Sparrow receives $5M to expand Precision Medicine Program

Published: March 14, 2021

LANSING, MI – James and Judith Herbert of Lansing have made a $5-million donation, the largest in Sparrow’s history, to establish an endowment for the advancement of genomics and precision medicine at the Sparrow Herbert-Herman Cancer Center.

The donation to the Sparrow Foundation is earmarked to create The Genomics Endowment for Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer and provides for a new Director of Cancer Genomics at Sparrow to oversee and grow the program. Growth of the genomics program at the Sparrow Herbert-Herman Cancer Center will profoundly impact people from across Mid-Michigan for decades to come.

The Herberts are both cancer survivors themselves and were among the lead donors to Sparrow’s campaign to build a new cancer center in 2014. The Herbert-Herman Cancer Center opened in 2017.

“Cancer genomics is the future,” said James Herman, M.D., longtime Sparrow oncologist and cancer center leader. “Genomics play an increasing role in diagnosis and treatment.  This incredible gift to the Herbert-Herman Cancer Center by the Herbert family will ensure that patients continue to have the best cancer care close to home and receive leading-edge care equivalent to anywhere in the nation.”

The Herberts made the first of 101 individual gifts to Sparrow in 1995; their commitment to cancer care began in 2008-2009 with the creation of an outdoor terrace for cancer patients and their families.

Jim and Judi Herbert Story Photo | March 2022

James Herbert is the founder of Neogen Corp., and has been a national leader in food and animal safety research. He and his wife have long promoted the value of genomics and precision medicine, which involves the use of a patient’s genomic information to personalize care. In cancer patients, it means analyzing the specific makeup of a tumor to guide care, rather than applying a one-size-fits-all approach..

Sparrow is Mid-Michigan’s leader in precision medicine and was recently selected to participate in a landmark clinical trial using precision medicine techniques on breast cancer patients. The clinical trial also includes such institutions as the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic.

The Herberts want others to share in their dedication and lend their support to exceptional local cancer care through the endowment. They say they are indebted to Sparrow for the care they’ve received over the years and for keeping leading-edge medicine and highly skilled physicians close to home so Mid-Michigan residents don’t have to travel out of town for exceptional treatment.

The Sparrow Foundation fosters and creates strong community partnerships that help Sparrow uphold that commitment. The foundation has begun a comprehensive campaign, “For every story, there’s Sparrow,” to support the $800-million capital improvement plan announced last year, with projects spanning the region.

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Sparrow is Mid-Michigan’s premier healthcare organization and includes hospitals in Lansing, Carson City, Charlotte, Ionia, and St. Johns, as well as Sparrow Specialty Hospital, Physicians Health Plan, Sparrow Care Network, Sparrow Medical Group, Michigan Athletic Club, and AL!VE. Sparrow is affiliated with Michigan Medicine through the Sparrow Children’s Center and with Michigan State University’s three human health colleges. Through these partnerships and the dedication of our 10,000 Caregivers, Sparrow pursues a vision to be nationally recognized as a leader in quality and Patient experience. For more information, visit