The MetroHealth System to Launch “Open Tables” to Transform the Lives of Those Living in its Neighborhood
As part of its promise to improve the health of the community, The MetroHealth System is adopting the Open Table model to impact the lives of those living in and around its neighborhood. The health system has committed to launching 15 Tables, providing a support system and resources to those in need of creating change in their lives.
Traditionally used by churches and businesses to create a family of support around young people, MetroHealth will be the first health system in the nation to adopt the Open Table model and use it on a larger population. A program manager will identify local families in need of support, and community members will be invited to sponsor the Tables. A few Tables will be Spanish-speaking, ensuring those in the Hispanic community around MetroHealth’s West 25th Street main campus are served.
“Open Table knows that those struggling financially don’t need our worn-out clothes or the toys our kids have outgrown. They need us. They need people at their side to provide encouragement and friendship, to help them set goals and reach them,” said Akram Boutros, MD, FACHE, president and CEO of MetroHealth. “Open Table and MetroHealth have that in common. We know relationships are what build healthy people and healthy communities.”
Each Table will be comprised of six to eight volunteers who will commit to helping a family for one year, meeting with them on a weekly basis. The group acts as a team of supporters and advocates, using their professional and personal experiences to provide guidance in a non-judgmental space.
“Open Table has been a life-changing experience for me, showing that love and compassion really can make a difference in all of our lives,” said Sharon Bechtel, a MetroHealth employee and current volunteer on an Open Table organized through her church. “Open Table brings people together in an environment of love and support and I encourage everyone to consider becoming a part of this amazing program.”
"I'm thrilled to have this partnership with MetroHealth to help expand the scope of work being done using the national Open Table model here in Cleveland. The health system’s leadership and willingness to reach and serve a broader array of families impacted by poverty will expand the movement and help to lift up even more people in Cleveland,” said Amber Donovan, LISW-S, executive director, Community of Hope and Cuyahoga County director of the Open Table Initiative, focused on young adults aging out of foster care. “We go further when we go together and it’s great to have MetroHealth join me in the transformative work of helping to create a community where we invest our time by building relationships that nurture hope and restore dignity."MetroHealth is currently forming its framework for the program and plans to launch the first Tables in the fall. More information about the Open Table model can be here.
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 four hospitals, four emergency departments, and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites. Each day, our 8,000 employees focus on providing our community with equitable health care–through patient-focused research, access to care, and support services–that seeks to eradicate health disparities rooted in systematic barriers. For more information, visit metrohealth.org.