Our Leadership

President & CEO

Appointed in 2022, Dr. Airica Steed is the first woman, first person of color and first nurse to serve as Chief Executive Officer and President for The MetroHealth System in Cleveland, one of the nation’s most highly regarded academic public health systems, caring for the people of Greater Cleveland since 1837.

Under her leadership, MetroHealth has grown into an $2 billion healthcare system with five acute and specialty-care hospitals, almost 9,000 employees and over 40 ambulatory care locations. MetroHealth provides care throughout the community, including at the county jail and inside dozens of schools with its nationally recognized School Health Program.

Historic and visionary, Dr. Steed is no ordinary leader. She has transformed MetroHealth with a people-first culture that incorporates intentional listening, collaboration and empowerment to best serve caregivers, patients and the community.

Fueled by her tragic personal experiences with America’s broken healthcare system, Dr. Steed is on the front lines of the fight to end healthcare inequities and injustice. As a proud fourth-generation nurse, she is relentless in her advocacy and her action to eradicate health disparities, zero out the death gap, lift the health and wealth of the community, and ensure that every person achieves their healthiest-possible life.

Before arriving in Cleveland, Dr. Steed’s accomplished and award-winning career as a healthcare executive included the spearheading of large-scale transformations that encompass more than $300 million in combined financial improvements, achieving top decile quality/safety performance outcomes, driving healthy profitable growth, and achieving groundbreaking advancements in health equity.

Dr. Steed has been recognized as one of Modern Healthcare’s “100 Most Influential Leaders in Healthcare,” “Top Women Leaders,” “Top 25 Minority Leaders in Healthcare,” “Top 25 Healthcare Innovators,” and an “Up & Comer.” Other awards include Diversity MBA Magazine’s “Top 100 Executive Leaders Under 50” and Becker's Healthcare’s “Women CEOs of Hospitals & Health Systems to Know,” “Top 130 Female Healthcare Leaders to Know,” and “Black Healthcare Leaders to Know.”

Dr. Steed is recognized as a strategic and visionary change leader, transformational architect and international expert in Lean Six Sigma, Malcolm Baldrige framework, and Big Four management consulting across academic medical centers, community and specialty hospitals, safety-net organizations, ambulatory clinics, multi-site clinically integrated healthcare systems, and Federally Qualified Health Centers.

Dr. Steed is a sought-after national and international speaker, published author, board member and faculty member spanning several organizations.

She holds a Doctorate of Education in Ethical Leadership, with distinction; Master of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Nursing and numerous certifications including Master Black Belt and International Trainer in Lean Six Sigma and Fellow of American College of Healthcare Executives. She is currently pursuing a second master’s, in Global Development from Harvard University.

Senior Leadership

In this role, Dr. Alexander leads the clinical and provider enterprise, advancing MetroHealth’s top strategic priorities of driving health equity and eradicating disparities; achieving clinical and academic excellence; and providing exceptional care and outcomes by delivering clinical excellence and exceptional patient/care team experiences.

For 10 years, since 2014, Dr. Alexander served as Chair of Family Medicine, including four years as Interim Chair. She also served as Director of Maternal and Neonatal Service for the Department of Family Medicine, and is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

From April 2022 to January 2024, Dr. Alexander served as President of the Medical Staff.

Prior to these appointments, she was Director of Obstetrical Education from 1997 to 2003, Residency Director of the Department of Family Medicine from 1998 to 2004, and Clerkship Director for Family Medicine from 2006 to 2010.

She completed the Advisory Board Leadership Series in 2011 and the Academy Fellowship Development of Senior Leaders Program sponsored by the Advisory Board and The MetroHealth System in 2013. Dr. Alexander is active in numerous national family medicine organizations.

Dr. Alexander served as co-principal investigator on the MEDTAPP Healthcare Access Initiative Grant, which was a multiyear, multi-million-dollar grant from the State of Ohio to improve healthcare access, increase quality of care and decrease cost of care for Medicaid patients while training, recruiting and retaining physicians to serve an urban population. She founded the MetroHealth School Health Program which serves the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and several other districts and school systems in Greater Cleveland. 

Dr. Alexander received her medical degree from the Ohio State University and her bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University. She completed a residency in Family Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, followed by two years of fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh.

In this role, Bicak oversees all aspects of MetroHealth's physical locations at our main campus and throughout the region, from planning and construction to space optimization and facilities management.

Bicak joined MetroHealth in August 2023. He has over 35 years of experience in the field of planning, design and construction, including developing and working with talented teams to create high-quality facilities. In his most recent role as Vice President, Facilities, for Sinai Chicago Health System, he provided executive oversight of the planning design and construction associated with the $100 million, multi-year plan for reorganization and re-investment of the system’s existing facilities. Prior to that, he served as Vice President, Campus Development, for Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he oversaw the planning, design and construction of the Prentice Women's Hospital, which opened in 2007. 

Bicak received a Master of Architecture (MArch) degree from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Kate Brown, MPA, is President of The MetroHealth Foundation & Chief Development Officer of The MetroHealth System.

In this role, Brown is responsible for the creation and implementation of the System’s comprehensive strategic fundraising program.

Brown joined The MetroHealth System in 2001. She previously served as Vice President of Development and Director of Development. Prior to joining MetroHealth, Brown was a senior development officer at Cleveland Clinic; director of development for the Northeast Ohio Chapter for The Multiple Sclerosis Society; and membership program manager with the Greater Cleveland Growth Association.

Brown received a master’s degree from Cleveland State University and a bachelor’s degree from Miami University of Ohio.

Nabil Chehade, MD, MSBS, is Executive Vice President, Chief Population & Digital Health Officer.

In this role, Dr. Chehade leads MetroHealth’s efforts to transform its clinical and operational approach to a population health care model, and to further evolve the System’s digital health care model. He also oversees the senior care continuum within the System as well as the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ – a multidisciplinary institute of 40 dedicated employees working on improving and changing the trajectory that the social determinants of health have on health outcomes and quality of life – and community health initiatives.

Dr. Chehade joined The MetroHealth System in August 2016. He has held numerous leadership roles throughout his career including Chief Clinical Transformation Officer and Senior Vice President of Population Health at MetroHealth; Chief Executive Officer and Market President at HealthSpan Physicians; and Executive Medical Director and Chief Medical Informatics Officer and Chief of Urology at the Ohio Permanente Medical Group.  

Dr. Chehade received his medical degree, completed a residency, and received a Master of Science degree in Biomedical Studies from the University of Toledo’s College of Medicine and Life Sciences. He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program.

In this role, Fiser is responsible for MetroHealth’s Information Technology leadership and strategic direction.

Fiser, who joined MetroHealth in July 2018, has more than 35 years of experience in the Healthcare IT field. He previously served in numerous IT leadership roles at Akron General Health System before being appointed CIO, a position he held for over 10 years.

Fiser received an MBA from Baker College Center for Graduate Studies and a bachelor’s degree from Malone University. He became a Fellow with the Advisory Board Company Healthcare Executive Leadership Academy in 2008. He is a 2023 Ohio ORBIE Award finalist (Large Corporation category); the award recognizes Chief Information Officers across all industries.

Joe Frolik is Senior Vice President, Communications, Government and Community Relations.

In this role, Frolik leads MetroHealth’s communications efforts and strategy.

Frolik joined The MetroHealth System in October 2019. Previously, he served as executive editor of ideastream, leading the public media organization’s news and public affairs efforts; led communications and public policy at the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office; and for more than three decades worked at The Plain Dealer as a reporter, columnist, national correspondent and chief editorial writer. In 2017, Frolik was enshrined into the Cleveland Press Club’s Journalism Hall of Fame.

Frolik received a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. 

In this role, Dr. Golob leads quality management across the System, ensuring that safe and reliable processes are embedded into the delivery of health care. He oversees the implementation of quality improvement efforts and maintain compliance with The Joint Commission, HIPAA and other accreditation standards.

Dr. Golob joined The MetroHealth System in 2004 as a trauma surgeon and surgical intensivist. He previously served as Medical Director of Patient Safety; Medical Director of the Surgical and Trauma Intensive Care Units; and Program Director of the Surgical Critical Care Fellowship Training Program. Most recently, he served as Chief Quality Officer, Inpatient Services. In that role, he partnered with the Chief Medical Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Nursing Officer for the Inpatient Division to oversee and guide MetroHealth’s patient safety and inpatient quality improvement programs.

Dr. Golob received his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh, a master’s degree in healthcare systems engineering from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina. 

Derrick Hollings, CPA, is Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Treasurer of The MetroHealth System.

In this role, Hollings is a vital member of the executive leadership team with responsibility for optimizing performance and achieving financial and strategic goals. The role is responsible for all aspects of financial and business management.

Hollings joined MetroHealth in September 2023, bringing with him more than 25 years of business savvy experience and financial leadership in academic and large complex hospital organizations, most recently at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a major academic hospital system committed to public service. 

Hollings received a bachelor’s degree from the Collat School of Business at the University of Alabama Birmingham. He is also a Certified Public Accountant. 

In this role, Dr. Ishmael leads day-to-day operations of MetroHealth’s Hospital Division, which includes Main Campus and The Glick Center, Community Hospitals, Behavioral Health Hospital, Rehabilitation and Correctional Medicine. His accountability includes oversight of medical and clinical operations, nursing services, emergency services, perioperative services, hospital and support services, public safety, facility services and space management.

Dr. Ishmael previously served as Chief Clinical Operations Officer at Sinai Chicago, a safety-net health system comprised of four hospitals, a nationally recognized research institute, and a large multispecialty medical group with over 40 specialties. Previous leadership roles have included Division Chief; Medical Director and VP Medical Affairs for health plans; ER and Hospitalist Director. He has extensive experience in primary care and emergency medicine.

Dr. Ishmael received his medical degree from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria and an MBA from Purdue University.  He completed his residency in family medicine at Methodist Hospitals in Gary, Indiana, and a fellowship at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 

Barbara Kakiris is Chief of Staff to the CEO and President of The MetroHealth System.

MetroHealth is redefining healthcare 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.

Prior to her foray into the healthcare arena, she spent a decade in higher education (as Deputy Chief of Staff at Cleveland State University and Director of Summer Programs at Kenyon College) and 20 years in the federal government at NASA Glenn Research Center in various public relations, protocol, and event management roles.  Before moving back to Cleveland, she was an elected official in Knox County, Ohio, helping to run and manage Gambier, OH as a member of Village Council. 

She earned a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree from Kenyon College in Gambier, OH and a Master of Studies (one of the first graduates in Women’s Studies) from The University of Oxford in Oxford, England.  She has also completed certifications from Cleveland State University, MIT Sloan School of Management, The Brookings Institution, and The Protocol School of Washington. 

Barbara has been recognized by various organizations with honors including the NASA Public Service Medal, United States Congressional Achievement Award, Inside Business Magazine’s ATHENA Award, The Junior League of Cleveland’s (JLC) Ruth T. Lucas Award and Frances Payne Bolton Award, Kenyon College’s Anne J. Robinson Award and Distinguished Service Award, GLAMOUR Magazine’s Women at Their Best Award, and the Greek America Foundation’s Forty Under 40 Award.  She was also inducted into the Lakewood Rangers Education Foundation (LREF) Alumni Hall of Fame. 

Barbara is active in her community, serving as President of the JLC and on the LREF board.

Melissa Kline, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, is Senior Vice President-System Chief Nurse Executive. 

In this role, Dr. Kline oversees nursing practice and policies, nursing education, nursing research, nursing recruitment, workplace safety, emergency preparedness, accreditation services, and patient experience and volunteer services. She also serves as the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at the MetroHealth campus of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University.  

Dr. Kline joined The MetroHealth System in 1998. She has served in a series of progressive leadership roles including Nurse Manager, Director of Nurse Staffing Operations, Director of Nursing Operations and Professional Development, Associate Chief Nursing Officer and Chief Nursing Officer.

Dr. Kline earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from the Chamberlain College of Nursing, a master’s degree from Walden University, and a bachelor’s degree from The University of Akron.

William R. Lewis, MD, is Chief Operating Officer/President of the Ambulatory Division 

In this role, Dr. Lewis oversees the ambulatory network, including all clinics and provider practices, ambulatory operations, urgent care and the customer care center. Dr. Lewis also is a Professor of Medicine at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Dr. Lewis joined The MetroHealth System in 1993 as a clinical cardiologist. Most recently, he served as Chief Medical Officer of Ambulatory Services. He previously served as the Division Director in Cardiology and the Service Line Medical Director of the Specialty Care Service Line.  Dr. Lewis has held several national roles with the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and the Heart Rhythm Society. 

Dr. Lewis received his medical degree from The Ohio State University and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School General Management Program.

Laura McBride, JD, is Senior Vice President & Co-General Counsel.

In this role, McBride and Co-General Counsel Sonja Rajki are responsible for all legal affairs of MetroHealth. Through this framework, the co-General Counsels provide high-level strategic advice while maintaining their strong connection and understanding of the System’s operational challenges and opportunities.  

McBride joined The MetroHealth System in 2014. In her previous work at two large Ohio-based law firms, she focused on assisting clients in navigating federal and state regulatory issues in a wide range of industries and forums through public and administrative law, health care and energy matters, and litigation of all types. 

McBride received a juris doctor degree from The George Washington University, a master’s degree from Dartmouth College, and a bachelor’s degree from the College of Wooster. 

In this role, Poulios is responsible for overseeing the federal, state, and local government relations strategy for the hospital system.  She advises MetroHealth leadership to effectively respond to and shape legislation and public policy that could impact the organization’s patient care, finances and strategic goals.  Poulios also oversees the department responsible for obtaining grant funds from local, state and federal governments for the system’s priority project.  

Poulios joined MetroHealth in April 2019. She has over 20 years of experience in state and federal government, having worked in both the Ohio Statehouse and on Capitol Hill.  She most recently served as Chief of Staff to an Ohio member of Congress, advising and managing on public policy issues that came before the Energy & Commerce Committee.  She also has extensive experience working on legislative initiatives pertaining to the health care industry. 

Poulios received a master’s degree in Public Administration from Ohio University and a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University. 

Sonja Rajki, JD, is Senior Vice President & Co-General Counsel.

In this role, Rajki and Co-General Counsel Laura McBride are responsible for all legal affairs of MetroHealth. Through this framework, the co-General Counsels provide high-level strategic advice while maintaining their strong connection and understanding of the System’s operational challenges and opportunities.  

Raiki joined The MetroHealth System in 2011. Previously, she was a partner with a Cleveland-based law firm where her practice focused on counseling businesses, nonprofits and health care organizations in all aspects of their operations, including formation, mergers and reorganizations, joint ventures and real estate matters.  Rajki began her legal career at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. 

Rajki received a juris doctor degree from Case Western Reserve University and a bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University.

Dalph Watson is Executive Vice President, Chief People Officer.

In this role, Watson is charged with leading the People and Human Resources Division. She oversees all human resources functions including recruitment and retention; employee engagement and experience; diversity and inclusion; workforce development and education; workplace safety and organizational effectiveness.

Watson joined The MetroHealth System in July 2023. Previously, she served in a variety of progressive senior human resource officer roles in both the public and private sector, including with Walmart Health, Kaiser Permanente, Providence Health, and the city of Detroit. 

She also served as an adjunct faculty member at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan, instructing undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in Health Care Management, Human Resources Management, Business Ethics, Labor Law, Employment Law, Cyber Law, and Business Law. 

Watson received a juris doctor degree from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley School of Law in Lansing, Michigan; and a bachelor’s degree in Health Care Administration/Management from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois.