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11:30 AM

MetroHealth Recognized for Excellence in Obstetric Anesthesia


The MetroHealth System has been recognized as a Center of Excellence by the Society of Obstetric Anesthesiology and Perinatology (SOAP) – a distinction afforded to a select number of programs around the world for their commitment to the highest standards of practice in obstetric anesthesia.

Obstetric anesthesia is a growing sub-specialty focused on providing pain relief during labor, administering anesthesia for cesarean deliveries and helping prepare high-risk obstetric patients for delivery. SOAP created its Center of Excellence designation in 2018 to set a benchmark of expected care to improve standards nationally and internationally. The designation covers all aspects of obstetric anesthesia care, including staffing, equipment, protocols, training and emergency management. 

For decades, MetroHealth has been recognized as a leader in obstetrics, and this designation underscores the role of the health system's anesthesiologists in that continuum of care. In addition to their work completing the application process for the SOAP designation, anesthesiologists Marcos Izquierdo, MD, and Matthew Sikora, DO, led several quality and process improvement efforts in this area to ensure MetroHealth patients received the highest quality care. 

"This prestigious recognition from the Society of Obstetric Anesthesiology and Perinatology is a testament to the continued collaboration of caregivers from throughout the enterprise," said Luis Tollinche, MD, Chair, Department of Anesthesiology. “Expectant parents should know that they are in good hands when they come to MetroHealth for their care.”

Recognized by Newsweek as one of the best maternity hospitals in the nation, MetroHealth is known for its expertise with both low and high-risk pregnancies. Just last year, MetroHealth opened a new Birthing Center and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit on its growing Main Campus in Cleveland's Clark-Fulton neighborhood. In the first year, the health system welcomed more than 2,700 new babies and cared for more than 500 in its NICU. 

"This distinction from Society of Obstetric Anesthesiology and Perinatology underscores our commitment to quality across the entire spectrum of obstetrics care," said MetroHealth President & CEO Airica Steed, Ed.D, RN, MBA, FACHE. "One of our primary focuses as a health system is on improving infant and maternal health in our community. Cuyahoga County has one of the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality in the country, especially for Black women and babies – and that must change." 

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