Pat's Story: Delivering Hope Is a Full-Time Job
Pat Hardy encounters people every day that remind her of her younger self. And she has one message: It’s OK to ask for help.
“It doesn’t make a person weak. It doesn’t make anybody less of a human. Everybody needs help,” says Pat, a Community Health Worker with the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ “I know what it’s like not having enough food, not having running water and not having the money to support myself. I also know that there is hope.”
At the Institute for H.O.P.E.™, Pat primarily manages programs focused on fighting the deepening food insecurity crisis in Greater Cleveland. More than 24% of MetroHealth patients surveyed, for example, report not having enough food to eat.
Twice a month, Pat delivers fresh produce and other goods from the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to dozens of homes of MetroHealth patients. She also works with patients involved with MetroHealth’s Food As Medicine clinic – a program that offers “prescriptions” for healthy food for patients living with diabetes, hypertension or heart problems and who also lack access to enough food.
MetroHealth has been a “home away from home” for Pat for 20 years. In her time here, she’s earned three degrees – most recently, a Master of Public Health from Baldwin Wallace University – and held a variety of administrative roles.
Pat’s most recent post with the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ – a position funded by generous support from Bank of America – allows her to directly serve the community she’s always called home.
“This community supported me when I needed it, and I try to give back as much as I can,” Pat says. “It’s just who I am.
“There are so many people going through challenging things in their lives, and if I can do one thing to make a difference, then I know I’m doing my job. I want to give people hope when they don’t see anything else.”
Faces of MetroHealth is an ongoing series of profiles of individuals from all levels of the organization who embody our mission and values. To read the others, click here.
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.