MetroHealth, AT&T and Other Partners to Provide Devices, Internet Access to Those in Need
The MetroHealth Institute for H.O.P.E.™ and AT&T continue their collaboration to bring digital connectivity to residents of under-resourced neighborhoods with an event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, November 8, at MetroHealth Buckeye Health Center (2816 East 116th Street, Cleveland).
The event, Connecting to Possibility, will provide those who qualify with refurbished laptop computers and help with signing up for services like free or reduced-cost broadband internet.
“It’s exciting to see the impact we can have when we work together with our community partners on shared goals,” said MetroHealth President & CEO Airica Steed, Ed.D, RN, MBA, FACHE. “Our strengths are compounded exponentially, and we can make a real difference in the lives of our patients and neighbors. Together, we are improving the health and wealth of the communities we serve.”
“Connectivity is a bridge to possibility, improving the way we move through our daily lives,” said Molly Kocour Boyle, president of AT&T Ohio. “But not everyone has access to the opportunities that connectivity brings. Bridging that digital divide requires collaboration to bring high-quality connectivity to people who need it most. We’re pleased to work with MetroHealth to connect more Clevelanders to greater possibility.”
This is the second time this year MetroHealth and AT&T have collaborated for a project aligned with the federal Affordable Connectivity Program. Like the March event, this one is open to all who qualify.
“Digital access is vital,” said Marielee Santiago, Director of Education/Training for the MetroHealth Institute for H.O.P.E.™. “It is essential to our day-to-day lives. It allows us to communicate with our health care providers. It’s necessary for our jobs and if we are pursuing education. It’s how we connect with family. All of these needs represent Social Drivers of Health (SDOH). If we want to eradicate health inequity, we must address digital inequity.”
This time, organizers are hoping to draw in more military veterans like Devonne Woodruff, who happened upon the March connectivity event at the Buckeye Health Center. He had come to speak with Opportunity Center staff about a program that assists with home heating bills, but he left with a laptop computer and renewed hope that he might finally be able to further his education.
“I earned an associate’s degree online right as I was getting out of the Army, but that was seven years ago," he said at the time. "I really want to get back to school and go for a bachelor's degree in business. You almost have to have a laptop for college classes, so this is going to be a big help."
The Connecting to Possibility event is hosted in partnership with RET3, a local nonprofit that works with businesses and municipalities to collect and refurbish used computer equipment to divert it from landfills. Laptop computers formerly used by MetroHealth employees are among those that are refurbished by RET3.
“When devices no longer serve our purposes, they can be refurbished by RET3’s expert technicians to have great capabilities, and they become valuable tools that benefit our neighbors,” said Tim Weber, MetroHealth Director of Sustainability. “It’s gratifying for our employees to see that the efforts we make with MetroHealth’s recycling program are directly helping members of our community.”
In addition to device distribution, the November 8 event also will offer participants a chance to speak with representatives from AT&T, Digital C and PCs for People about signing up for free or low-cost internet service. Representatives from Fifth Third Bank also will be available to share information about their online banking program.
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.