Cleveland, OH,
10:16 AM

Arts Project Addressing Toxic Stress Earns National Recognition

A prevention program developed by MetroHealth to address toxic stress experienced by students within the Cleveland Metropolitan School District has earned national recognition.

The SAFE (Students Are Free to Express) Project earned a 2020 Hamilton International Arts in Health Award from the National Organization for Arts in Health (NOAH).

The first-place award in the category of Arts Advancing Social Justice is in recognition of the program's impact on socioeconomically and racially oppressed communities. The Hamilton Awards are evaluated by a panel of national and international judges and are awarded by the National Organization for Arts in Health (NOAH).

SAFE is an arts-based, psychologically informed primary prevention model designed to address mental health and well-being in urban youth exposed to trauma and toxic stress. Founded in 2018, the project is a collaboration between MetroHealth's School Health and Arts in Health programs and arts partners Kulture Kids, Inlet Dance Theatre and The Black Card Project.

More than 1,000 CMSD students from pre-kindergarten through first grade and 9th through11th grade have been exposed to SAFE Project programming, including spoken word poetry, music, visual art and dance.​

MetroHealth staff leading the project are Lisa Ramirez, PhD, director of community and behavioral health for the School Health Program; Linda Jackson, director, Arts in Health; Katie Davis, director, School Health Program; Courtney Hutchinson, coordinator, Arts in Health community programming and Alexandrea Golden, PhD, postdoctoral research fellow

A generous donation in 2019 from JoAnn and Bob Glick is enabling expansion of the program to reach and impact even more students.

About The MetroHealth System

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.

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