardiovascular Network of West Michigan. That joint operating agreement forms a regionwide clinical team with Trinity Health in Grand Rapids and Muskegon, while also drawing on more than 125 years of cardiovascular leadership at UM’s Frankel Cardiovascular Center in Ann Arbor.

“West Michigan patients now have even greater local access to leading heart experts, researchers and surgeons – and that’s just the beginning. We know that there are more exciting advancements ahead,” said Steve Van Andel, who also serves as chairman of the UM Health-West board of directors. “Amy and I are so proud to support UM Health-West’s mission to provide innovative treatment options and excellent care right here in our hometown.”

Hahn noted the launch of the open-heart surgery program opens the door to even more advanced cardiovascular care and paves the way for future breakthroughs.

“We are building a region-leading cardiovascular program, a destination for people seeking the best options in their fight against heart disease,” Hahn said. “This gift brings that better future within reach.”

“Before open-heart surgery began at UM Health-West, Grand Rapids was the state’s largest market limited to a single option for open-heart surgery,” said UM Health-West Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ronald Grifka.

“Thanks to the support of the Van Andels and other forward-thinking donors, the people of Grand Rapids now have choice,” Grifka said. “That’s important, because not only is heart disease the No. 1 cause of death, it’s also a leading driver of healthcare cost. With choice and increased local access to world-class care, we help keep care local and expenses down. That’s good for everyone.”

The gifts were announced at the UM Health-West Foundation’s annual fundraising gala, Vitality, which this year emphasized support for the system’s growing cardiovascular programs.

UM Health-West Foundation Director Jaime Counterman thanked the donors for being strong partners in the nonprofit health system’s mission of advancing health to serve West Michigan.

“This group of donors represent the best of West Michigan’s generosity,” Counterman said. “Their far-reaching gifts will save and change lives for a generation. We are grateful for their leadership in providing the world-class care West Michigan deserves.”