June 8, 2021
Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland recently announced the beginning of a community-based planning process for a new Health Campus in Central, led by MASS Design Group. Below is a story from Crain's Cleveland Business
sharing the news.
Sisters of Charity Foundation to develop health campus in Central neighborhood
LYDIA COUTRÉ | June 08, 2021
The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland has engaged MASS Design Group, a Boston-based global design collective, to create a health campus in the city's Central neighborhood anchored by St. Vincent Charity Medical Center.
Depending on what is recommended during the planning and engagement process with MASS Design Group — which is dedicated to architecture that promotes justice and human dignity — new services, programs and partners could be added to the main campus of St. Vincent, which will also be the namesake of what will be known as the St. Vincent Charity Health Campus, according to a news release.
Sisters of Charity and MASS Design Group are committed to including residents in developing the vision for the health campus.
"We didn't want to come up with, 'This is exactly what the health campus is,' and then go to the community and say, 'What do you think? Tweak it and then implement it," said Susanna H. Krey, senior vice president of Sisters of Charity Health System and president of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland. "We really want the community to own this. We want the residents to own it, and we want to shape it according to the unmet need and the gaps that we learn from the community and that community engagement process."
The campus will encompass property owned by the Sisters of Charity at East 22nd Street (also known as Sister Ignatia Way) and aims to be a catalyst to revitalize the surrounding area. By bringing new services to the community to address social determinants of health, the campus will build on the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine's 170-year legacy of healing, according to the release.
"I am proud of our sisters' courage to reevaluate and transform St. Vincent Charity from a traditional acute care facility into a broader health campus," said Sister Judith Ann Karam, CSA, congregational leader of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, in a provided statement. "This bold vision reconnects us to our roots and is an innovative step to advance our mission to provide a holistic and integrated model of care."
The Sisters of Charity did a feasibility study in 2019 for developing something to complement its health care services, followed by national research exploring the concept of health campuses, Krey said. They looked at best practices for creating health campuses, lessons learned and how to fund and build them. Through that process, they identified MASS Design Group, she said.
COVID laid bare health disparities rooted in structural racism and racial inequality. The crisis also highlighted mental health needs as people dealt with social isolation, Krey said.
"Even though COVID so highlighted those health disparities, our foundation and I certainly believe those health disparities have been with us all along," Krey said. "COVID really brought them to light in such a significant way. I mean, they are so steeped in our community's challenges around structural racism and racial equity, so clearly our health campus has to address that at a very deep level."
The planning and engagement phase will take place through the end of this year, according to the release. MASS Design Group will conduct research and dialogue with residents and institutions of Central and Greater Cleveland to understand the social and economic needs that the health campus should address, such as poverty, structural racism, and mental health and addiction services, building on the Sisters' history of work in behavioral health services.
"We work from the philosophy that our built environment should be designed to advance human dignity and promote health," said Michael Murphy, founding principal and executive director of MASS Design Group, in a provided statement. "The health campus is an opportunity for the Cleveland community to bring this philosophy to life and create true health equity through justice and empathy."
To identify opportunities to address needs that the community identifies, MASS Design Group and the Sisters of Charity team will also connect with project partners, internal stakeholders, local businesses and anchor institutions, community leaders and more, according to the release.
"In light of the challenges created by COVID-19, this approach is even more needed," said Janice Murphy, president and CEO of St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, in a provided statement.