HHS Health Workforce Initiative Brings Secretary Becerra and Congresswoman Brown to MetroHealth
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra traveled to Cleveland and MetroHealth on July 6 to highlight the recently launched HHS Health Workforce Initiative. Its aim is to support, strengthen, and grow the health workforce by leveraging federal investments and programs at a time when that workforce not only needs more individuals to join the ranks, but people who look like the communities they serve.
Becerra toured the Lincoln-West School of Science and Health at MetroHealth, accompanied by MetroHealth President and CEO Dr. Airica Steed, Ed.D, RN, MBA, FACHE; U.S. Congresswoman Shontel Brown (D-OH, 11th District) and U.S. Congresswoman Emilia Sykes (D-OH, 13th District).
As the only high school in the country housed in a health care system, Lincoln-West was lifted up as a successful model of what can be done.
“It’s a model we believe should be replicated in hospitals across the country, a model that can solve so many problems in one simple, brilliant idea,” said Dr. Steed. “We’re proud to be the first in the country, but it’s our responsibility not to be the ‘only.’ We need to amplify and translate this across the country so we can start to plant that seed much earlier than high school.”
While touring the school’s science lab and classrooms, Becerra heard first-hand experiences from Class of 2023 Valedictorian Khandah Abdullah, and Tavion Lindsey, a 2022 graduate. Becerra then took part in a roundtable discussion that included Dr. Steed; Rep. Brown; Rep. Emilia Sykes; Lincoln-West School of Science and Health Principal Juliette King; Alan Nevel, MetroHealth SVP, Chief Equity & Community Impact Officer; and Tavion.
Principal King highlighted various aspects of the curriculum, including hands-on experience in different MetroHealth departments, a three-week intensive program to earn STNA certification, and a biomedical curriculum.
“This is how we are building this school-to-workforce pipeline. We are getting students back engaged in STEM, and this model is changing the game in so many ways,” she said. “We hope this inspires others to see education in a different way.”
Becerra asked Tavion what he’s gotten out of his Lincoln-West education.
Besides benefitting from guidance provided by his internship mentor in the Department of Environmental Services, Tavion said being at MetroHealth exposed him to different careers within health care. It also helped him to become a better listener and communicator, vital skills in almost any career.
“I’ve already experienced being inside of a hospital, so it’s helping me keep my professionalism and working with patients,” said Tavion, a Patient Care Nurse Assistant at the Cleveland Heights Behavioral Health Hospital and a nursing student at Cleveland State University.
As his visit to MetroHealth wound down, Becerra repeated Dr. Steed’s assertion that more health systems needed to open schools within their walls.
“We desperately need that professional workforce of the future in the health care sector, and if you’re getting them ready, we want in,” he said.
Founded in 1837, MetroHealth is leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery, and teamwork. Cuyahoga County’s public, safety-net hospital system, MetroHealth meets people where they are, providing care through four hospitals, four emergency departments, and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites. Each day, our 8,000 employees focus on providing our community with equitable health care–through patient-focused research, access to care, and support services–that seeks to eradicate health disparities rooted in systematic barriers. For more information, visit metrohealth.org.