Patricia's Story: Calming Fears, Offering Hope
When hope seems in short supply, it’s good to be reminded of people like Patricia Tousel. As a patient navigator with the MetroHealth Cancer Center, her responsibilities are many. But really, the role can be characterized in two words: trust builder.
“This is not just a job,” says Patricia, a native of Venezuela. “At the end of the day, I feel good about what I do. I am supporting my community.”
Patricia’s role is largely focused on promoting the importance of mammograms in the Hispanic community – not through fear or guilt but a heavy dose of humanity.
In fact, that’s the anchoring philosophy of MetroHealth’s BREAST/Amigas program, which provides screenings and culturally sensitive community outreach about breast cancer. The mission is the program’s name: Bringing Education, Advocacy and Support Together, from Friends.
A Hispanic woman living in the United States has a 1-in-10 chance of developing breast cancer.
“They trust us because we are present,” Patricia says.
Often, Patricia serves as the bridge for any sort of language barrier. She calms concerns about insurance status or patient confidentiality, especially among the undocumented community. She promises them she will be there at intake for their screenings. Most important, she listens.
Then there’s the most common question: What if they find something?
“We will take care you,” Patricia says. “That’s what I tell them.”
Patricia understands that fear. Her husband, John, and daughter, Julia, are cancer survivors.
“As a caregiver, I’ve seen what it’s like for someone you love to go through a cancer diagnosis,” she says. “Sometimes you need that extra support, and that’s what we do here.”
This profile is part of Faces of MetroHealth, an ongoing series of profiles of individuals from all levels of the organization who embody our mission and values. To learn more about the MetroHealth Center for Breast Health and screening guidelines, visit metrohealth.org/breast-health.
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.