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November 20, 2014

Dear Colleagues,

As we prepare to spend time with our families and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday, let’s draw inspiration from all we do as a UM family united by a common purpose:

Building a Better U TogetherAt the U, we transform lives through teaching, research, and service.

It doesn’t get much clearer than that.

Just ask Ivanna Vidal. Ivanna carries a mutation on the BRCA2 gene, which increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and she has an extensive family history of breast cancer. Months after an ovarian cancer screening came back normal, a follow-up exam uncovered a mass on her right ovary. She underwent combined preventive and exploratory surgery to remove her ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus and to conduct a biopsy, which revealed she had advanced-stage ovarian cancer. Happily that’s not the end of the story.

Three months later as a patient of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s newly opened Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Clinic, Ivanna is receiving lifesaving care from UHealth physicians and other specialists, like Dr. Brian Slomovitz, division director of gynecologic oncology at Sylvester. Early detection of ovarian cancer is key to successful outcomes, and Ivanna’s story, which was featured in The Miami Herald and on WSVN News in September, has already inspired other women to get screened and offered encouragement to those facing similar diagnoses. Click on the video to see her story.

There are countless stories like Ivanna’s at the U—people whose lives are transformed by the work we do each and every day. As we continue our journey of Building a Better U Together, we will look for opportunities to highlight our shared values and exemplary behaviors—which are expressed through our outstanding teaching, research, and service. To learn more about our ongoing culture transformation initiative, click here.

With my deepest gratitude and very best wishes to all,