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MetroHealth Featured in New Documentary That Tackles Maternal & Infant Health Crisis


The MetroHealth System's dedication to maternal and infant health and ensuring all patients have the best chance for a safe pregnancy is highlighted in a new documentary film that examines the nation's maternal mortality crisis and the nurses working to solve it.

"American Delivery," directed by Carolyn Jones and produced by Lisa Frank, will premiere at the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF48) at 7:30 p.m. on April 6 at Playhouse Square's Mimi Ohio Theatre with an encore presentation at 9:30 a.m. on April 7 also at the Mimi Ohio Theatre.

The documentary features MetroHealth President and CEO Airica Steed, Ed.D., RN, MBA, FACHE – a fourth-generation nurse – and the health system's innovative Nurse Family Partnership, which pairs nurses with pregnant patients throughout their pregnancies and until their children's second birthday. The program is presented as an example of a nurse intervention to improve and preserve maternal and infant health.  The film is also inspired by the nurse leaders from the Marian K. Shaughnessy Nurse Leadership Academy at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University.

Dr. Steed is highlighted throughout the film as a nurse who is taking on health inequity as the leader of a nationally renowned public healthcare system. But she also brings a personal perspective, sharing her own experience with inadequate care and misdiagnosis during pregnancy.

"'American Delivery' brings attention to an issue that is close to my heart," Dr. Steed said. “I easily could have been among the horrifying statistics cited in the documentary. During two of my pregnancies, I nearly lost my life to pre-eclampsia, a dangerous condition that affects Black women at a higher rate than others. I survived both times, but far too many women do not.”

National health statistics show that Black women are three times more likely than others to die from pregnancy-related causes. In fact, Cuyahoga County has one of the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality in the country for Black women and babies, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Since Dr. Steed joined MetroHealth in December 2022, she has been sounding the alarm about health disparities. She aims to make MetroHealth a national model of how to end health inequity by making high-quality healthcare accessible to all and eliminating the glaring gap in life expectancies.

MetroHealth is doing that work through programs like Nurse Family Partnership and the initiatives of its Institute for H.O.P.E.2™ (Health, Opportunity, Partnership, Empowerment and Equity). The Institute addresses the social drivers of health – like food insecurity, lack of safe and stable housing and inadequate access to reliable transportation – and develops programs to address those needs. The Institute also partners with community-based organizations and conducts research to determine what interventions most impact health outcomes.

In addition to interviews with Dr. Steed, "American Delivery" filmmakers also followed MetroHealth's Dionna Coleman, a registered nurse with the Nurse Family Partnership, on her bi-weekly home visits with her patient, Jess, a first-time mom-to-be.

"We not only do our health assessments, but we also help them to set and meet personal goals," said Coleman, who joined MetroHealth in 2018 and recently completed her advanced practice Family Nurse Practitioner studies. “A lot of our moms are still in school, and we want to help them finish their education. We connect them to community resources that can help with what they need to succeed. We meet the moms where they are, and earn their trust, so they feel comfortable letting us into their lives.”

Dr. Steed added, “As a nurse, it was particularly meaningful to help bring attention to the critical work being done by Dionna Coleman and the other extraordinary nurses here at MetroHealth and throughout the country. Our nurses are truly heroes on the frontlines of saving women's and children's lives.”

MetroHealth has a deep commitment to training the next generation of nurses and designing the future of healthcare with a focus on equity. Dr. Steed, for example, is on the Global Advisory Board for the Marian K. Shaughnessy Nurse Leadership Academy at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University. The academy provides advanced educational opportunities for nursing leaders.

Dr. Steed also serves on Cuyahoga County's new Advisory Council on Women's Health, which will play a vital role in addressing the health disparities that prevent far too many women in the community from living their healthiest lives.

"American Delivery" Director Carolyn Jones has spent the last decade interviewing, photographing and filming nurses across America. Her feature documentaries include "The American Nurse," which was included in the U.S. State Department's American Film Showcase, and "In Case of Emergency," a documentary about Emergency Departments that was the winner of the "Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary" at the United Nations Association Film Festival.  Besides the work being done at MetroHealth, “American Delivery” highlights caregivers and patients in Ohio, Kentucky, New York, California, Massachusetts and Tanzania. Other organizations featured include the Brooklyn Birthing Center in New York City and the University of Kentucky Midwife Clinic in Lexington, Ky..

 The 48th Cleveland International Film Festival runs from April 3 to April 13 at Playhouse Square. Tickets go on sale to CIFF members on Friday, March 15, and the public on Friday, March 22. For more information, visit

About The MetroHealth System

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 five hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers. Each day, our nearly 9,000 employees focus on providing our community with equitable healthcare — through patient-focused research, access to care, and support services — that seeks to eradicate health disparities rooted in systematic barriers. For more information, visit