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Our History

Sylvester Through the Years

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of UHealth – the University of Miami Health System, is the only academic-based cancer center in South Florida and serves as the hub for cancer-related research, diagnosis, and treatment at UHealth.

1973 - COMPREHENSIVE CANCER CENTER OF SOUTH FLORIDA

The cancer center’s rich history dates back to 1973, when it was known as the Comprehensive Cancer Center for the State of Florida.

1974 - CANCER CONTROL RESEARCH PROGRAM

In 1974, the first Cancer Control Research Program for the State of Florida was initiated at the cancer center by Dr. Jack Healey.

1976 - REGIONAL CANCER INFORMATION SERVICE IS ESTABLISHED

The Regional Cancer Information Service office, funded by the National Cancer Institute, was established at Sylvester in 1976. The Cancer Information Service was the foremost source of cancer information for patients, their families, the general public, and health professionals in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

1986 - HARCOURT SYLVESTER JR. PLEDGES $27.5 MILLION

In 1986, philanthropist Harcourt Sylvester Jr. pledged $27.5 million to benefit cancer programs at the medical school. In recognition of the largest gift to date to the University of Miami, the cancer center was renamed Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in honor of Mr. Sylvester’s parents, Harcourt Sr. and Virginia. To date, the Harcourt M. and Virginia W. Sylvester Foundation has committed more than $50 million to the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine.

1989 - BREAKING GROUND

Groundbreaking for the new clinical facility was held on May 17, 1989.

1992 - SYLVESTER COMPREHENSIVE CANCER CENTER OPENS ITS DOORS

After three years of construction, the 117,500 square-foot cancer center opened its doors in June 1992.

2012 - DR. STEPHEN D. NIMER ARRIVES

Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., joined the cancer center as director in 2012. A renowned leukemia and lymphoma expert, Dr. Nimer took the helm at Sylvester after 20 years at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, where he held the Alfred P. Sloan Chair.

2015 - CENTER OF EXCELLENCE

Sylvester was designated a Cancer Center of Excellence by the State of Florida in March 2015, one of only four in the state. Also in 2015, a study by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York showed that patients treated at Sylvester have a 10 percent higher chance of survival than patients treated at other hospitals.

PRESENT DAY

Sylvester now has more than 300 cancer-focused physicians and researchers, including more than 100 cancer experts recruited from the nation’s top cancer institutions over the past three years.

Physicians and researchers at Sylvester discover, develop, and deliver more-targeted therapies leading to better outcomes. At Sylvester, patients have access to more treatment options and more cancer clinical trials than most hospitals in the southeastern United States.

The Sylvester Family. From left to right: Laura Sylvester, Harcourt Sylvester, Jr., Jayne Malfitano
From left to right: Dr. W. Jarrard Goodwin, Dr. John G. Clarkson, Joaquin Blaya, Jay Weiss, Mike Abrams, Dr. Bernard J. Fogel, Dr. Gerard Kaiser