50 Years and counting for MetroHealth's Dr. Frits van der Kuyp
When Frits van der Kuyp, MD, started working here in 1969, one of the most iconic buildings in MetroHealth’s history wasn’t even open. “I built the Towers,” he jokes. He’s now witnessing MetroHealth's Transformation.
What’s been most important to Dr. van der Kuyp isn’t the buildings, but the people. “I’ve been very fortunate to work with the people here and to see some impact with patients,” he says.
Dr. van der Kuyp, former director of the Tuberculosis Program, has been a part of the MetroHealth community for 50 years. His colleagues recently marked the milestone with a celebration that featured treats, hugs and gratitude for his desire to continue sharing his knowledge. Although he officially retired “a few years ago,” you can still find him in the TB clinic a couple of Wednesdays a month, where he reviews cases and attends conferences.
“Dr. van der Kuyp has been a national leader in the care of tuberculosis,” says Catherine Curley, MD. “He participated in numerous public health trials that later established the standards of care for both the treatment and prevention of tuberculosis. It is a privilege to work with him and to learn from him. Dr. van der Kuyp is also a skilled teacher. He has taught generations of young physicians about the interpretation of chest X-rays, diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis, and also occupational lung diseases."
Dr. van der Kuyp says his work at MetroHealth has been rewarding. “I’ve had an opportunity to start an observation program (for TB patients). At other places, the standard was to just give people medicine; a large number of patients didn’t take their medicine. But when I came here we started a program to observe treatment. We were one of the first, and this later became a standard.”
He says the most fulfilling aspect of his work has been those changes in care. “TB is a public health problem. We’ve been able to treat and help a very large number of people and hopefully been able to prevent others from getting sick. We emphasize the preventive aspect. In TB, that’s a good thing.”
The MetroHealth System is redefining health care by going beyond medical treatment to improve the foundations of community health and well-being: affordable housing, a cleaner environment, economic opportunity and access to fresh food, convenient transportation, legal help and other services. The system strives to become as good at preventing disease as it is at treating it.
The system’s more than 600 doctors, 1,700 nurses and 7,800 employees go to work each day with a mission of service, to their patients and to the community. As Cuyahoga County’s safety-net health system, MetroHealth plays an essential role in the region, caring for anyone and everyone, regardless of an ability to pay.
Founded in 1837, MetroHealth operates four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites throughout Cuyahoga County. The system serves more than 300,000 patients, two-thirds of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.
MetroHealth is home to Cuyahoga County’s most experienced Level I Adult Trauma Center, verified since 1992, and Ohio’s only adult and pediatric trauma and burn center.
As an academic medical center, MetroHealth is committed to research and to teaching and training tomorrow’s caregivers. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Its main campus hospital houses the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Lincoln-West School of Science & Health, the only high school in America located inside a hospital.
Knowing that good health is about much more than good medical care, MetroHealth has launched the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ (Health, Opportunity, Partnership, Empowerment), which uses a coordinated, collaborative and strategic approach to help patients with non-medical needs such as healthy food, stable housing and job training.
The MetroHealth Glick Center, a new 11-floor hospital, is under construction on the system’s main campus in Cleveland and is scheduled to welcome its first patients in October 2022. The billion-dollar project is the cornerstone of a wider neighborhood revitalization effort led by the system and its partners in the community.
For more information, visit metrohealth.org.