MetroHealth Names Leaders for Equity Initiatives
Underscoring its commitment to inclusion, diversity and equity, The MetroHealth System has named two senior leaders – one a nationally known authority on minority health – to direct and expand those important efforts within the system and the wider community.
Alan Nevel, MetroHealth’s Chief Diversity and Human Resources Officer since 2018, will now become its first Chief Equity Officer.
In his new position, Alan will work with departments and initiatives throughout the system to eliminate disparities and make equity a central organizing principle of everything MetroHealth does.
“When we focus on equity, we acknowledge that too many people in our community do not start on equal footing or that they face barriers created by decades of systemic racism or neglect,” said MetroHealth President and CEO Akram Boutros, MD, FACHE. “Alan will lead the charge to eliminate those barriers in every corner of the system so that every patient and every employee can reach their full potential.”
Under Alan’s leadership, the system last year launched an intensive self-examination to identify and root out unconscious bias not only in individual encounters but in all internal processes and policies. As a result, all MetroHealth employees are on track to receive inclusion, diversity and equity training, and a video series – “Healing Begins With Listening” – has invited employees to have conversations about race and diversity in their own lives after hearing the stories of co-workers. MetroHealth is asking patients to describe how they feel they’ve been treated by the system and will use that feedback to improve care delivery.
“What we’re faced with now is creating equity for all, and by all, I mean our patients, our employees and the greater community,” said Nevel, a Cleveland native who returned home to work for MetroHealth after a corporate career that included top posts at Limited Brands and Thermo Fisher Scientific. “In whatever we do, we need to be doing it in an equitable fashion.”
Assisting Nevel will be Charles Modlin, MD, who has joined MetroHealth after more than three decades at the Cleveland Clinic, where he was Executive Director of Minority Health. Dr. Modlin will be MetroHealth’s first Medical Director, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity. Dr. Modlin will also maintain a urology practice.
At the Clinic, Dr. Modlin became well-known for the annual Minority Men’s Health Fair he launched in 2003 to offer free health screenings and examinations to men from all racial and ethnic backgrounds.
His duties at MetroHealth will include recruiting a more diverse medical staff, building a more inclusive culture and reducing disparities in health outcomes.
“I’m excited and enthusiastic about joining MetroHealth,” Dr. Modlin said. “I’ve seen MetroHealth in action and the work that MetroHealth is doing in the community to address health disparities is phenomenal and having great impact in communities throughout Cleveland. I’m looking forward to joining the team and doing what I can to contribute to those initiatives.”
Dr. Boutros said Dr. Modlin brings to MetroHealth enormous practical experience and important relationships, both of which are essential to reducing health disparities.
“I have long admired Dr. Modlin’s outreach to minority communities and especially to men in those communities,” Dr. Boutros said. “We at MetroHealth are committed to eliminating racial disparities in health outcomes, and Dr. Modlin will help us do that.”
Dr. Modlin has spent decades tackling health disparities that disproportionately impact and burden minorities and the underserved, not only in his specialty fields of kidney transplant surgery and urology but in the broader medical world.
In March 2020 Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine appointed Dr. Modlin to serve on the Ohio Governor’s Minority Covid-19 Strike Force where he chaired the Education, Communications and Outreach Subcommittee.
“Dr. Modlin brings a wealth of experience that will build on our current Inclusion, Diversity and Equity efforts,” said Bernard Boulanger, MD, Executive Vice President, Chief Clinical Officer of The MetroHealth System. “We have committed to a comprehensive Underrepresented Minority Recruitment Strategy, and one of his key responsibilities will be to support the advancement of diverse provider talent at MetroHealth.”
This summer, as it launched its new surgical residency program, MetroHealth welcomed a cohort that was 50 percent women and 75 percent people of color.
Nevel says that commitment makes him optimistic about his new role.
“I believe we have a moral obligation to lead,” Nevel said. “The work we’ve done to date, no one else in doing. So we have an obligation to lead and to teach everyone else. I believe an 8,000-person organization can impact millions.”
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.
For more information, visit metrohealth.org.