Cleveland Clinic heals as a leader in public health and continuous patient care, and partners with community organizations to address health disparities and social determinants of health. Through Community Health and Partnerships, we provide free programs to community residents to enhance care access, address pressing health needs and bring primary care to the underserved.

Community Access to Care

When patients have better access to quality care, they have better health outcomes. In 2022, Community Health and Partnerships made healthcare more accessible to our neighbors by improving digital equity and serving more high-risk patients.

Our digital equity efforts included screening patients for digital access and connecting them with resources. In 2022, Community Health and Partnerships screened 918 patients and connected 38% with digital assets. Learn more about our Virtual Health and Digital Equity Programs.

We served more high-risk patients at our Langston Hughes Community Health & Education Center, which provides adult primary care and mammography services to residents of the Greater Cleveland area (including the Fairfax, Central, Hough, Buckeye and Glenville neighborhoods). A gathering place for health and well-being in the Fairfax neighborhood, the center also provides free health education and programming aimed at improving the health of the community. In 2022, we reinstated social service resources and increased internal medicine appointments by 19% year-over-year.

The Langston Hughes Community Health & Education Center

Maternal and Infant Health

Maternal and Infant Health

Cleveland Clinic works internally and with regional partners, such as First Year Cleveland, Full Term First Birthday and others, to connect mothers to resources that can help address high rates of infant mortality.

We continued working on improving birth outcomes and making progress on community goals in priority areas, which include Cuyahoga, Lorain and Summit Counties. We focus on reducing prematurity, expanding the practice of centering pregnancy, increasing awareness about safe sleep and breastfeeding, and addressing social determinants of health and health disparities. In 2022, we screened 50 pregnant mothers at high risk for infant mortality and assigned 41 mothers to doulas.

Public Health Initiatives

Public Health Initiatives

Children’s Health

A drawing of a doctor, a parent, and a child.

Cleveland Clinic offers public health services and programs for our young patients to help them excel. For example, Cleveland Clinic Children’s School-Based Health Mobile Unit has provided medical and mental health services in local communities since November 2014. Set up as a full-service pediatric office staffed with our healthcare professionals, the mobile unit provides health and wellness services including complete physical examinations, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illness; immunizations; first aid and more. School-Based Health focuses on delivering quality healthcare to underserved children in grades K-12, and the mobile unit will visit children regularly throughout the school year in districts where we have partnerships. Through this program, we provided health services to 790 children across Northeast Ohio in 2022.

Additionally, in 2022 we provided health and social services to 80 patients (including displaced Ukrainian families) at El Centro, Cleveland Clinic Outpatient Clinic and launched Cleveland Clinic Children’s medical-legal partnership, which provides legal counsel in situations impacting young patients’ health.

Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition

A caregiver with a child

Cleveland has lead-poisoning rates that are nearly four times the national average, with approximately 800 Cleveland children affected by lead poisoning each year. Lead poisoning can cause irreversible harm that can prevent children from reaching their full potential, and Cleveland Clinic is actively working with community partners to eliminate sources of lead exposure. Cleveland Clinic has committed $52.5 million to addressing this critical issue and is partnering with the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition to remove sources of lead from Cleveland homes. In addition to home remediation efforts, some of the funds are being used to pilot a lead-safe childcare center. To support early detection for intervention, Cleveland Clinic has also expanded lead screenings for children in Early Head Start programs.

Unite Us

If only 20% of a population’s health is due to clinical care, then Community Health and Partnerships is dedicated to addressing the other 80%—food, income, education, employment, transportation and other socioeconomic factors. In 2021, we began working with Unite Us to create a more seamless and measurable process for referring patients to community resources that address social needs. Common types of referrals include assistance with food, housing/shelter and utilities, mental and behavioral health needs, benefits navigation and individual and family support. All Cleveland Clinic patients regardless of insurance are eligible for this support.

The Unite Us referral platform supports collaboration, community-wide care coordination and secure, bidirectional data sharing to enable Cleveland Clinic to track the impact of community resource referrals on individuals’ health. In 2022, Community Health and Partnerships completed 1,745 screenings for social determinants of health using Unite Us software (which links Cleveland Clinic health clinics with social services) and provided 750 referrals to social service agencies.

Food as Medicine

A basket of vegetables

Access to healthy food is a determinant of health. Good nutrition improves overall health and can help in managing chronic disease. In 2022, we offered several programs to support healthy food access and nutrition education:

  • Buena Vida Culturally Tailored Weight Management Program: a 12-month program for the Hispanic community that provided free, healthy home-delivered meals for 19 patients.
  • Healthy Heroes: 28 patients participated in this 10-week program, which is designed to help Cleveland police officers improve nutrition, weight management and wellness.
  • Cleveland Clinic Healthy at Home: a pilot program that provided 12 weeks of free, home-delivered meals for 60 patients with chronic disease.
  • YMCA Diabetes Project: 62 patients with prediabetes enrolled in this program to learn about healthy lifestyle management.
  • Collaborative Approach to Public Good Investments: through this program, we provided 88 patients with up to six months of meals.

Additionally, with support from an Ohio Department of Medicaid grant, Cleveland Clinic Akron General opened a food pantry in June of 2022 to help patients who lack consistent access to food. Located on the hospital’s first floor, the pantry provides free, nonperishable food to patients with needs identified through a Hunger Vital Sign screening tool. Patients may return as often as needed once they have accessed services through the pantry. A food pantry coordinator provides nutrition and health guidance based on health information provided by patients’ physicians, and works closely with the medical practice’s social worker to help address other social needs. The goal is to expand the program to assist more outpatients in the future, as well as hospital patients being discharged home.