MetroHealth Board of Trustees Elects E. Harry Walker, MD, as Chair
E. Harry Walker, MD, a trailblazing primary care physician and champion for the underserved, has been elected Chair of The MetroHealth Board of Trustees. He succeeds Vanessa L. Whiting who has served as Board Chair since 2019.
Dr. Walker, who joined the Board in 2021, served more than 30 years as a MetroHealth physician before retiring as its Senior Vice President for Ambulatory Operations in 2015. During his tenure, he led the expansion of MetroHealth’s primary care footprint from one site to several throughout Cuyahoga County. And as a trustee, Dr. Walker led the search committee that identified Airica Steed, Ed.D, RN, MBA, FACHE, as the right leader to move MetroHealth forward as its President and CEO.
“Over the course of his entire career – from the exam room to the Board room – Dr. Walker has never wavered in his commitment to the individuals and communities MetroHealth serves. I look forward to continuing to partner with him to build a healthier and more equitable community,” Dr. Steed says. “I would also like to thank Vanessa Whiting for her guidance and support over these last several months. MetroHealth is a stronger organization because of her courageous leadership and dedication.”
Always an advocate for health equity, Dr. Walker is one of the architects of the Community Advocacy Program, a collaboration formed in 2003 between MetroHealth and the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. The program pairs MetroHealth providers with Legal Aid lawyers to help patients overcome the legal barriers to good health such as safe housing, relief from domestic violence and obtaining Social Security disability benefits. The program was the first of its kind in Ohio and the fourth in the nation.
“I am grateful for the trust my colleagues on the Board have placed in me at this pivotal time in MetroHealth’s 186-year history,” Dr. Walker said. “I would not be the physician or person I am today if it were not for this storied institution and the thousands of caregivers who work here. It is an honor to serve in this role and partner with Dr. Steed and MetroHealth’s more than 8,200 employees to improve the health and well-being of the residents of Cuyahoga County.”
Under Ohio law governing county hospitals, oversight and control of The MetroHealth System are entrusted to its volunteer Board of Trustees. Trustees are nominated by the Cuyahoga County Executive and approved by two judges and the Cuyahoga County Council. They are appointed or re-appointed for six-year terms.
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.