Healing Our Community
At MetroHealth, we are reminded of the heartbreaking effects of racism every day.
The senseless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, as well as the widespread protests currently taking place across the United States, are another startling reminder of the desperate need for constructive and lasting change.
Like you, I am struggling to understand how we got to a society where a police officer forces his knee into the neck of another human being while other officers stand by and do nothing to help. How have we let the myriad subtle and blatant acts of unkindness permeate our interactions, our public policies and our business processes?
Before we can answer these and many other questions, we need to accept the brutal realities of our situation.
We need to recognize that it’s not just violence that kills black and brown people at alarmingly high rates.
It’s the stress of day upon day of frustration – the frustration of not getting the job, the promotion, the house, the acceptance, all the things we need to live fulfilling, healthy lives.
We must understand and accept the anger and hopelessness that exist in many of our minority communities.
We must acknowledge that injustice anywhere destroys humanity.
We need to admit that even though we are facing extraordinary challenges, they are not insurmountable. And they are not too big for any one of us to confront.
And we must concede that it will take all of us working together to make meaningful and speedy progress.
At MetroHealth, we will begin by asking those who are hurting what they need most right now.
And we will listen, really listen.
We will unite around them and turn their sacrifices into a memorial -- not of brick and glass and steel -- of solidarity, kindness and understanding.
We will continue to combat the ravages of health disparities. We will stand against hatred and divisiveness in everything we do.
We will double our efforts to eliminate the struggles that are borne of broader societal problems. Problems we could not have imagined tackling five years ago.
This includes our efforts to reduce the number of black babies dying every year in Cuyahoga County.
And support for our Institute for H.O.P.E. in tackling the Social Determinants of Health – things like unemployment, food insecurity, education and other factors that have a much larger role in shaping someone’s health than the medical care they receive.
We will continue to lead the effort in bringing together social service agencies to provide uninterrupted behavioral health care, so that our friends, relatives and neighbors who struggle with mental illness or substance use disorder can get the help they need and deserve.
These are just a few of the things we do and will do, day in and day out.
But we at MetroHealth can, will and must do more.
We will offer Resiliency Circles for our employees to talk about their fears, concerns and trauma.
We will offer free Healing Circles to members of the public. This involves medical professionals and counselors leading individual or group sessions for members of the community who need to talk with someone.
We will continue to stand for healing, respect, equity, compassion, accountability and constructive action.
I am asking you to help. Help us know what we should focus on and how best to do it.
This is a historic time.
And history will judge us by our actions or our silence.
We have the opportunity to do better, act better, and be better.
It is time for us to come together and to heal one another.
Akram Boutros, MD, FACHE
President and CEO