Public Health

Public Health

Addressing the Opioid Crisis

In 2018, the most recent year with available data, prescription opioid-related deaths in Ohio decreased by 22.7% compared to 2017.1 We continued to address the ongoing opioid crisis through advocacy and policy work, as well as through our partnership with the Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium.

The Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium is a partnership between The Academy of Medicine of Cleveland and Northern Ohio, The Center for Health Affairs, Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth, Northeast Ohio VA Healthcare System, St. Vincent’s Charity Medical Center and University Hospitals. David Streem, MD, Medical Director of the Alcohol and Drug Recover Center, began his two-year tenure as the Consortium’s physician chair in January 2020. The Consortium serves as a model hospital system-based and physician-led consortium that aims to reduce the impact of the opioid crisis through:

  • Education of hospital employees across the healthcare continuum
  • Use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Expanded distribution and use of Naloxone
  • Sharing and implementing evidence-based alternative pain management practices
  • Promoting policy changes
  • Increasing opioid prevention efforts

In 2019, the Consortium launched an online opioid education program for nurses and an online Naloxone (a medication used to prevent many life-threatening effects of an opioid overdose by blocking opioid receptors in the brain) toolkit. Additionally, members of the Consortium continued to improve access to Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) by increasing the number of physicians and other providers trained in providing this treatment. Cleveland Clinic offered mentoring opportunities to caregivers interested in building knowledge and skills in treating patients with opioid addiction by connecting them with experienced MAT providers.

Tomislav Mihaljevic, MD, Cleveland Clinic CEO and President speaking with U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH

Tomislav Mihaljevic, MD, Cleveland Clinic CEO and President speaking with U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH

Other actions Cleveland Clinic took in 2019 included:

  • Cleveland Clinic established an Opioid Awareness Center to support its caregivers and their families, who may be suffering from Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).
  • Reduced opioid prescribing for all patients by 11.8% and opioid prescribing for new mothers by 90% compared to 2018
  • Increased prescribed naloxone from 475 units in 2018 to 6541 units in 2019
  • Increased dispensed naloxone from 17 units in 2018 to 516 units in 2019
  • Provided educational talks to over 4,000 people and distributed more than 2,500 drug deactivation bags for safe prescription drug disposal at home
  • Cleveland Clinic’s Emergency Department at Lakewood and Lutheran connected patients struggling with OUD to recovery specialists through Project SOAR (Support Opiate Addiction Recovery), a peer support program. These programs allow medically cleared patients the opportunity to speak with a peer support specialist, rapidly increasing access to treatment and recovery support.
    • Overdose calls in Lakewood dropped from 107 to 67 from 2017 to 2018, and were down to 51 as of November 21, 2019.
    • Overdose calls in Lutheran dropped from 155 to 67 from 2017 to 2018, and were down to 51 as of November 21, 2019.
  • During the first ten months of 2019, Cleveland Clinic collected 1,851 pounds of unused opioid medications.
  • Hosted U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH at main campus on May 29, 2019 for our Heart and Vascular Institute (HVI) Grand Rounds and panel discussion to discuss the opioid epidemic with our caregivers
    • The panel discussion was moderated by Lars Svensson, MD, PhD, Chairman, HVI and panelists included: Dr. Adams; Cleveland Ward 6 Councilman Blaine Griffin; Adam Myers, MD, Chief, Population Health and Director, Cleveland Clinic Community Care; Gosta Pettersson, MD, Director, Endocarditis Center; Steve Gordon, MD, Chairman, Infectious Disease; David Streem, MD, Medical Director, Alcohol and Drug Recovery Center; and Brendan Patterson, MD, Chairman, Orthopedic Surgery and Chair, Cleveland Clinic Pain Management Committee

Minority Men’s Health Fair Provides Expert Care to Our Communities

Minority Men's Health Fair

Cleveland Clinic has hosted the Minority Men’s Health Fair for 17 years. This year, in an effort to reach more minority men, we expanded the event across four locations simultaneously: main campus, Akron General, Lorain Family Health and Surgery Center and Lutheran Hospital.

A total 650 volunteers dedicated their time and talent to make the fair successful, with 48 Cleveland Clinic departments represented and a record number of individuals in attendance. Since the event’s beginning, more than 17,800 men have attended the health fair and have undergone more than 50,000 screenings.

In addition to free health screenings, attendees also receive information on topics such as prostate cancer, blood pressure, cholesterol, kidney function, diabetes (blood sugar), heart disease, Hepatitis C, HIV, lung health, skin cancer, vision and dental screenings, oral cancer, stress/depression, body mass index and wellness. This critical event helps us care for our communities, providing life-saving screenings regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or any other status.

Cleveland Clinic Healthy Communities Initiative

The Healthy Communities Initiative (HCI) is a response to the Community Health Needs Assessment and is a means of directly impacting the health and well-being of the cities and communities served by Cleveland Clinic.

The Health Challenge is the signature program of the Healthy Communities Initiative. It is a collaborative effort between Cleveland Clinic and community partners to engage individuals in the community to help manage chronic conditions and promote a healthier lifestyle. Neighborhood residents representing each area acquire points by attending health and wellness classes and events held at partner locations.

In 2019, Cleveland Clinic held 17 different 8-week challenges impacting individuals in 59 different zip codes throughout Northeast Ohio. The average age of the 1,889 participants in the challenges was 60 years old, and the average participant completed 9-10 classes during the challenge.

Participants in the challenge improved health outcomes by:

  • Losing a total of 2,133.7 pounds
  • Decreasing lack of sleep by 9%
  • Increasing physical activity by 19%
  • Reducing abnormal blood pressure by 10%

Infant Mortality

Safe Sleep Heroes for Babies

Cleveland Clinic caregivers and other community businesses are part of a communitywide collaborative to reduce infant mortality deaths in Cuyahoga County by educating the community on safe sleep practices. Sleep-related deaths are the second leading cause of infant deaths in the US. In the past decade, more than 200 babies in Cuyahoga County in Ohio died from preventable sleep-related causes, almost all of them through accidental suffocation.2 To raise awareness about safe sleep practices, the Safe Sleep Heroes Action Team of First Year Cleveland created an online module.

The ABCDs of Safe Sleep highlighted in the module are:

  • Alone
  • On their Back
  • In an empty Crib
  • Don’t smoke

In 2019, Cleveland Clinic offered this module to caregivers on our MyLearning platform, as well as community members to increase the number of safe sleep heroes in our communities.

1Ohio Department of Health, “Drug Overdose,” accessed 8 June 2020,

2First Year Cleveland, “Safe Sleep Heroes Program,” accessed 8 June 2020,

Anchor Initiatives

Anchor Initiatives

Connecting Caregivers to K–12 Classrooms

Through our Worldwide Classroom® program, we bring health information and insider looks at careers in medicine direct to K–12 classrooms. In October 2019, more than 800 middle and high school students from 36 schools across five states participated in Cleveland Clinic Worldwide Classroom connected learning sessions. 

Worldwide Classroom engages middle and high school students in explorations of health issues and health science and exposes them to career opportunities in medicine. Each experience includes interactive exchanges with healthcare professionals that are designed to influence and encourage students to make healthy life choices and to explore health science and medicine career paths.

Exploring Art and Architecture with the New ar+ App

AR+ Phones with Screenshots

Experience Cleveland Clinic’s world-class art and architecture from wherever you are with the free app ar+. Designed to promote a healing environment, the app allows users to explore Cleveland Clinic’s art collection and facilities across the globe through augmented reality, images, videos and more.

The app launched with nine locations, including several buildings at main campus, regional hospitals throughout North East Ohio, Las Vegas, Florida and Abu Dhabi. In response to the ever-changing pandemic landscape, a newly added Virtual Viewing Room features digitally curated, thematic exhibitions that investigate pertinent topics, such as “Take Me There” and “Finding Rhythm in Pattern.”

New content is added regularly, with four more locations joining the roster in 2020.

AR+ Scan in Person

ar+ allows you to:

  • Interact with dynamic media from wherever you are
  • Experience augmented reality (ar) at featured locations
  • Discover how art and architecture at Cleveland Clinic create unique healing environments
  • Learn about artworks in Cleveland Clinic’s contemporary art collection
  • Engage with artists and explore buildings through video, audio and 360° views
  • Access a calendar of events and performances
  • Locate patient and visitor amenities like cafés, boutiques and special resources
  • Connect to hospital facilities and departments

Download Cleveland Clinic ar+ for free in the Apple App Store for iOS devices 6s or later.

Made possible by a gift from Anita Cosgrove and her daughters in honor of Toby Cosgrove, MD, Executive Advisor and former CEO and President of Cleveland Clinic.

Louis Stokes Internship Program

The Louis Stokes Internship Program is a six-week paid summer internship that honors Congressman Louis Stokes’ legacy of public service and his longstanding commitment to the youth of Cleveland. It provides rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors from Cleveland, East Cleveland, and Warrensville with real-world experience in non-clinical/business focused areas of healthcare, such as Administration, Buildings & Properties/ Engineering, Community Outreach, Hospitality, Human Resources, Information Technology, Law Department, Marketing, Protective Services & more. Almost 16,000 students have completed this and other Cleveland Clinic civic education programs over the years.

Caregivers Volunteer to Sort Life-Saving Supplies at Medwish


Caregivers from Cleveland Clinic’s Art + Design Institute Volunteering at Medwish

MedWish International is a not-for-profit organization based in Cleveland, Ohio that collects and reuses medical supplies and equipment to help save lives and divert valuable materials from landfills. Medwish repurposes these supplies that are no longer needed by healthcare organizations to provide humanitarian aid locally and in developing countries.

Caregiver champions at various facilities across Cleveland Clinic identify, collect and arrange pickups of materials suitable for donation. Many of our 25 enterprise-wide Green Teams support our collection efforts for Medwish by sharing updates with other caregivers at their facilities on which supplies are currently accepted and in the greatest demand.

In 2019, Cleveland Clinic donated nearly 61 tons of medical supplies to Medwish, and caregivers volunteered 1,846 hours to help organize and prepare shipments of medical supplies for others in need.

Greater Cleveland Food Bank Recognizes Cleveland Clinic as Volunteer Group of the Year

Food Bank

Caregivers, including President and CEO Tomislav Mihaljevic, MD, Pack Lunches at The Greater Cleveland Food Bank

Strengthening our impact in the community by partnering with local service organizations to help better serve the community’s needs is one of our strategic goals.

In 2019, Cleveland Clinic was recognized by the Greater Cleveland Food Bank as the Volunteer Group of the Year. This award is presented annually to companies, community organizations and groups of people who have gone above and beyond to give back to the Food Bank.

Since Oct. 1, 2018, more than 1,400 caregivers volunteered over 4,300 hours of their time assisting with many different projects to support the Food Bank’s mission. Included in these numbers are individual as well as group service outings, including more than 700 caregivers who participated in the new Community Service Time Off program.

Caregivers Prepare Thanksgiving Meals for Main Campus Neighbors

Thanksgiving Meals

Hundreds of community residents near main campus got an early taste of traditional Thanksgiving dishes following a special caregiver volunteer opportunity. On November 23, our Community Outreach department worked with Supply Chain and Morrison Health (one of our main campus food providers) to provide meals to Cleveland’s Fairfax and Hough neighborhood residents. Caregivers packed turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans and rolls into boxed meals that were distributed at six locations.

In addition to connecting caregivers with the community, the volunteer experience also helped build camaraderie among caregivers.

“When we have opportunities to give back beyond our normal responsibilities, we are able to bond on a different level—which further impacts the community in a positive way.” Melvonna Williams, administration program coordinator for the Global Leadership and Learning Institute.

Volunteers exceeded their goal of assembling 650 meals—ultimately distributing 730 to local community members.