September 8, 2022
The following story appeared in the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland's 2021 annual report: 25 Years of Partnership and Authenticity.
Creating a Health Campus in Central
In June 2021, the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland (SOCF), Sisters of Charity Health System, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine announced plans to co-create a new vision for the property owned by the Sisters of Charity at East 22nd Street in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood. The goal is to provide care for the whole person by bringing new services to the community that address the social determinants of health.
Together with many partners who live, learn, work and play in this neighborhood, SOCF Cleveland has embarked on a journey to transform Sisters of Charity’s East 22nd Street Campus into the St. Vincent Charity
Health Campus. This vibrant hub will align health care and services that address the social determinants of health while building on the important community outreach St. Vincent Charity Medical Center has provided
for more than a century.
This Health Campus will be a place of connection, healing and spirituality, co-created with and by Central and the larger Cleveland community to holistically serve and empower all people along their journey of life.
The main focus of the Health Campus is to support, sustain and build community for all of our neighbors and stakeholders," said Robyn Gordon, board chair of the Health Campus. "The members of this project have continued the longstanding commitment of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland to engage, listen, act and impact. We know that it is imperative to listen to the community in order to serve the community."
From the start of the project, community engagement has been a foundational basis for the campus vision. For more than a year, we have purposefully engaged diverse community partners, families and residents to provide services that meet the spiritual, physical, social and emotional needs of the community today. Together with the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, Sisters of Charity Health System and its ministries, and St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, SOCF Cleveland worked alongside MASS Design Group on this important planning work.
Beginning in early 2021, Richaun Bunton, managing director of the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood, leveraged relationships and neighborhood insights to bring residents, organizations, community leaders and other stakeholders into conversation about the needs of Central and greater Cleveland. These include social service organizations, primary care providers, youth development organizations, food security organizations and champions, community gardeners, workforce development organizations, higher education leaders, foundation leaders, real estate developers, public libraries, artists, cultivators and public officials.
Bunton pointed out that many members of the community carry deep mistrust in institutions, and an authentic engagement process helps create accountability and trust.
"When we ask community members, leaders, residents, families and many others to join in the co-creation of
the Health Campus, it allows us to reestablish and strengthen a relationship between an institution and those who have felt used and unheard by other institutions," said Bunton. "I knew we had to be held accountable for our part of the relationship and honor their voices, hear about their previous experiences and rely on their wisdom and expertise throughout the process."
WHEN WE SPEAK DIRECTLY WITH THE COMMUNITY, WHAT DO WE LEARN?
Many of these conversations raised ongoing struggles with community trauma, especially as it comes from violence. Community members have a desire to create safe spaces that evoke beauty and remembrance.
Community engagement is iterative and an ongoing partnership. It is the intention of this project to continue to engage with the community regarding emerging ideas, themes, pilots and opportunities, and get ongoing feedback and input to continue to shape this Health Campus.
"The greatest value in hearing from the community continues to be their ingenuity," Bunton said. "The passion that they have for seeing Central return to its roots of community trust, vibrancy and well-being is inspiring."
“The significant effort made to reach, discuss and collect feedback from community stakeholders at all levels using multiple venues and processes has been inspiring,” said Gordon, board chair of the Health Campus. “When you step back and consider the amount of input, the quality of the interaction and the depth of the insights gathered from a very diverse group, ‘impressive’ is an understatement.”
2021 ENGAGEMENT ACTIVITIES
MASS Design Group visited Cleveland to conduct an immersion week to explore and meet the community in their environment. Through a multimodal exploration, the team walked, biked, bussed, drove and played alongside the community to find out more about what makes their neighborhood special.
A series of in-person workshops, virtual focus groups, and interviews were held around the topic of health care access, experiences and support systems, with a specific emphasis on
behavioral health. We also hosted a booth at Fresh Fest where we ran activities and had conversations with residents about food access and culture and the various ways that food impacts overall health and well-being.
We continued facilitating a wide array of focus groups and discussions with partners and community members. Topics included early childhood development, education, housing,
workforce development, transportation and arts & culture.
With those conversations establishing a foundation of ideas, SOCF and MASS developed a scorecard to prioritize the ideas emerging from the engagements. Into 2022, Bunton and her team rolled out scorecards across the community to gather feedback, while subcommittees took deeper looks into potential
service areas, especially focused on safety, parent and family support, education, food security and more.
Health Campus Community Engagement Guiding Principles
- Our community engagement efforts will at all times represent the mission and values of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine: manifesting love, truth and justice for the persons we serve and with whom we work; and by promoting the advancement and application of new knowledge, which will promote health and quality of life.
- We will approach our community engagement efforts with an open mind and share our research, concepts and visions respectfully, understanding that the community’s needs and interests come first.
- We will listen authentically to all whom we engage, help build capacity within our community and ensure that our community feels valued and empowered to cocreate solutions that address the needs identified by our community.
- We will actively and deliberately seek out those who may be underrepresented in our community and who have been subjected to systemic racism and its impacts on their well-being.
- We will seek out local leaders who are representative of the community that we serve to help conduct outreach and build trust.
- We will strive to be culturally sensitive and be aware that our unconscious biases may impact our outreach efforts.
- We believe the best community engagement is a two-way conversation. We commit to reporting back to our community and providing additional opportunities for feedback.